Since 2010, Pinterest has been helping people find DIYs, recipes, products they love, how-tos, and thousands of other random things. It’s both a creative outlet and marketer’s dream — meaning you can learn how to make money on Pinterest in several different ways.
But, here’s the thing about making money on Pinterest… Pinterest knows how powerful the platform is, and they have been actively making changes to protect their user’s experience. There have been changes with affiliate marketing, running contests, etc.
Some people who learned how to make money on Pinterest had to adjust their strategies, but the changes have honestly made it better for everyone. The content is getting better, and everyone is experiencing a more authentic experience.
Despite the changes, there are 100% legitimate, non spammy ways to make money on Pinterest.
There are opportunities for bloggers, virtual assistants, affiliate marketing directly through Pinterest, and more.
Here are 9 ways to make money on Pinterest in 2020:
1. Become a Pinterest virtual assistant
Pinterest virtual assistants help bloggers, social media influencers, and online business owners optimize their Pinterest accounts. This includes things like:
Using Tailwind for scheduling
Automating the pinning process
Doing keyword research
Working with Pinterest Ads Manager to run Promoted Pins (Pinterest’s version of Facebook ads)
Creating sales funnels, opt-ins, and more
One of the things Pinterest virtual assistants like so much about the work is that it’s insanely flexible — you work when you want and where you want — and it stays interesting. Most Pinterest virtual assistants have several clients, and they perform different kinds of Pinterest management tasks for each one.
How much can you make as a Pinterest virtual assistant? Each client is worth around $500/month… sweet!
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, the Pinterest VA Course will teach you how to make money on Pinterest as a virtual assistant. You learn about everything in that bullet pointed list above, plus how to find, land, and retain clients.
The course is taught by two badass ladies, Gina Horkey and Kristin Larsen, who have already helped hundreds of bloggers and online entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Click over to the Pinterest VA Course to learn more about the course and hear from some of their students.P.S. If you want to know how valuable Pinterest virtual assistants are to bloggers and other online entrepreneurs like me, read the next section. My Pinterest VA saves me a ton of time, while helping me make money — it’s a win-win.
For more side hustles, read Best Side Hustles to Make an Extra $1,000-$2,000 Per Month.
2. Make money on Pinterest as a blogger
Whenever I publish a new article on my site, my Pinterest virtual assistant creates a pin for it and it’s shared with my Pinterest community. I have boards related to different topics on my site — blogging tips, budgeting and frugal living ideas, tips destroying your student loans, etc. There are also collaborative boards where my VA pins related content from other bloggers and pinners.
If you have a blog and want to learn how to make money on Pinterest, here are a few things you need to do:
Create boards that are related to your blog. For personal finance bloggers, you might have boards for debt payoff advice, money saving ideas for families, best budgeting apps, etc. Every niche and blog will have slightly different boards and pins. A blogger that focuses on food, would have boards for different types of recipes, their favorite kitchen tools, etc.
Create a freebie and pin it. Free offers are lead generation for bloggers. What you do is create a freebie that’s related to your site — make sure it’s a high-quality offer because you want to show new readers that they can trust you and come to you for awesome advice and help. If you do it well, you’ll capture email addresses and start long-term relationships with new readers.
Bring new readers to your site with your pins. Every time you publish a new article, create a pin for it. This is simple advice that’s effective and easy to do.
Pin other people’s pins. Interacting with your audience is a big part of blogging, and it’s just as important on Pinterest as it is on Facebook or Instagram.
Create group boards and pin with other bloggers and influencers. Rather than looking at other bloggers as competition, look at them as collaborators. You can reach out to other bloggers in your niche to pin together on boards related to the kind of topics you write about. You’ll each bring new readers to each of your sites.
None of those things are direct ways to make money on Pinterest, but they bring people to your blog. The reality is that everyone has a favorite way to consume content, and some people really like Pinterest.The reality is that bloggers need to have a strong Pinterest game. Bringing people to your site from Pinterest increases your ability to make money with affiliate links, display advertising, and selling your own products.
3. Affiliate marketing on Pinterest
Affiliate marketing is when you partner with companies to promote products and/or services. The company gives you a unique link (affiliate link) that you insert in your posts or pins. When someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you’re paid a commission — this is called making a conversion.
Affiliate marketing is one of several different ways that bloggers make money, but it’s also a legit way to make money on Pinterest. You can find affiliates through networks like ShareASale, FlexOffers, and more. Once you have affiliates to work with, you create pins with affiliate links in the text.
Here are a few really important things to know about affiliate marketing on Pinterest:
There are some companies that don’t let you post their affiliate links on Pinterest, so always check with company’s affiliate manager and read the rules of your contract.
Some companies will not allow you to take images from their site to be used when creating pins, even if you are an affiliate. Amazon is one example.
