Storytelling and visuals are two of the most powerful tools content marketers have. Both of these attributes can help get ideas across more effectively and increase engagement. Combining these two elements—well, that’s a recipe for success.
Posts with video attract three times more links than posts with text only, Moz reports, and posts that include images result in a whopping 650 percent more engagement than ones without, according to Adobe. The popularity of Snapchat and Instagram and the increasing emphasis on video, photos and live streaming on Facebook are further proof that visuals are a vital component of a solid content marketing strategy.
So what counts as visual content?
- Slideshows and presentations
- Images and stories posted and created on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat
Canva is a simple-to-use tool for producing designs and documents for your company. Use it to create images for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. You can choose from a wide variety of logos, fonts, backgrounds, frames, and grids, and upload your own images.
Canva is free, but premium elements will cost you $1 each. A paid option, called Canva for Work, is $9.95 per month if you pay annually and $12.95 if you pay on a month-to-month basis. With this, you can save your brand colors, fonts, and logos and organize your images into folders.
Pixlr is an online platform for photo editing. There is the Pixlr Editor tool, which is like Photoshop in that it lets you work in layers and digitally manipulate photos. The big difference with Photoshop, however, is that Pixlr is free, and lives in the cloud. This means you can access your account and projects from any computer and are not reliant on a locally installed version of Photoshop.
Both Pixlr and Pixlr Express, a more limited edition that is easier to learn, are free, and all you need to do to get started is upload the photo you wish to work on. It’s an ideal platform for creating quick memes and graphics.
WeVideo is a cloud-based video editor that enables multiple users to collaborate on a single project. It gives you transitions, green screen, and fast- and slow-motion options, and you can save videos to the cloud or your hard drive. Your footage is uploaded to a timeline, and it’s simple to add in any features that you may need. You can upload directly to different websites through the tool.
The pricing ranges from free to $720 per year. In order to gain access to their stock videography package, where you can choose from 650k+ pieces of free video content, you’ll likely be best suited with their $216/year option. With the free option, you get 1 GB of storage and your video is watermarked, making your videos rather unusable. For the $216/year package, you get unlimited storage, unlimited projects and video exports, no watermark, and the ability to upload and download in 4K Ultra HD.
Camtasia gives you the power to record what’s happening on your screen and overlay it with audio commentary. You can also add video effects to the recording such as text boxes, green screen, panning and zooming. Use it to create product demonstrations, tutorials and lessons.
You can try Camtastia free for 30 days. If you’d like to purchase it, the company charges $199 for a single user license, with discounted rates for education and government. They also offer volume pricing.
Similar to WeVideo, Promo is a visual storytelling tool that allows you to easily spin out video content that you can use to garner more eyes on your brand. A deceptively easy to use tool, Promo allows you to select a video (from their huge collection), select music, and add in titles. Voila! In less than 30 minutes you can have a high-performance visual storytelling asset to bring in more prospects. Starting at $40/month, you’ll gain full access to their platform.
Moovly is online software for creating animated presentations and videos. With it, you can create ads, tutorials, and demonstrations for a variety of B2B and B2C purposes. There is a library of objects you can use, and all the assets are drag-and-drop. You can add in voiceover, and enlist the help of a Moovly professional for scriptwriting, animation and voiceover recording.
The platform includes a number of pricing options that range from $25 per year, outside of a free trial version (that watermarks your videos). The $25 version comes with unlimited videos. The highest-priced version gives you enterprise-level functionality such as group asset management, and license volume discounts.
If you do have pictures of your own that you’re working with, or if you just want to edit a stock photo to make it your own, you are going to need some editing software. Visual editing software often comes in large subscription packages which can get pretty spendy (not to mention complicated).
Unless you really need the software for a ton of graphic design work, you can probably get away with one of the free online tools. PicMonkey is awesome because you can make all of the edits that you would expect from a photo editing software including tons of filter and font options. And it’s all free!
Of course, the best case scenario is to hire a professional photographer and capture high-quality, unique images for your brand. But not everyone has that luxury. And with all of the content we are pumping out each day, sometimes we just need a good stock photo. But stock photography can get pretty expensive, and after a while, everyone’s pictures start to look the same.
Enter Pixabay. Pixabay has hundreds of thousands of free stock photos, a lot of which are in a unique style that is different from others on the market. You can download them in a range of sizes depending upon your needs and they are open for commercial use.
Pablo is the brain-child of the smarties over at Buffer. (If you don’t use their free social posting tool, you should definitely check it out). As their primary product was a tool for managing social posting schedules, they saw a need in the market for a graphic tool that integrated simply with the platform.
This is something you should care a lot about, too, because content with images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images! So you will increase your social reach just by adding an image to your posts. And what better way to share your stories than through the most popular story exchanging platform in the world – social media.