How to stop wasting time and automate your Pinterest (Part 1)
When I tell people some of the stuff on my regular list of “To-Do’s” they look at me like I have three heads. And I get it, I do. Some days my list is so long it’s crazy and I have to take Mrs. B’s advice about Dealing with life when you are Overwhelmed and Mentally Exhausted. Believe me, I have those days. But most of the time the systems I have in place handle all the nitty-gritty stuff so I have more time to focus on the important things that need doing in my day.
By day I’m an Executive Assistant, that means that people pay me to get and keep them organized. Like most people working at a company, I am regularly asked to do more tasks than I actually have time for. As a result, I’ve turned to some basic automation that let me get more done with less time.
One of the things that I found was sucking a bunch of time in my day was uploading pins into Pinterest. Now to be clear I’m not talking about the generation of content for pins, I’m talking about the clickity-click-click time suck process that always seemed to take longer and longer every time I sat down to it.
So I started looking for ways to save time on getting my pins into Pinterest in the first place. And came up with this process. And I now have used it successfully for 6 months both in my day job for multiple accounts I manage on their behalf and in the promotion of my own blog.
The Pinterest Deets… so if you search online for ways to Automate Pinterest you are likely going to encounter 2 main options. Tailwind & BoardBooster, sadly BoardBooster is no more. Whereas Tailwind is alive and kicking but, and is my top pick for pin schedulers at this time.
As I’ve already mentioned one of the biggest time sucks is actually getting your pins INTO PINTEREST…the last time I looked there just wasn’t an easy way to upload your pins quickly in bulk built in. So if you are like me and create multiple pins per post you need to manually upload each pin individually. I don’t know about you, but I could spend an hour each week just uploading my own pins via all the mouse clicks required. And that’s if I’m lucky and on my computer! From my phone would take longer.
So what’s a girl to do? Delegate?
Most of the time when people look to save time they often advise delegating the crazy busy stuff that you can to someone else. When I first started blogging I could not afford to hire an assistant to upload all my pins to Pinterest. Yet my principal is that a good Virtual Assistant is worth their weight in gold!
However delegating doesn’t always have to be to another human, there are a number of programs out there that are totally worth looking at for automating some of the little tasks that don’t require decisions but do require your time. And THAT is what I turned to for help the last time I felt like I was in over my head with the whole Blog-pinning-to-Pinterest stuff that I needed to do.
What to expect in this post
This is not a “How to get started with Pinterest as a blogger post” – If you are just starting out as a blogger I would recommend you check out this 12 Day Boot Camp or this Pinterest Course I’ve gone through them myself and been amazed by the results I’ve achieved since.
And while I like programs like Tailwind this post is not about how to set them up either.
It’s important to note that while this method takes some time to set up, it is worth it.
I’ve done my best to simplify and break down the instructions but if you have questions or get stuck you are welcome to Email Me. I’ve spent hours working out this system you don’t have to. I’ve built a great template on how I set this up so you don’t have to manually do it all yourself which you can find in my free resource library. Which you can get access to here:
This will give you access to my entire free automation library as well as the latest and greatest tips on automation and streamlining your online business as I find them or develop them.
It is important to note that this system is NOT for everyone. I get it, not everyone thinks the same way as everyone else. My workflow may not work for you, just like yours may not work for me. I’m sharing however because I think this is pretty nifty stuff and that it could help us all save some time. And who knows, maybe you will learn something that makes your life easier even if it’s not the exact system I use.
The programs I use all have free accounts so if you are just starting out or want to test what I’m talking about you don’t have to pay to try it. However, for some of them I love them so much and use them so often that YES I have a paid version. Personally, I think it’s worth the investment, I may not be able to hire a VA yet, but I can build one with this team and that to me is worth the minimal fees I’m spending.
So without further ado here is the “Team” I use to automate a bunch of things for keeping this blog running as well as a bunch of other projects on my plate currently.
The Must/Haves – For life in general but specifically for this
Trello.com – I can’t say enough about this program, seriously I’ve used it to tame all the wild files in my life (the digital ones anyway). I use this to keep my thoughts on possible posts clear, keyword search, and inspiring blogs all within easy reach. The best part? It’s free, completely 100% Free to sign up and use as long as you like. Free = AWESOME in my books. There are options that you can upgrade to as well if you want some additional functionality but right now I’m sticking to the Free one cause it totally rocks. If you don’t have an account already check out my post How to Set up a Free Trello Account to see how easy it is to set up.
