When it comes to online content creation and marketing, we’re becoming more and more attracted to visuals. Visual content has grown in leaps and bounds in the last 12-18 months with marketers discovering new ways to communicate and engage with their audiences.
With so many ways to get your message across, the sky is the limit. While we all have awesome ideas we would like to share visually, some of us may not have the budget (or the skills) to make it happen.
This is where online tools come into play, to help aspiring content creators help their ideas come to life – albeit, even is it is just on the screen of a computer, or mobile device. Lately, there has been a huge surge in these kinds of tools, each with a new, user-friendly way to communicate visually through different styles, such as videos, infographics, social share images, presentations, etc.
Here are a few to get you started.
Canva – Without a doubt my all-time favorite when it comes to online image creation. What makes Canva so attractive is the amazingly simple, yet super-powerful UI (user interface). It’s a breeze to use and you can design all types of images from Facebook cover images, to social sharing images, right the way down to quotes, Twitter headers and much more.
Free to use, and lots of upgrades available (per image, etc.) to keep things fresh. I’m a big fan.
Piktochart – A user-friendly tool to help you create simple infographics, reports and presentations with the help of pre-set themes, color schemes, icons and graphics that you can customize. Piktochart does offer a ‘Pro’ account with more themes available for you to play around with, though the templates on the free account are also quite good and the icons, fonts and colors are varied enough to last you a while before you feel your infographics might be getting too repetitive.
Venngage – This tool allows you to create infographics and other visual content as well through their templates and icons, much like Piktochart. However, what’s cool about this tool is the addition of social analytics, so that you can track who is viewing your images. The template options are quite simple compared to other options out there, so it’s perfect if you want your infographic to take on a more minimalistic style.
Easel.ly – A crowd favorite for creating engaging and informative graphics. It definitely lives up to its name with its simple yet straight-forward interface, with well-designed and professional vhemes (that’s not a spelling error, it stands of ‘visual themes’) for you to choose from and use.
Pixlr – This is actually three nifty online tools (Pixlr Editor, o-Matic and Express) rolled into one. Pixlr Editor gives you the basic editing features you need for online image manipulation if you need to create new graphics, or edit and improve upon existing images. Pixlr O-Matic is definitely geared more towards Instagram users with different filters and other effects to help give your images a touch of creativity. Pixlr Express is more playful and social media friendly, where you can add doodles, stickers and text to your images.
Infogr.am – Infographics are a great way of showing a lot of technical content in a fun and interesting way. I’ve used them on and off to great success and will start doing more of them in the near future.
Once you feel like you have ample and strong enough data to work with, you simply add your data and comments and choose one of their templates. There may be limited customization with this tool and there is no blank canvas option yet, but it is a great tool to help you get going when creating something as info-heavy and detailed as a ‘true’ infographic (instead of just a graphical quote, per se).
99Designs – Once you graduate from DIY design (or having a VA handle it for you using tools as those above) and want to take your visual masterpieces to the next level, you’ll realize that a professional and talented designer is always the best way to get your message across, especially if you feel that the message is particularly important, detailed, or special – so, I’d suggest you turn to this brilliant resource to handle the more ‘heavy’ design work you need done – it’s a great service, simple to use and super fast and reliable. I thoroughly recommend them.
Question: Have you used any of these tools before? Comment below and tell me what you think. Got more you’d like to share? Go right ahead…