This article is not going to be a study in Tailwind bashing.
I think it can be absolutely incredible tool, capable of driving vast quantities of viewers to your website.
But I’m sick of it being portrayed as the easy, time-saving option. It’s a software to help you, like Canva or Wordpress. You still have to do the work.
If you think it’s quick fix, or get a subscription believing that you’re basically paying for traffic, you’ll probably be disappointed.
What does Tailwind do?
In a nutshell, it automates your Pinterest account.
(There’s other stuff too, but the main selling point is automation.)
Because you see, Pinterest wants people to use the platform every day. I think it sees itself as the magical lovechild of Google and Instagram.
You can hack this by pinning all your pins at once into Tailwind, and then Tailwind will drip feed them to Pinterest whenever you want. It even has a smart schedule, so it can work out when your audience are most active, so you have the best chance of getting traffic.
Does Tailwind work?
Does Tailwind do what it tells you it’s going to do?
But does that automatically mean a tonne of traffic?
The issues with Tailwind
A quick disclaimer: I don’t believe that Tailwind is duplicitous or a scam in any way. They’re a victim of that most dreaded of monsters: The Algorithm.
You still have to create pins that convert
Which becomes more and more difficult as more bloggers enter the arena. It’s so difficult to come up with original pins that drive clicks. Especially with the birth of Pinterest VAs.
Pinterest wants real users
Even though Tailwind is an official partner of Pinterest, Pinterest wants actual people on the platform.
I have no idea why it makes a difference to them, but it does.
How do they police this?
They kick off anyone if they do anything remotely spammy. I’ve heard of people being warned, then being kicked off permanently when they contacted Pinterest.
Before Tailwind, the now-defunct Board Booster was the scheduler of choice. Tailwind is far more powerful, but I really missed the cutesy, butterfly-themed Board Booster. Anyway.
The one thing Board Booster had over Tailwind was the feature called [yeah, I actually can’t remember — was it just called looping?], that allowed you to cycle the pins of your board. It would repin the oldest pin to the front of the board and delete the original one, so it gave the pin another chance at going viral.
Tailwind, like the good business it is, developed the Smart Loop, which basically does the same thing.
Except Pinterest now considers this spammy behaviour.
The whole set-it-and-forget-it aspect of Pinterest scheduling is dead.
Which was really the whole idea behind Tailwind.
If you dabble in the Smart Feed, you need to be careful, lest Pinterest bans you forever.
You need to be constantly changing either the description or the pin image to keep in Pinterest’s good books.
I have one rule for automation: if you need an additional spreadsheet to go alongside it to keep track, it’s not automated.
Ok, so it’s a weird rule, but if I’m paying £100 for automation, I don’t want to have to do much beyond fill-up the scheduler.
Do I blame Pinterest?
Although if I was the CEO of Tailwind I’d be pissed. Pinterest picked Tailwind over Board Booster to be the official partner and then screwed then over when Tailwind announced they were finally going to introduce the Smart Feed, something users had been begging for.
I wonder if Pinterest told Tailwind they’d regard the smart feed as spammy, but Tailwind felt too pressured by its users not to introduce it.
Tailwind can still be useful
It has great stats reports, can tell you if you’ve pinned the same pin before (and when), and there’s the legendary Tailwind tribes.
Which I’ve had zero success with.
I’ve gotten traffic from Tailwind Tribes, but it isn’t the traffic I want — I just got other bloggers in my niche filling up their schedulers. If I just wanted 1000 views a day I’d stay up all night on Facebook comment threads for free.
Which leads me to my issue with Pinterest and Tailwind. This may not be an issue you have, in which case feel free to disregard.
I don’t use it, but if you do and it works for you, yay.
Is Pinterest traffic high quality?
This is all down to how you want your website to serve you, and what your goals for it are.
I’ve found that for my niche(s) Pinterest traffic isn’t very engaged, although they’re very popular. It drives up my bounce rate (not that that’s a particularly useful metric in some cases) and my session duration drops like a stone.
Probably because so many of Pinterest’s users are bloggers filling up Tailwind. They’re having a glance at my site to check it’s not spam and then pinning it.
My Pinterest analytics look great, but I can’t tell if my blog is actually useful. Bloggers on Pinterest have become their own worst enemy.
Pinterest is essentially about images, so a lot of ‘real’ users never click the images, they just pin them.
It’s a search engine, yeah, but one that’s image-driven.
So I quit Tailwind
Not because it doesn’t work. I think it can if you’re willing to put the work in. I bought it so that I wouldn’t have to, and that didn’t work.
I wanted a way to drive targeted traffic without having to spend hours filling up schedulers and stalking the empty wastelands of social media. It didn’t work out like that. I spent Wednesday nights filling up my scheduler when I could have been doing something useful.
If you’re familiar with my blogging strategy you’ll know what I’m going to say next.
I already had a way of creating traffic without trying.
Ok, not without trying, but by doing what I wanted to do in the first place, which was writing.
(lol, I accidentally wrote ‘righting’ rather than ‘writing’ and couldn’t understand Grammarly’s problem. The human brain is weird as hell. ‘Righting’. FFS.)
(Oh, it’s by writing SEO optimised content, btw).
I still use Pinterest and believe it can drive traffic, for free, without needing a scheduler, or any fancy course. I don’t mean to tease, but that’ll be a separate post. It basically boils down to creating a few pins, pinning them to board, and then using Pinterest like a normal person.
Give Tailwind a try, by all means
But please, please, please, PLEASE, don’t waste your cash until you have AT LEAST 20 posts written. AT LEAST.
You could still get KILLER Pinterest traffic, but you won’t have much waiting for any users. Maybe wait 6 months before implementing it.
I realise that this opinion on Tailwind is the opposite of what every other blogger is saying (especially on Pinterest), which suggests that I’m in the minority.
Feel free to tell me to fuck off.
(Plz don’t, I’ll cry).
Just be aware that Tailwind has an affiliate programme (of course).
If you love using social media and like finding new ways to drive traffic COOL. Go for it. Especially if you enjoy filling up your scheduler and it makes you feel positive and all that good stuff. I’m happy for you.
So many people love that side of blogging — finding new marketing strategies and places to syndicate content and all that jazz.
But if you just want to sit at your computer and write about your favourite things and not spend any money, but possibly make money in the future, concentrate on creating content that people are looking for.
Not content you have to shove under your reader’s face.
Cards on the table, I’ve bought 2 subscriptions to Tailwind, believing it would be a quick way to immense volumes of traffic. More fool me.
Tailwind is a tool, not a magic wand.
If I ended this post with the phrase ‘the magic wand is hard work’, would I be arrested?
I feel that would be an arrestable crime.
(Oh, Tailwind has also branched out into Instagram, but I’ve not tried that. Since Instagram has a similarly touchy algorithm, again, I’d venture that just…using it like a normal person is really the key.)