Butler for Trello – Yes I have a Butler! LOL, for some reason saying that makes me giggle every time. As the name suggests Butler for Trello works with Trello and ONLY Trello. But that “limitation” really doesn’t bother me. What rocks about it is that you can give it commands and Butler will organize, sort, name, label, or WHATEVER you need to cards, lists, and boards in Trello. As we go along here you will see exactly how helpful this is going to be and how critical. It’s important to note that you should invite butler to your boards instead of using the power-up option, this lets you add a power-up later if you need/want. Also, Butler has a free account that gives you 250 tasks per week, this should be good for most new blogs or small businesses, however, I personally use the $10/month plan cause I need the higher number of tasks on some of the other boards I have. For me, it’s worth the $ to save my time. Also, you can only have 1 butler per trello account, so you don’t have the option of multiple free Butler’s like you do with other services on this list.
Zapier.com – Zapier’s current slogan is “Zapier makes you happier” and I really couldn’t agree more. When you sign up you get a 14-day trial with all the bells and whistles, when the trial is up you can either upgrade the account OR stick to the free one with the limits they have. (And yes you can have multiple free accounts on one computer, I did it for my work when first starting out).
Optional Team Members: – I’ll show you how to do without this, but the whole process is faster with these ones.
Gmail & Google Drive – Most people have this already if you have a Gmail account you have a google drive. Just click the 9 squares to the left of your profile pic in the top right corner of the screen and select the drive to see it. If you don’t already have this syncing with your computer then I suggest you do because it will make EVERYTHING that much simpler/faster. Also, you need a Gmail account if you go this route.
If this is your first time on this post I suggest you bookmark it and read it through completely at least ONCE before you set up any new accounts. If this is already your second (or more) read through by all means take some time to set up the accounts you don’t already have 😉 I’ll be here when you get back.
Where to start with the set up:
Ok, I’m going to walk you through this like you are using the “Full Team” if you want to manually generate the emails for yourself just skip the Folders in Gmail, and Google Drive and the Zap to connect them. You can after all just email your pins into the system provided they are formatted correctly you will be ok.
For the purpose of my examples here, I’ll be using my “Self Care” niche as we go. You’ll need to update that to whichever niche or topic you are setting up.
Setting up your Folders & Boards
In Gmail create a folder for your Pin Drafts – I prefer to email my pins in, but I need to tell my workflow where I expect these emails to show up for me. I suggest a folder you can get into online especially if you log into your Gmail account from the web. If you are working with a program like Outlook or Mail (on a Mac) you’ll want to ensure you have your mail to sync via IMAP so you can see this folder. If you are on a POP3 set up you will need to “dump” the pins into your inbox, however, I haven’t tried this one so it may not work.
In Google Drive create folders for each niche you want to do pins for. I’m not talking each board you want to pin to, I’m talking Niche, the main topic. For OneWeirdMamma.com I have folders for “Self Development”, “Parenting & Motherhood”, “Abuse”, “Mental Health”, “Self Care”, “Health & Wellness”, “Blogging”, and a “Misc” folder set up. That’s 8 Folders, some of which I already have subcategories for on the site. I’ve put these folders directly into a “OneWeirdMamma” Folder in my Drive to keep it organized. That way if I start another blog I can do the same but under that blog’s name. Whatever you do keep it simple and easy for YOU to remember!
Also, drop a photo (named with the slug of your post) into each folder as you go, you’ll need these later for testing your zap’s so make them something you want in the pinning flow. If you name all your photos with the slug followed by a number or letter it’s the easiest way to do this.
Now in Trello, we need to set up a couple boards:
1 will be our “Pinterest Schedule” (Mine is called “OWM – Pinterest” to keep things simple). I recommend adding the following lists: Inbox, Pin this Now, Seasonal, and a column for each Niche you will be pinning from.
The second one will be our “Niche Board”, I’ve named mine OWM – Self Care (I know not original, but like I said EASY TO REMEMBER, I use the same filing system across all things paper/digital so I don’t forget what I called something when I need to find it). Here you want to place a couple lists “Inbox – Pins” and “Pinned/Posted” I also like to keep a list of which pins go out every month so I have a list called “May 31, 2018” which is where I would put all the pins that went out in May 2018 (I’ll show you how to make that automatically happen in another post).
