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I love to use templates in my online business, they make creating social media images quick and easy. Not only that, but templates make my work more brand consistent and time efficient.
I am currently in the middle of updating my website and Pinterest graphics and I am learning the power of templates. So I thought I would share with you what I've learnt about creating Pinterest images that get repins, clicks and bring your target audience to your site.
If you are a blogger, etsy seller, photographer or creative small business owner you need to learn the power of creating and using templates.
How To Create A Viral Pin Template
I am assuming that you already have Photoshop since you are here reading this Photoshop tutorial. If you use another graphics program, you should still find some useful information in this tutorial, that you can adapt for your program of choice.
If you plan on using other Adobe programs such as illustrator, inDesign, Acrobat Pro DC (if you create printables for sale this is a powerful tool) than you would get better value with the All Apps option.
Research Pinterest Sizes + Designs
Pins that go well on Pinterest are square (this really depends on the niche) Rectangle (2:3 ratio) and Tall (1:3 + ratio). General rule of thumb you want vertical pins not horizontal.
Scroll through your Pinterest smart feed and pin images that stand out to you (the ones that make you want to click and read) to a secret board named Research. Next you will want to search for similar content that you create and again scroll through and pin images that make you want to click to your secret research board.
Next you want to find quality Pinners and Bloggers you admire. Find their "best of" boards and pin some of their designs to your research board.
Once you have a number of different pin designs study them. What do these pins have in common? What makes them different? How is text used? How has colour been used? How has photographs been used? What size/shape are the pins?
You can now start to create your own pin templates from the information you gathered about these pins.
Let's Create A Simple Pin Template With Photoshop
First thing I am going to get you to do is to create a folder just for templates. Taking the time to create an organisation system for your digital files before you start will save you time and time again.
Below is a screen shot of how I organise my digital filing system, you don't have to do it this way, do what works for you. Having a specific place for any file that needs to be stored on my computer has really improved my workflow.
Create A New Canvas In Photoshop
Open Photoshop > File > New.
We don't need to worry about filling in the name of the file just yet, we will do that when we save our template.
What we do need to fill out is the dimensions (width, height, dpi). We will start with the dimensions of 736 W, 1204 H, 72dpi. This is what I use to create my medium length pins for blog posts.
Create, Use & Organise Layers In Photoshop
We will be using layers and groups to organise the elements of our templates. Layers give us the most flexibility and make editing different elements easy. We will need a background layer, a text bar layer, a mask layer and several text layers.
First add a new layer by clicking on the little post it note icon in the layers window or (Command + Shift + N). This layer will be our stand in layer for our background photo. Make sure you have this layer selected then go to Layer > Group Layers (Command + G) and rename the group to Background.
Add a new layer and repeat the above steps, but this time rename the group folder to Mask. Repeat the steps again for the text bar layer and a text layer.
You may have more or less layers depending on the template design you are going for.
How To Use The Text Bar Layers
The text bar layers are blocks of colour that sit behind text to highlight text and prevent them getting lost in the background.
We are going to create a text bar along the bottom of our pin for our website URL. To do this press (M) or go over to the Tool Bar and select the Marquee Tool, select a small rectangular section at the bottom of the canvas (example below). Once you have selected a rectangular section of the canvas use the paint bucket tool (G) to fill the selection with a colour that represents your brand.
Don't worry if you don't know which colour to use, just use any colour for now and you can come back and change it later once you have figured out your brand / style.
Creating The Mask Layer
While you are still on the text bar layer, select the empty space above the text bar using the wand tool (W) then select the mask layer. Once you are on the mask layer using the same colour you used for the text bar fill the selection with the paint bucket (G).
Next we are going to resize this block of colour smaller using the transform tool. With the colour still selected press (command + T) or go Edit > Free Transform. Holding down (Shift + Option) click on the middle section of shorter side your coloured rectangle and move your curser in towards the centre.
Do the same to the longer side until it matches the distance between the edge of the canvas and the edge of the block of colour on the shorter side. See example.
When you have finished resizing the block of colour set the transformation by clicking the tick symbol.
In the layers window with the mask layer selected, adjust the opacity to 50%.
Formatting The Text - Fonts + Colours
Time to pick fonts and colours, if you have already established your brand with a colour palette and types of fonts that's great this step will be easy. Open up your brand file and select the fonts and colours from there.
If you don't have a brand colour palette and fonts picked out for your brand, now would be the time to work those out.
You want to pick two to three fonts that compliment each other and can be read easily at a glance.
To establish your colour palette, you can use a photo for inspiration, a website like www.colourlovers.com or alternatively you could hire someone to create and define your brand.
Add Alternative Elements
You can play around with your design and add extra elements like the pin it badge and the Read it badge I added that you can see in my final version.
Your pin designs will be based off your own individual needs and research. Do you need product images to be the focus? Does you niche prefer darker pins, lighter pins, bright pins?
You should also come up with a number of different designs for templates otherwise your pins will start to look all the same (like mine have been). I am currently working on making a variety of new template designs, which is why I decided to write this post.
Design Pins for Small
When adding elements and text to your pins you want to design for small. What I mean by that is while designing your pins keep in mind how your pin will be seen by most people.
You pin needs to look good while scrolling the smart feed, especial on mobile devices.
Working on you pin in Photoshop the size of your computer screen can be misleading since your pin will rarely be seen at that size.
To help you see how you pin design reads for small, go to Windows > Navigator and keep that window on the side of your screen while you work.
Glance at the Navigator from time to time and ask your self does this pin stand out? Can I read my text at this size at a glance? If I were scrolling would this stop my thumb?
Saving Your Template
It's time to save your template so you can use it to create various pins by changing out the background, the text and the colour scheme as need.
First save file as (Command + Shift + S) a .tiff or .psd file in your templates folder. These types of files will keep your layers so that you can edit them easily later. Name your template descriptively (something that makes sense to you) I like to include the size of the image.
For this example I saved my template as Pin_It_Read_It_736x1204px.tif in my templates folder in the folder for Pinterest.
Creating Your First Pin From Templates
Congrats you have a template, I know, I know it doesn't seem like a time saver at the moment since you just went through all that work to create the template.
But the good news is you can reuse that template over and over. So your hard work now will continue pay you back in the future. If you don't want to spend the time creating a bunch of templates there is good news, you can still get the benefits of templates without creating your own.
Buying Social Media Templates
You can simple buy them from a designer, yep, you can find social media templates for sale online on private websites and marketplaces like these ones here on Etsy.
All you need to do is find the template designs that you like, buy the listing, download the files save them to your templates folder and create your pins the same way we are about to.
Create A Pin From a Template With Photoshop
Open the template file you just created (or downloaded), change the pin text to a attention grabbing blog post title, make adjustments to the text size and colour as needed.
To add in the background image for the pin select the layer in the background folder, go to File > Place > Select your background image file > Place.
Adjust the size and placement of the background image until you are happy with your design. Take a moment to check how it looks in the navigator window to be sure it reads well small.
Your background image should be interesting but not distracting, light and bright images work best in most cases. Flat lays and in-situ style photographs are popular with various blog niches.
If you have a good camera and an eye for photography you can create your own images. If not you can buy stock photography for blogging purposes, just make sure you understand the license to use of the images you purchase.
Save Your Pin
When you have finished editing your template, it's time to Save As. Always remember when saving a pin from a template to Save As.
Press (Command + Shift + S) locate you blog folder, then the folder for the specific blog post, rename the file using your blog post keywords and this time we are going to save the file as a .png.
This will merge the layers into one and reduce the file size which is what we want for files we upload to our blogs.
Your image is now ready to be pinned and pinned and pinned. Upload your pin to you blog post or directly to Pinterest.
What Makes A Viral Pin?
No one can say for sure when or why a pin will go viral, but that doesn't mean we can't try. I recently had a post/pin of mine go semi-viral earlier this year and I certainly want to make that happen again.I have listed below reasons why I think a pin might go viral.
Pinterest is after all a visual platform designed to keep Pinners scrolling and pinning beautiful images for hours.
Easy to Read
Pins need to be easily read at a scrolling pace, a beautiful image may help pause a thumb but if the text is hard to read a Pinner will keep scrolling to the next pretty pin.
Pinterest is a visual search engine, make sure your pin can be found when searched for. Just like google, SEO + keywords help to pins get found on Pinterest.
A Solution To A Need
Blog posts that do well as pins on Pinterest are ones that offer solutions to a need. That's why tutorials, recipes, DIY projects and other How To posts are so popular on Pinterest.
Pin This Post
I hope you found this tutorial helpful and has inspired you to create your own pin-worthy templates. If you have any questions or need something explained in more detail leave me a comment below.