When posting affiliate links, Pinterest does not want you to mask or shorten the affiliate link. They want you to be as transparent as possible.
You always need to disclose your affiliate relationship. This is required by the FTC. The easiest thing to do is put #affiliate or #affiliatelink in your pin.
And possibly the most important point: Pinterest has changed their stance on affiliate marketing several times already. They allowed it in the beginning, banned it in 2015, and now it’s allowed again. I bring this up because when you are making money on another platform, your income is dependant on that platform. A change in Pinterest’s policy could be devastating to an affiliate marketer who was making money on Pinterest alone.
So what to do? I’d start by diversifying your streams of income, and starting a blog is a great one for someone with a large Pinterest following already. There are also other social media platforms that might be good fits too, like Instagram and Facebook.
I still think affiliate marketing is a great way to make money with Pinterest for anyone interested. You can bring a lot of value to your follower’s lives by promoting the products you love. Affiliate income makes up a big part of my blogging income, and I feel really good about the companies and products I promote.
If you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing, whether it’s on Pinterest or through your blog, I highly recommend that you check out my good friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. She regularly makes around $50,000/month from affiliate marketing alone, and she’s done it all without selling her soul.
You can read my full review of her course at HONEST Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Review.
4. Use Pinterest to drive traffic to your ecommerce site
If you have an ecommerce site, whether it’s through Shopify or Etsy, you can drive traffic to your site and make money with Pinterest. Again, you’re not directly making money from Pinterest — you are leveraging Pinterest’s powerful search engine.
Here’s why Pinterest is an important tool for your ecommerce site:
90% of users say that Pinterest helps them decide what to buy
78% say it’s helpful to see content from brands they see on Pinterest
66% buy something after seeing it on Pinterest
Pinterest brings in 33% more traffic to shopping sites than Facebook does
You can read more data from Pinterest here.
If you’re an online shop owner, you can utilize Pinterest in the same ways that bloggers do. That’s creating pins to promote new products, putting together boards for different styles or themes, doing keyword research, etc.
One thing I didn’t mention that’s a huge asset to ecommerce owners who want to learn how to make money on Pinterest is something called Promoted Pins. These are basically Pinterest’s version of Facebook ads. They look like normal pins, but they’re actually an ad.
You can optimize your Promoted Pins to meet different goals (traffic, brand awareness, app installs, etc.) You can choose to place ads in browse mode. But you can also do it in search mode, where you would pick the keywords a user would need to search to see your ads — this is a valuable position because you’re getting ads in front of people who are searching specifically for your product, or at least ones like it.
M$M tip: If you want to learn how to make money on Pinterest by running Promoted Pins for your site, I would check out the Pinterest VA course mentioned earlier. There is an entire section on Promoted Pins, and you’ll learn a lot more about utilizing Pinterest for your own business needs.
5. Gain a skill from Pinterest and monetize it
Another way to think about Pinterest is as a huge learning library. You can put in the most random stuff and find that someone somewhere has pinned something about it. You can learn how to decorate cakes, build furniture, make origami stars, etc., etc., etc. Not only can you find all of these different things, you can collect and organize them.
But what if you did something with all of that knowledge you’re collecting? There are so many different things you can learn how to do on Pinterest, a lot of them are marketable skills.
I spent a little time searching and scrolling through Pinterest, and came up with a few ideas:
You can start a podcast and monetize it
You can learn how to make those fancy signs you see everywhere (my wife has several) and sell them — Facebook buy/sell groups are a great place to start selling
You can learn how to do calligraphy and get paid to make signs, address fancy letters, do invites, and more
You can learn how to knit or crochet and sell hats, scarves, toys, etc.
You can level up your photography skills and eventually sell your photos to stock photo sites, do portrait photography, take family photos, shoot weddings, etc.
That’s just scratching the surface of what you can learn how to do on Pinterest. Rather than focusing on how to make money on Pinterest, think about what you can learn from Pinterest. And here’s the cool part, depending on what you decide to do, you can turn to Pinterest once again to promote your products or services.
For pinners with a decent sized following (this kind of thing is hard to nail down because it’s about the number of followers and the quality of each follower), this and the next two ideas are great ways to make money with Pinterest. Don’t worry, I’ve got tips for growing your Pinterest following at the end of this article.
Curating a shared board with a brand means you work with company and they pay you, usually a flat fee, to create a board for them on Pinterest. Not only do you get paid, you end up gaining some followers and views from people who are looking at companies that align with your personal brand and niche.
7. Do a joint promotion with a brand
This is when a pinner works directly with a brand to create pins that promote the company’s products. It can be product placement things, like “10 ways to repurpose Coca-Cola cans” or “5 epic Airbnb vacations.” I don’t know if either of those brands do joint promotions with pinners… this is just an example.
To make money on Pinterest through a joint promotion, you’ll need a successful account and be able to create really awesome pins, which would include:
The concept of the pin
Design of pin
If you’re looking for brands to work with, Pinterest recommends checking out the Pin Collective.
