This post is written in partnership with Tailwind, but all content is 100% my own.

Ask 20 bloggers what they spend the most time doing, and you’ll likely get 20 different answers.

That’s because there’s a lot that goes into blogging – and there’s no right or wrong way to spend your time.

Like most bloggers, my biggest challenge is blogging full-time has been trying to do it all. And, more specifically, trying to do it all while travelling the world (even though that’s essential for research!).

From social media scheduling to photo editing, writing is only a tiny part of what goes into blogging. I once heard a blogger say they spend about 20% of their work time writing, and I’d say my own breakdown is much less than that.

In 2020, with travel off the table, I had more time than ever to give to each area of blogging.

And, even though it’s been great to check more admin tasks off the to-do list and take a bit of a breather from the usually manic cycle of travel, photograph, write, edit, promote, repeat, it’s been challenging in its own way.

2020 was an unusual and difficult year for everyone, and for travel bloggers it was no different. As someone whose career, lifestyle and identity had revolved entirely around exploring new places, 2020 had some interesting challenges.

I went from running on the adrenaline of sharing as much of my daily life as possible to… well, not really knowing what to share at all.

Just to let you know… This post (probably) contains affiliate links, including Amazon Associates links, and I may receive a small commission if you click one. This is at no extra cost to you and allows this site to keep running.

Travel blogging in 2020

2020 wasn’t a time to be sharing epic photos on Instagram, tweeting about an awesome restaurant or writing up practical tips for getting to an offbeat island.

It was hard knowing if I should continue blogging at all. Not only could none of my readers book the trips I would share, but I was watching restaurants, hotels and other travel companies I’d recently used and recommended go out of business daily.

I’ll never forget writing up this post about Cartagena less than a month my visit only to see one of the best coffee shops I’d recommended – a social initiative that gave back to the local community – close its doors for the last time. It was heart-breaking.

That was when I realised it might be time to rethink what travel blogging meant in 2020.

As any full-time blogger will tell you, blogging is a job that never stops. So, what do you do when the thing you blog about – travelling – comes to a sudden and complete standstill?

Travel blogging in 2020, for me, was about maintaining enough to avoid any long term damage to my business while being sensitive to what was going on in the world.

I knew that I needed (and wanted!) to continue polishing off the half-written drafts that had been collecting, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to follow the tried and tested publishing routine I’d been using.

Blogging is at least as much about marketing as it is about creating. To keep my blog strong, I needed to keep up both sides – but I also knew I needed to approach the marketing side differently.

To me, that meant essentially taking a very long (but not entirely unwelcome!) break from social media. I continued to publish new blog posts, but I only shared them in one place: Pinterest.

Travel blogging on the ASUS Zenbook duo laptop and matcha latte at velvet cafe in Zagreb Croatia
Blogging from a café in Zagreb at the end of 2019, I had no idea what was about to happen.

How I use Pinterest as a travel blogger

For many people, Pinterest is a fun app to scroll when you need some inspiration. For bloggers, it can be the game-changing piece of the puzzle.

Far from just another social media channel, Pinterest is a powerful search engine – and perhaps the biggest search engine not owned by Google. This is especially true in visual niches like fashion, beauty and – you guessed it! – travel.

More than 200 million people use Pinterest every month, and they can stumble across pins from any user – not just those they follow.

And for bloggers, that’s huge!

Like many bloggers, I focused solely on Google traffic for a long time. I blame my background in SEO! But one of the biggest game-changers for my blogging career was when I started to take Pinterest seriously.

How Pinterest changed my travel blogging career

Like many new bloggers, I gave little attention to Pinterest at the beginning. I mistook it for another social channel, using it almost exclusively for mindless promotion when I had some extra time to waste.

Let me tell you now: that’s never going to get you very far!

As I began to take travel blogging more seriously – and started focusing on taking my travel blog full-time – I quickly realised how important Pinterest (and Tailwind!) would be in a number of ways:

1 – Pinterest is a visual search engine

Unlike Google, Pinterest allows you to search for an article that appeals to you visually. For blogs like mine that place an emphasis on photography and aesthetics, that’s where we can thrive.

Not only does it allow my photography to speak for itself, but it allows branding to play a greater role in our marketing. You know a blog’s branding is on-point when you spot a pin and instantly know it belongs to them!

And, given that travel is a largely visual niche, it only makes sense to reach potential readers by showing them what they can expect from your blog.

2 – It suits different styles of posts

Another thing any professional travel blogger will tell you: not all posts are marketed the same way.

While practical guides with low-competition keywords tend to do best on Google, inspirational posts of any keyword size can be a hit on Pinterest.

Sometimes it takes a few different pins for one to catch on – and thankfully Tailwind makes that easy! – but it’s much easier to gain traffic for posts at the start of the buying cycle on Pinterest. And when those readers click through to your blog, they’re probably going to spend a lot of time searching through guides and ideas.

