How’s the visual appeal of your content marketing? Is it mediocre or outstanding?
There’s quite a few reasons to integrate high-quality visual content in your blogs and social media posts. Not only is visual content processed much faster than the written word, but it’s much more memorable.People retain only 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear, but 80% of what they see.
Recent studies by the Content Marketing Institute reports that infographics and videos are still considered highly effective marketing tactics. As marketers increasingly embrace visual content, it’s become more than just a best practice to visually-stimulate your audience. It’s required to keep up, let alone stand out against your competition.
Make it your mission to ditch stock photos in the months to come, and choose to embrace custom images, collages, and high-quality creative commons-licensed pictures instead. Your blog marketing metrics will surely reflect your efforts:
If you’re like many content marketers, you lack the skill set of a professional graphic designer. Even more importantly, few of us have the time to dedicate to learning Adobe.
Canva is your new best friend. Nearly anyone with basic computer skills can begin using Canva’s point-and-click environment for blog graphics, social media images, posters, and more. The vast majority of their design elements are free, and the rest are low-cost.
The design site is endorsed and actively used by marketing thought leader Guy Kawasaki, who’s described it as a solution for a market that’s ripe for disruption. It’s certainly turning things upside down for content marketing graphics!
If you’ll be using original images in your blog content, you should adopt a simple editing tool. PicMonkey’s slogan of “full of win” isn’t an exaggeration. This free tool is your one-stop shop for photo editing, resizing, collage, and basic graphic design. Among available free editors, this is clear winner, especially for creating collages. These collages don’t need to be abstract or art-oriented, necessarily. They can also be instructive in design, like the highly shareable photo tutorials that hold the potential to go viral on both Pinterest and Facebook.
Alternatively, if you’re trying to convert stock photography into something more original and engaging, PicMonkey is a powerful tool for combining various forms of visual content. Add text to enhance your visual communication. Layer several favorite photos into something entirely new and exciting. As a go-to- option, PicMonkey also can’t be beat for simple photo edits and re-touching.
For many content marketers, stock photo websites are something of a last resort. Many websites free resources simply aren’t that great, and you’ll find yourself having to purchase credits or pay fees to get a photo that fits your needs.
Thestocks.im is exactly the resource you’ve been waiting for. It contains thousands of aesthetically-pleasing, high-quality images taken by amazingly talented professional photographers. All pictures on the website are free and licensed under Creative Commons. Use these photos how you want, provided you include the right credit where credit is due. Even Copyblogger uses it for visual blog content. In case you’re curious, the header image in this post was sourced from Thestocks.im.
There are an abundance of free photo editing tools available online. However, Lunapic belongs in your toolbox due to its abundance of free features. If you’re looking for something a bit more advanced than what Canva or PicMonkey can offer, this is your destination.
Lunapic’s potential for content marketing includes it’s free gif-creation and editing tool. Everyone loves sharing short, interactive video clips. It doesn’t take a background in video editing or production to turn your best images into a short video clip with this tool.
As marketers continue to produce higher volumes of content marketing, the bar for visual content is continually raised. Your audience has likely come to expect a visually-appealing experience from business blogs and social media channels. With the help of the right tools, you can deliver – even if your graphic design skills are minimal.
What about you?
What are your favorite free, web-based tools for photo-editing, custom image creation and making gifs?
Author: Helen Nesterenko is the founder and CEO of writtent.com that is all about content that works, you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Image credit for top image: Jeff Sheldon/TheStocks.im