There are several ways to make money with Pinterest in 2021. That’s because Pinterest is such a unique platform, part powerful search engine and part social media platform.
What’s also fascinating about Pinterest is that consumers look to Pinterest specifically when they want to spend money. They use it to find inspiration, research products, and actually make purchases.
That’s why brands, marketers, and influencers are heading to Pinterest to grow their revenues. Below is a list of how you can join the movement, even if you don’t fall into one of those three categories.
How to make money with Pinterest in 2021 – 6 Effective Ways
1. Pinterest virtual assistant
Working as a Pinterest virtual assistant is one of the most approachable ways to make money with Pinterest. You don’t need a blog, an existing online business, or large Pinterest following.
Pinterest virtual assistants help online business owners, brands, and bloggers leverage Pinterest’s massive reach for marketing purposes. Consumers see Pinterest as “filled with positivity” and find branded content useful – this is why businesses need to have a strong Pinterest presence.
The problem is that most businesses either don’t know how to use it or would rather spend their time on other aspects of their business.
This is where Pinterest virtual assistants come in. You can use your expertise and skills to create and run someone else’s Pinterest strategy. Here’s what that can involve:
- Designing eye-catching pins
- Promoting pins
- Creating boards
- Maximizing Pinterest’s Smart Feed (aka Pinterest SEO)
- Using Tailwind Tribes
- Running Promoted Pins (Pinterest’s version of paid ads)
- Scheduling pins with Tailwind
- Understanding Pinterest analytics and making recommendations
Pinterest virtual assistants make an average of $500/month per client, and this is a flexible enough option that many VAs service multiple clients.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Become a VA Today course from Kristin Larsen. Become a VA Today teaches the necessary skills, plus how to start your virtual assistant business.
2. Affiliate marketing
When most people hear “affiliate marketing” they think of bloggers. But you can make money with Pinterest through affiliate marketing even if you don’t have a blog. (Here are some specific ways to do that.)
Let me back up for a second in case you don’t know what affiliate marketing is.
Affiliate marketing is where individuals (bloggers, influencers, pinners, etc.) work with companies to promote products and services. You’re given a unique link, called an affiliate link, that you use in your pins or posts. When someone makes a purchase or signs up through your link, you’re paid a commission.
The article, Pinterest Affiliate Marketing for Beginners, has in-depth information if you want to learn more. But the TL;DR version of using affiliate marketing to make money with Pinterest is:
- Create a free business Pinterest account
- Pick a niche – this is the topic or theme of your Pinterest account
- Grow your following
- Apply to affiliate programs
- Create pins with affiliate links
It takes time to grow your following to the point that you’re earning steady affiliate income from Pinterest, but it can turn into a fairly passive stream of income.
I highly recommend thinking about starting a blog if you want to earn more affiliate income. Pinterest has been known to change its guidelines and which companies they work with. For example, they’ve flip-flopped on Amazon over the years, and Amazon can be a major source of affiliate income.
The point is, there are multiple ways to earn affiliate income. You can start with Pinterest (or blogging) and expand from there.
3. Use Pinterest to sell your own products
There are a lot of features that make Pinterest a good place to market and sell your own products, whether they’re digital or virtual.
Just like affiliate marketing, you’ll need to set up a business account – you can create a new one for free or create one attached to your personal Pinterest account. From there, there are a few different ways you can market your products through Pinterest.
Rich Pins are special pins that sync information from your website to your pins, and if information changes (like the price, for example), your Rich Pins automatically change too. These pins take more time to set up, and you have to apply for them first, but this helpful tutorial from Pinterest explains how to create them.
People can save these pins like regular ones, but they can also click on the pin and be taken to your online store to make a purchase.
Shop-the-Look Pins or Buyable Pins
Buyable Pins are more commonly known as shop-the-look pins. You can tell what they are because when you tap on the pin, dots appear on the image. The dots are on different products that you can click on and purchase via Pinterest.
Here’s an example:
Promoted Pins are Pinterest’s version of paid ads, like Facebook ads but for Pinterest. You pay to have these placed in your target audience’s home feed, category feed, and relevant search results. These can be static images, videos, or carousel ads (audience swipes through the images).
Consumers can tell these are ads, but that doesn’t seem to matter much – revenue from Pinterest ads went up 100% in 2019. That aligns with the fact that shopping is the #1 priority for most pinners.