3 – Anyone can rank

Unlike Google SEO, where you generally have to dedicate years building up your domain authority, backlinks and general authority on a niche, Pinterest is fair game for anyone.

If you have a good pin that viewers love, there’s a good chance that it can do well.

4 – It’s a whole different audience

The readers who search on Pinterest are usually quite different to those who head straight to Google. If you don’t use Pinterest – or don’t use it well – you could be missing out on a huge audience.

As I mentioned before, the Pinterest is usually one that’s looking for inspiration and ideas. And those types of posts are my favourite ones to write. Not only does that mean I enjoy a whole new audience, but it’s an audience that I love to write for. As a blogger, that’s the dream!

Just as all travel bloggers spend their time differently, bloggers also monetise in many different ways. As a former affiliate marketer, it’s probably no surprise that the bulk of my blogging income comes from affiliate marketing.

Since Pinterest lifted the ban on affiliate marketing, Pinterest has provided another way to directly increase my revenue. I don’t share a lot of affiliate links on there, but you can be sure that I make them count when I do.

And, when an affiliate-focused pin takes off, it can result in a nice pay day!

alajode travel blog on pinterest

How I use Tailwind for Pinterest

Spend any amount of time planning your Pinterest marketing and you’ll quickly realise that it can be a full-time job in itself. In fact, the number of Pinterest-centric virtual assistants out there is testament to that!

Even though my background is in marketing, I like to spend as little time on it as possible. Not only because there are so many other things I need to give my attention to, but because I like to get off my laptop every once in a while!

2020 gave me time to research, experiments and refine my marketing strategies, so I could make my work time even more efficient. And, with Pinterest best practices changing so much, it simply wouldn’t be possible to make time for it all without Tailwind.

Tailwind has different pricing brackets and options, and I’ve experimented with a few different set-ups. I’ve found that, by far, the most useful ways to use Tailwind for Pinterest are:

  • Scheduling many pins: With fresh pins more important than ever before, I now create 5-10 pins per post and schedule them periodically to relevant boards using the Tailwind scheduler. I still go in and manually upload the pin to the most relevant board first, then I let Tailwind take over. Tailwind also has the option to create Board Lists – lists of r elated boards that you share the same pins to – which cuts Pinterest marketing time down to seconds.
  • Utilising Tailwind communities: I use to join a lot of communities, but I’ve found that five active ones is enough. When used well, they can be a huge source of traffic. Again – having visually appealing and well-branded pins is key, so as a photographer I feel like I have an advantage. When you share a pin to the community, other members can re-share it easily. Each community has its own rules, but generally you will be expected to share at least one pin by another community member for every pin that you share to the community.
  • Digging deeper with Pinterest analytics: Pinterest doesn’t just offer a whole new platform for reaching your target audience – like Google, it also offers some highly value insights. Pinterest analytics have evolved greatly over the last few years and offer insights that other analytics can’t. On top of that, Tailwind has its own in-built analytics which, combined with the Pinterest analytics, makes for a very powerful (and time-saving!) marketing tool.

There are plenty of other ways I use – and have used – Tailwind, but these are the ones that make it very much worth the subscription. Most importantly of all, perhaps, Tailwind is the only tool approved by Pinterest.

If you’re a blogger and haven’t used Tailwind before (or haven’t used it to its full ability!), click here to sign up and try it for free.

Blogging on the Nomad Cruise

Pivoting with Pinterest

Even though Pinterest has always played an important role in my marketing strategy, it’s never been more central to my work than in 2020.

And, while I’ve used Tailwind to schedule fresh pins for as long as I can remember, 2020 was the year when I really used the tool to its potential.

Although I thought my 2020 would be more jam-packed with travel and gathering fresh content than any year to date, I welcomed the chance to take a breath and focus on making what I already had work to its potential.

Rather than writing up content from new places, I spent my year writing about travelling from home, polishing up old posts that were in need of an update and tidying up the backend of my blog (and boy, did it need it!).

From a marketing perspective, it was weirdly nice to not have to feel “on” all he time. Social media slid right to the bottom of my priorities list, and I focused my marketing efforts much more on Pinterest than ever before – something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but never had chance to.

I created fresh pins for all of my old posts, which I’m periodically scheduling them using Tailwind. Unlike other platforms, where content is largely chronological, pins can linger for months before being found. That means I can post right now regardless of what’s going on in the world, content in the knowledge that they will be there when the world is ready to travel again.

I also used Tailwind analytics to revamp my Pinterest boards, ensuring that I was focusing on the most valuable ones and that all boards fit my brand.

Finally, I was able to step back and really make sure my Tailwind Communities and board lists worked for me. Now, when we start travelling again, I know that I only need to spend a minimal amount of time on my Pinterest efforts every week to reap the maximum reward.

Click here to sign up for Tailwind and see how it can transform your own marketing efforts.

You can follow me on Pinterest here.