8. Help people shop your look
Shop the Look pins are a really popular way for pinners to earn money by promoting products they are literally wearing or using. I’m sure you’ve seen them — they look something like this:
As long as your account is set up as a business account (what you need to do if you want to make money on Pinterest), you can create Shop the Look pins. For items you’ve tagged in your pins, someone can click on that little blue dot, see the item, make a purchase, and you earn a commission. In some ways it’s similar to affiliate marketing, but it’s with individual products on individual pins.
9. Teach people your Pinterest strategy
When you get really good at any of those ideas above, the next step is to make money on Pinterest by leveraging your Pinterest knowledge.
If you managed to find several brands to work with you, other pinners will want to know how. Created a number of successful Pinterest campaigns for different clients, give people that knowledge.
You can monetize your Pinterest knowledge with courses, ebooks, coaching, etc. Having a blog will help you share your journey and reach other people who want to do the same.
If you don’t have a blog yet and are interested in starting one, Launch That Blog is a free service that:
Helps with the installation and set-up process of a WordPress blog
Teaches you how to use it
Helps you make it look awesome
Makes sure you have the essential tools ready to go
The only thing you need to pay for is hosting, which is only $2.95 per month through Bluehost. Seriously, that’s it. Click over to the Launch That Blog page to learn more about the service and bonus freebies.
Tips for making money on Pinterest
Now that you know how to make money on Pinterest, it’s important to stay on top of growing your Pinterest audience, and here’s how:
Create eye catching pins
Pinterest is a visual tool, and your pins need to stand out. And if you’re also trying to make money on Pinterest, then they definitely need to look professional.
Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to come up with creative, high-quality images for your pins. Canva is a free tool for creating digital images for Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, but you can also use it for flyers, invites, business cards, etc. Canva is super easy to use, and there are lots of free designs that you can edit with your own text and images.
Know how to describe your pins
Pinterest is a search engine like Google, so you want to describe your Pins using searchable keywords. Start by looking at the pins that pop up in the top of your feed. I bet they’re simple and to the point descriptions. That’s what you want.
You can do some easy keyword research in the search bar. Start typing something related to your niche. If you’re a cooking/food based pinner, start with a search for “how to cook” and let Pinterest fill in the rest. What pops up will show you what people are currently searching for.
Using hashtags is also really useful for searching for things, so don’t forget to add those too.
Interact with other pinners
Pin other people’s pins, click their follow links, etc. Pinterest is a search engine, but it’s also a social media platform. This is an overall best practice on Pinterest. It says, “Thanks for following me.” You can always unfollow people if you don’t like what’s showing up in your feed.
Make sure you have a business account
I’ve said this already, but if you want to learn how to make money on Pinterest, you need a business account. This is a must do if you want to reach out to any brands for partnerships, affiliate links, etc. Business accounts are free and give you access to analytics, among other things.
Use Tailwind to schedule pins
Tailwind is a marketing app that was created just for Pinterest and Instagram. It can help you with analytics, promoting Pins, but one of the things it does really well is helping you create a pinning schedule.
It costs $9.99 a month, and pinners swear by it.
Have a press or media kit
Media kits tell potential partners key facts and statistics about your blog, business, or Pinterest following. Having a media kit is one of the easiest ways to tell people what you can offer their business.
You can use Canva for your media kit too, and it should include:
A short bio about you and your business
A list of your services
Number of impressions and/or following
Information about your audience
Always be transparent about your partnerships
This is another one I’ve already said, but it’s too important to overlook.
If you are using affiliate links or partnering with brands in any capacity, you have to let your audience know. The FTC has clear guidelines about this.
All it takes is a simple #affiliate or #affiliatelink in the text of your pin to fulfill the FTC regulations.
Follow Pinterest’s guidelines and best practices
To stay on the up and up as you make money on Pinterest, respect the platform by following their guidelines. You can find Pinterest’s Community Guidelines here, and it’s for both business account owners and personal users.
Learn about changes to the platform
Pinterest has changed a lot since they started in 2010. Those changes can affect the way you earn money through Pinterest. To learn about them, read emails they send and check out Social Media Today.
My final word on learning how to make money on Pinterest
Let me end with this… don’t just learn how to make money on Pinterest.
Honestly, I really do think Pinterest offers a lot of different opportunities to earn money, but diversifying your income is the best way to protect yourself and your business when Pinterest inevitably makes more changes.
The platform already offers a huge reach, and it continues to grow — Pinterest now has over 300 million users. I think it’s safe to say that Pinterest will continue to be around for awhile and opportunities will just keep growing. But, looking at other income sources is just basic personal finance.You can diversify with another side hustle, and for online business owners, make sure you’re increasing your traffic in other ways, like using Facebook ads to increase your blog traffic.