I’ve paid little attention to Pinterest. This, it turns out, has been a big mistake.

Pinterest is the second largest driver of content worldwide to blogs and other Web sites. I set up a Pinterest account some time ago, and I’ve kept my eye intermittently on how the platform might be useful to clients. But, for my own business, I’ve pretty much ignored it.

That all changes now.

Visual content drives traffic.

I was on a terrific MarketingProfs webinar last week on how to create great visual content. And great, in business terms, isn’t about looking like Whistler’s Symphony in White. It’s about content that is shareable and drives traffic.

While Donna Moritz packed her presentation with lots of great “how to” takeaways, what I want to focus on first is two important reasons why you need to make visuals part of your content mix.

Social Icons into the TARDIS

Moritz pointed out that visual content is like the TARDIS of your blog (or your Web site). Much as his time machine allows Dr. Who to travel in space and time, visual content drives traffic to and from your hub from all over and at any time.

Smartphone in a pocket

Then Moritz pointed out that “there is an army of marketers on your Web site at any time.” Every time someone shares a link, an image, or an excerpt from your site they are, in effect, spreading your brand message. As Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms increasingly move to highlight and reward visual content, you’re missing an opportunity if you’re not using visuals.

Pinterest drives visual content.

One of the tips that Donna Moritz shared is a simple URL: www.pinterest.com/source/[yourURL].

I plugged in my URL and expected to find no results. Instead I discovered that three different people, none of whom I know, have pinned images from my blog posts onto Pinterest. Sure, it’s not a marketing army–yet. But imagine if I actually made it easy to share my content, or engaged with the people who posted my content, or even pinned my own material?

Three changes I’ve made that you can too.

You might have noticed that I recently started embedding more content into the body of my posts. This has expanded the time it takes me to produce each blog post, but it is increasingly important as visuals often get shared far more often than straight text. Plus, it gives you more options for sharing posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, and elsewhere.

This was a good start. Now I’m making it easier to share all this visual content (hint, hint – and thank you!).

I’ve added the Pinterest Pin It Button for Images plugin to facilitate image sharing on Pinterest. Every in-post image now has a “pin it” button that appears when you hover over the image. I’ve also added a Pinterest share option to my share buttons. (No comment on why that wasn’t there before).

Moving forward, I plan to share all of my posts to Pinterest. (Can you say “doh”?) I also plan to start creating my own shareable visual content—including, hopefully, visuals customized for my blog posts.

The secret to visual content

This is my first attempt.

As Moritz said, it doesn’t have to be beautiful. It just has to be effective.