We all know that when it comes to consuming content, text alone no longer makes the cut. We are multi-sensory beings and the more we can plug into our senses to absorb content, the bigger its impact.
Adding visuals is key to beefing up impact and engagement – be it in a blog post, social media post or email. You can say goodbye to your audience if you cannot hold their interest for longer than a few seconds. Not only will including visuals help get your point across, it could entice your audience to share your content with their networks.
Creating visuals is easiest when you have existing content to work with. But sometimes you don’t have that, or things come up last minute and you don’t have the resources or time to devote. That’s OK. There are tools out there to help you create unique and enticing images that are sure to increase engagement.
Whether you’re a blogger or a marketer, creating visuals for your content should not be a painful process. Here are 7 tools that will help facilitate the design process and give your content a splash of life:
Canva is a free and exceptional design tool that people with zero design skills or experience will find easy to use. From blog graphics to posters to Facebook ads, you can start any new design from scratch, or start with a layout if you need a little guidance. You can upload your own images or choose from a wide array of backgrounds. It also has quite the selection of premium stock images, which cost $1 when you publish. Currently in beta.
This free online photo editor integrates design and paint tools to create custom content. Many of its features (or tools) are similar to what you find in Photoshop: you can choose from various filters, fonts and experiment with different layers. Although Pixlr may seem a little rough around the edges, it’s fairly intuitive and its open form allows your creativity to take reign over your content’s direction.
With PicMonkey you can edit, touch up, design or create a collage. It is similar to Pixlr in function, but its interface is much more user friendly. Although users can edit and create social media images free of charge, one can upgrade to Royale for added effects, fonts, and textures. The monthly cost for Royale is $4.99 or you can opt for an annual membership of $33. It is a great tool for anyone who needs a quick photo editor with a short learning curve.
Quozio is a quick and effortless tool that will give a simple quote a nice pop. Just provide a quote, pick a predetermined style and share. It’s that easy! There’s even a bookmarklet that makes it even more convenient to create an eye-catching quote – highlight text on any web page, click the bookmarklet, and your text is delivered into the tool for a hassle-free experience. The only downside to Quozio is its lack of font choice and custom styles. However, its favorable price tag – free! – and the convenience of no registration required makes this a charming, great-to-know tool.
Share As Image is a seamless tool that turns any text into a shareable image in seconds. This works just like Quozio, only it offers more options to customize font and background. Users can also play around with filters to add texture to their images. Once an image has been created, users can download it or easily share it on social media. You can use this tool for free if you’re open to having the Share As Image watermark at the bottom of your image. However, upgrading to the PRO account for $8/month will add your own branding, get access to premium photos, and manage your images. This handy tool is great for creating web images to accompany your content in any occasion.
Skitch is a free application from Evernote that helps you create insightful content. This isn’t an exhaustive design tool, but rather a tool to bring out qualities within a screen shot or your own image — because sometimes all you really need is a little detail to strengthen your visuals. Fully equipped with bold arrows, text, shapes, pixelizer and a color palette, Skitch can turn a boring and unclear image into a resourceful asset.
Sometimes, you may be dealing with a difficult subject that can be daunting to your audience. A great way of inviting your readers to dive into your post is to create a mind map. This visual can help guide your reader through complex ideas that otherwise might have gotten lost in translation. Coggle is a free, straightforward mind mapping tool that allows you to work independently or invite others to work on the map as well, after signing in with Google. Just double-click on the main Coggle to get started and the rest is cake.
How do you incorporate visuals into your content strategy? Tell us below!
Want to learn more about creating visuals that drive engagement? Download our white paper, Visuals That Stick, with actionable advice on impactful design from the Visually creative team.
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Stephanie Castillo is a digital marketing specialist at Visually. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and History of Art and Visual Culture from University of California, Santa Cruz. Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieIvania.