Visual content is a key ingredient in any marketing recipe. Without it your marketing strategy is going to be a little bland and colourless.
Before you start getting creative, however, you need to ask yourself a few questions so you can produce content that’s effective, engaging and hopefully encourages social shares. You only have a few seconds to snag someone’s attention so you need to make an impact:-
- who is your target audience (buying personas)?
- what are they likely to find most appealing?
- where are you going to use your visual content? (This will help you decide whether to create a quick 15-second video or an infographic, for example.)
Once you’ve got the answers clear in your mind, you can start thinking about what sort of visual content to produce:-
- an image (motivational quotation, meme, screenshot)
- a short, snappy video to engage followers on Instagram or Twitter
- explainer videos or marketing tutorials
Fortunately there’s a huge selection of mobile apps and desktop software available to help you get started. They’re easy to use and you don’t have to have a Masters in graphic design to create stunning content.
I’ve chosen 7 of my top visual content creation tools which are incredibly easy to use, which are either free or very inexpensive to purchase, and which can potentially help you make awesome visual content.
Take a look, experiment and have some fun!
(1) Canva [For desktop and iPad]
So much is written about Canva now because it really is unbeatable when it comes to creating professional-looking images for business.
Canva has recently rolled out Canva for Work which allows marketers and visual content creators to save templates, documents, upload logos, capture colour hex codes for branding etc. It’s a fantastic time-saver and very simple to use.
At just under $13.00 a month ($9.95 if you pay the full annual amount) it’s money very well spent.
If you’re just starting out with Canva you can sign up for their free account.
What’s not to like?
(2) FotoJet [Desktop]
Another great tool to explore if you don’t have a design qualification. Within minutes you’ll be able to produce an eye-catching image for your blog, website or social media platforms.
Choose from a huge selection of pre-formatted templates, ranging from modern to quirky 3D layouts. Simply double-click on the template to create your own design using free images provided by FotoJet. If you don’t like the choice on offer, then upload your own from your local files or from your Facebook profile. It’s so easy!
When you feel confident enough, why not start from scratch using a blank template.
There’s a wide range of different image layouts and ratios to choose from. You can tweak the borders, add rounded corners for something a little different, and even change the entire image background with patterns and colours.
FotoJet gives you all the help you’ll need to get the most out of their software with their quick video tutorials.
FotoJet is so easy to use and your finished product will rival any professionally created (and possibly expensive) graphic.
When you’re done, share your creation with friends on Facebook or download it as a JPG/PNG file for later use. It really couldn’t be easier!
(3) Enlight [iPad and iPhone]
Enlight is a delight!
It’s my current favourite iPad app.
My own personal business motto is “Stand out from the Crowd” but in order to get noticed and cut through all the noise online you need to do something different. Produce visual content on your iPhone or iPad with Enlight and you’ll start getting noticed.
Create beautiful, artistic photos using a choice of clever filters (analogue, B&W, Duo)
Add text overlays or create collages for Instagram.
Adjust, contrast, brighten photos or target specific areas of an image for editing.
Catch the attention with quirky finishing touches by re-shaping a photo or changing the perspective.
Or simply ‘wow’ your audience by adding haunting, artistic touches such as double-exposure or textures.
(4) Colours [iPad and iPhone]
Colours is another photo editing tool to hook your audience’s attention with distinctive pops of colour and magical photo overlays.
Very simple to use, just select a photo from your local file for editing. Next choose from a range of filters, grids and frames to produce professional-looking and very idiosyncratic graphics.
(5) Magisto Video Maker & Editor [Android or iOS]
Magisto is my current favourite Android app for creating short, snappy videos for your blog, Twitter or Instagram. Create a video in 3 super-easy steps:-
✥ Select photos
✥ Pick a style
✥ Add music
Magisto will do all the creative work and will let you know in just a few minutes when the video is ready for viewing.
If you don’t like it, you can choose to tweak it here or there or start over from scratch.
(6) Kinemaster – Pro Video Editor [Android]
This is a fun Android app which is easy to use and has some really great ‘pro’ editing tools.
Simply go through 4 steps:-
✥ Choose photos
✥ Add a theme
✥ Add text overlays if needed
✥ Select background music and …
If you don’t like the finished product, there are many opportunities to target and change whichever aspect you’re not happy with.
You have the option to crop the length of the video, change the effect of a clip, add a title ‘slide’ rather like YouTube and fade the music out as it ends.
Take a look at their 2-minute explainer video here –
(7) Recordit: Gif Screen Recorder [Mac and Windows]
So easy to use. Simply install, click the little button to record your screen, stop and you have a Gif ready to save or tweet.
If you’d like to discover some more apps specifically for Instagram, take a look at my blog post, “Instagram: a Powerful Visual Platform for Small Business“.
If you’re really not creative at all, don’t worry!
Alternatively, follow our Visual Marketing Collection over on Google Plus and discover some of the best articles from visual marketing experts.