Repeat the Niche Board set up for each Niche you want to pin for.
Side Note: I use a separate board per niche because I do MORE than just pins in them. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the boards if you are not used to it, but if you set this up for only pins this way you won’t be going back into these boards again. They will be little worker boards running in the background as you go about the other more important/interesting stuff.
In a future post, I’ll be showing you how I streamline my entire workflow for this blog using an “Account Overview” board, “Niche Specific Boards” and “Outbound” boards for Social media (yes I’ve automated all my posts) and Pinterest (which you are setting up now).
Once You’ve got all your boards set up let’s go get our Trello board email address. For each board, you can find the email address for it under “Menu” – “More” – “Email-to-board Settings”. Just copy the email address listed and add it to your contacts for future easy reference. While you have that screen up make sure that your “List” named there is “Inbox – Pins”, and for our purposes, the Position doesn’t matter if it is top or bottom. It will look something like the photo on the left.
You may want to keep this screen open for easy copying.
Setting up your zap’s trigger
Now that the folders and boards are ready head on over to Zapier.com and
- Hit the bright orange “Make a Zap!” button in the top right-hand corner beside your profile & notification icons.
- Select Google Drive from the apps list.
- Select “New File in Folder”
- Connect and Test your drive if you have never worked with this integration before.
- Under Drive select “My Google Drive”, & under Folder select the folder it should pull from.
- If you are like me and created a folder called “OneWeirdMamma” and then subfolders for each niche you’ll need to first select the “OneWeirdMamma” folder then the subfolder
- Hit Continue
- Hit “Fetch & Continue” – this will get the photo you dropped in the folder earlier
- You can view your file to make sure it’s all good, but if the Green “Test Successful!” shows up I usually just hit “Continue”
And THAT is it for your Trigger 🙂
Setting up your zap’s actions
Now that Zapier knows when and where it needs to be pulling our new pin’s artwork from let’s tell it how to set up our new email automatically for us.
- Choose Gmail from the list of apps
- Choose to Create Draft
- Connect and Test your account.
- Under your template, you want to fill in the following
- TO: paste the email for your board here (the one from Trello)
- Subject: type your domain name with the trailing slash (mine looks like https://OneWeirdMamma.com/) and then from the drop down select “Title” this will essentially format our email for the least amount of work later.
- Body – it requires something so I always list the niche (in my case “SelfCare”) as one word this is where when the email is generated you are going to put your text later.
- under “attachment” select from the drop-down “File” this will attach the photo that triggers it into the email automatically.
- Click Continue, now you will see the summary of this pin & you can check everything before creating your Zap. Make sure it’s legit because it’s going to be added to your Gmail pin drafts next.
Did it work?
Once you send the test you should get a green bar across the screen that says “A Test Draft was sent to Gmail” If you see any error messages, just follow Zapier’s tips on how to fix it, their awesome and simple to follow!
From now on any time you drop a file in that folder on your google drive you’ll have an email ready to send to the right trello board for your niche.
So head on over to your Gmail folder for pins and add your descriptions in the email body, and remove the “file identifier from your subject (ie the number or letter after the name along with the .jpg or .png and hit send 🙂
Pro Tip: Set up a general “New Pins” folder in your Google Drive and leave the “TO” field in the draft set up blank, then you only need 1 zap set up and can just input the email from your contacts based on where you want to send the pin.
In case you missed it earlier here is the link to sign up for my copy of the board I use again
Editing & Sending your Pin to Trello
Ok, so now you want to head on over to your email & check the folder we created for our Pin Drafts, type in your Pin description and make sure that the subject line is the link to your post that you want the pin directed to (ie take out the file indicators like in link_name_a remove the _a part & any file type like jpg etc). And hit send once you are happy with everything.
Pro Tip: If you want a pin to go out on a specific day just type the date you want it to go out at the beginning of your email subject,
Congratulations! You just sent your first pin to Trello, once you have all the rest of the steps set up and working this is where you will stop and go about your day without worry.
And YES, you just emailed a Pin in for posting 😉 I told you it would be worth it.
In Part 2, I show you how to set up your Butler & Trello so you never have to worry about this again.