If you have been blogging for awhile I'm sure you have some classic, evergreen content buried in your blog's archives. I'm referring to the kind of blog posts that need more exposure because they are extremely helpful and well-written. Yet even though they already have a ton of social shares, you and I both know that these articles deserve another Retweet. Now that you know the kind of posts I'm talking about, let's take a look at how you can use sites like Pinterest and Google+ to get your older blog posts the traffic and attention they so desperately need.
Before we get started I want to inform you that you don't need to have any expertise when it comes to graphics and images. We're not going to use any complicated software like Photoshop but I'm going to show you how I used free online image editing tools to create eye-catching graphics that get noticed on Pinterest and other social media sites like Instagram and Google+.
FREE DOWNLOAD: How To Build Your First Pinterest Board From Scratch. Click here.
The reason we are focusing on Pinterest in this blog post, is because when it comes to getting targeted traffic to your blog from social media, right now, Pinterest is the Queen of the Ball. If you want to strike up a real “engagement” party on your blog these days – you must be bringing in some traffic from Pinterest. With that said let me introduce you to our first weapon of mass construction. Canva.
Pinterest Images Inspired by Canva
Canva is one of the newest online graphic tools to help us non-designers flex our artistic muscles. One of the beautiful things about Canva is that once you decide what size graphic you want to compose, Canva will present you with several layout options to choose from. I don't know about you, but when it comes to creating custom graphics, choosing a layout has always been the toughest part. By using Canva we have tons of pre-formatted layouts at our disposal. We can all breathe a little bit easier and now all we need to do is pick one and get started.
Let's look at an example. In this case I knew I wanted to use the “Blog Graphic” layout because not only will this work great inside the blog post, it will also stand out on Pinterest and in the stream on Google+. That leaves Facebook out in the cold but two out of three ain't bad (we'll come back to that later). The default size for Blog Graphics in Canva is 800 x 1200 pixels and later you'll see how I tweak the finished product to a slightly different size.
Once, I clicked on Blog Graphic, here are the layout options I was presented with:
I spotted the perfect layout for the custom image I wanted to create. Next I clicked on the layout and opened it up for editing. Now let me caution you guys about something. Even though Canva is a free tool, there are times when you will be presented with the option to pay one dollar if you want to use one of their licensed images. You'll know if you need to pay for an image if you see the Canva watermark on it like this:
I think that $1.00 is a great price to pay for a high quality image and I think that all things considered, it's a small price to pay for something that is going to make my blogging life simpler. However, in this case, I knew that I could use a different tool to create the same kind of background image and for those of you who don't already know what I'm talking about – I'm pleased to introduce you to tool #2 in this tutorial. PicMonkey!
PicMonkey To the Rescue
I've talked about the PicMonkey online tool before and I've used it to create several custom graphics for my blogs and for my YouTube channel as well. Because I've used the tool so often, I knew that I could mimic the background image from the original Canva layout I found. Here's how I did it:
I opened a blank file in the PicMonkey picture editor and filled the canvas with a black background. I went into the themes menu and under “Celebrate” is where the Fireworks are hiding. Using different shapes, sizes, and colors from PicMonkey's Fireworks collection I carefully placed them on the background in a pattern similar to the Canva image.
If you're thinking this sounds like a lot of work, you couldn't be more wrong. I have so much fun composing free images in PicMonkey that I'm willing to bet that there was a huge grin on my face the entire time I created this one. I love the way these two tools can be used together and it has become part of my everyday routine.
I'm sure that Canva and PicMonkey will ignite a creative spark inside of you and bring out your hidden artistic creativity. Spend some time exploring these two tools and work with them alone or in combination to help tell a story with your images and get more attention for your premium content.
Let's talk about: RESULTS
Take a look at what happened when I shared this new graphic on Google+ and gave a little “mouth-to-mouth resuscitation” to a blog post that I originally published over 7 months ago.
I'm sure these stats will change, but as I write this, my graphic was shared 20 times on Google+ on an otherwise uneventful Sunday evening. But what's even more important for me is the comments that were left. For example, here's what Charmaine Odusina had to say: (btw, it was Charmaine who inspired me to write this post.)
I think I've convinced you that you can breathe life into old blog posts with this strategy of creating new custom graphics and sharing them on social sites but let's recap with a few do's and don'ts just in case you missed any of the important take aways. DO: Go through your blog archives and find the hidden gems of evergreen content that could use a little more exposure DON'T: Try this strategy on every old post all at once. Use it sparingly and strategically. For example you might see an unexpected spike in Google traffic for some old content – or in my case I saw a spike in YouTube search traffic for my old video. DO: Update any of the text in the post that might be out dated, perhaps there's some new feature or discussion surrounding the topic that you might want to mention DON'T: Change the date or the permalink of the original post. It will create a mess that even I can't help you untangle. Make the post “Sticky” instead, so that it shows up at the top of your blog page for a few days. DO: Experiment and have fun with Canva, RELAY, and PicMonkey – and DON'T: Forget to grab my free Pinterest Training.
You'll learn more about using these two awesome graphic programs and 8 other fun tools you can use to create engaging images for your readers and social media connections. But maybe you're already reviving old blog posts with new graphics. Please do tell!