4. Joint promotions with brands
Running joint promotions with brands is another way to make money with Pinterest. It’s when you work with a brand to create pins that spotlight their products while introducing them to a new audience.
For example, if your niche is health and wellness, you could try reaching out to brands to promote their products in holiday gift guides, create pins that highlight how you use the products, list any hacks, etc.
You’ll want a media kit that lists your stats (number of followers, average monthly views, etc.), explains your niche, audience demographics if you know them, and key information about you. It should obviously include contact information, and your website and other social handles, if you have them.
Brands understand the value that regular folks (i.e. not celebrities) can bring to the table when it comes to promoting products. Your media kit explains why they can benefit from working with you.
5. Teach your Pinterest strategy to others
If there is an aspect of Pinterest you do really well, monetize that knowledge by creating a course you can sell to others. This is exactly what Kirstin Larsen, creator of the Become a Pinterest VA Today course, did. And it’s what Mike and I did with our Facebook Side Hustle Course.
I did a quick search on the online course platforms Udemy and Skillshare, and I found tons of Pinterest-based courses. Here’s a small selection of the course topics I found:
- Pinterest marketing
- Using Pinterest to drive traffic to your website or blog
- Pinterest for wedding vendors
- Pinterest traffic hacks
- Understanding Pinterest analytics
- Creating Pins using Canva
- How to use the Pinterest trends tool
- Mass scheduling pins with Tailwind
There’s a lot to understand about Pinterest, and having someone who’s been there break that info down into easy-to-digest chunks is a massive help.
6. Run traffic to your blog
Pinterest is a great source of traffic for bloggers, and while more traffic doesn’t directly = more money, it certainly helps. You’re still responsible for creating content that gets new readers to click on your affiliate links and sign up for your email list.
The simplest way to drive traffic to your blog from Pinterest is to create pins for every single blog post you publish. You’ll also want different boards for categories related to your blog.
For example, my main blog Millennial Money Man teaches readers how to make more money, save money, and pay off debt. There are pins for each of my posts and boards that fall into categories like:
- Side hustles
- Make money online
- Money making hacks
- Frugal living
- Money apps you need
- Investing your money
All of my pins have a similar look and feel – they match my branding – and they have easy-to-read titles that grab your attention.
When someone clicks on one of my pins, you get a larger description (optimized for Pinterest SEO), and they’re directed to my site.
Pinterest is also a good way to optimize email list sign ups. Start by creating a freebie and pinning it – something your specific audience would be interested in. Make sure the link on the pin brings people to a page with an opt-in form that delivers the printable they came for.
Best practices if you want to make money with Pinterest
Pinterest, like any other platform, has best practices you should follow if you want to make money.
Have a business account
You need a business account if you want to work with brands and companies for partnerships or affiliate relationships. Business accounts are 100% free, and they take just a couple of minutes to set up.
Socialize with other pinners
Pinterest is part search engine and part social media platform, so you’ll need to network with other pinners to get the most out of it. You can find other pinners in your niche through Tailwind Tribes.
If you’re not familiar, Tailwind is a really popular scheduling tool for Pinterest. And Tailwind Tribes are groups of pinners in the same niche that work to promote each other’s content. It’s the new alternative to Group Boards.
You can try Tailwind for free for the first month, and it’s $9.99/month. It’s an additional $4.99/month for Tailwind Tribes.
Follow Pinterest guidelines
This goes unsaid, but if you want to make money with Pinterest, you need to follow its rules. Here are a few of the most important ones:
- You can’t use things that mask or shorten affiliate links, like bit.ly or Pretty Links
- Always disclose relationships with brands by using hashtags like #ad or #sponsored
- Don’t target audiences on sensitive demographics like negative financial status, medical conditions, sexual orientation, etc.
You can find Pinterest’s full list of Community Guidelines here.
The final word on learning how to make money with Pinterest
Pinterest is full of income potential, and it can be a really fun platform to work with.
Like I said in the beginning, if you want the easiest option for those who don’t have an existing business or Pinterest following, I highly recommend becoming a Pinterest virtual assistant. As someone who’s hired a Pinterest VA, I can tell you how valuable they are to business owners.
The rest of the options on this list take more time, but they can be more lucrative in the long run.