The vast amount of content created online is staggering. More than 350 million new photos are uploaded to Facebook every single day. One hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. On average, more than 3000 tweets are retweeted every second! Its difficult to comprehend the sheer volume or videos, photos and articles that exist on the Internet.
In order to make that great piece of content you wrote stand out you sometimes have to go that extra mile because it often takes something visually special to cut through the sea of mediocrity.
Here are a few tools that can help you build visually persuasive content. Most of them are free (or free to try) so take them for a spin.
Photos and Graphics
Photos can almost double the chances of your content being clicked. And with the following tools, your photos will can be at the same standard as your content.
Not only does ThingLink allow you to make your photos highly engaging, it’s also a lot of fun to use! The online app allows you to insert tags and icons on your photo, which appear on mouse-over. When the user touches any of the icons, a pop-up with your message appears. You can also link these icons to relevant videos, music or photos, which will be superimposed on your photo.
The app also lets you search for relevant content right off its dashboard. Here’s a photo I created in less than 10 minutes. Scroll over the image. Go on, you know you want to!
Gone are the days when you need a master degree in Photoshop to create great visual content. Enter: Canva, the “fun-tastic” online tool that takes 21 seconds to master. Seriously… That’s the length of the tutorial video on their homepage. Design awesome images by simply dragging and dropping pictures and icons, add text, change the colours to go with your brand or theme, and you’re ready with a great custom image to share with your audience.
You can design different types of visual content such as Twitter posts, posters, Facebook cover images, and more. The app is free to use, but most of the images and icons cost you $1 each.
Adobe Creative Cloud
For those of you who need more control (like me), there’s Adobe Creative Cloud. The online creative suites eliminates the need for installing heavy graphics software on your computer, allowing you to access, work and collaborate on your visual content from anywhere in the world. Adobe has hosted tons of desktop and mobile apps on the cloud. And you can use the entire collection by paying $29.99 per month. Great if you are also into photography.
Creative Cloud also lets you share your visual content using Behance, get amazing fonts using Typekit, build apps using PhoneGap, manage projects on StoryPlus, and really do quite a lot. Adobe CC is great place if you are a creative designer, although it can be a little baffling for a beginner.
PicMonkey is another easy-to-use visual picture tool that allows you to edit, touch up, and design images, add text, and share the results with your audience. It works in much the same way as Canva, but PicMonkey also allows you to create collages from your own photos and enhance them visually. Remove the wrinkles and blemishes from photos, make people blush, whiten their teeth, apply lip color, grow whiskers, and do a lot more.
Have you ever pondered how people can create infographics so quickly and easily? You don’t need to be a designer to make your data attractive by depicting it graphically. Infogram allows you to pick up one of the several templates and customize it with your own text and data. Just like with Canva and PicMonkey, you can just drag and drop items and objects to bring your infographics to life.
The free basic plan gives you plenty of features and charts to play around with and also publishes your infographics online. A must-use tool if you don’t want to bore the heck out of your audience with text, figures and tables.
Videos and Slideshows
A video or slideshow on your landing page can boost conversions by as much as 80% or more. People are 160% more likely to buy from you if they watch through the end of your video, but how to make them do that? Here are some tools that can make your videos and slideshows captivating.
Tired of publishing boring slideshows? Prezi gives you a whole new perspective on your presentations. You can create a wide area snapshot of your whole presentation using one of the attractive and meaningful templates. Prepare your slides and position them on the template. Use the tool to zoom in and out of your slides and fly around the presentation to give a unique and dynamic feel. You can customize the path or the sequence in which the slides will display and add audio to the presentation. Unlike a regular PowerPoint presentation, a Prezi presentation looks more like a video and emphasizes the way in which your slides are interconnected.
Prezi might take a while to master. You can view a plethora of public presentations shared on Prezi to get inspired. Here’s an example of a random video created using Prezi.
If a picture is worth one thousand words, a video must be worth a million. Why use text when you can capture your viewers’ attention with an entertaining, slick video? GoAnimate is a great tool for producing fun animated videos using a variety of cartoon characters, backgrounds, props, and smart sets. There are plenty of themes available to go with any type of video, including business presentations, white board animations, cartoons, comedy, Sci-Fi…you name it.
GoAnimate is easy and fun to use. Just select the theme, scroll your mouse over different objects and characters, and enjoy playing with a huge number of cool features and functionalities. You can try the video maker for free, but you must purchase a plan (starting at $39/month) if you want to download or export your video.
This is the Doodle video website that claims their one-of-a-kind animations are 800% more engaging than words. These videos use a human hand to sketch your story on a whiteboard at high speed, as a crisp voiceover speaks to the viewers. The videos they make are compelling and keep the audience hooked through the very end.
Sellamotion is a customized service and their team will offer you a price after learning about your requirements in detail. Their process starts with a conference call and includes script, original artwork, voiceover, and editing. The prices start at $297/minute, so this might not exactly be the cheapest or shortest route to producing a video.
You can see some of their work here.
CommonCraft is similar to Sellamotion, but here, you tell your story with the help of paper cutouts and props instead of the whiteboard sketches. This can give you more versatility and visual appeal. It’s a great way to translate a complex idea into simple and interesting videos that stand out. CommonCraft videos can keep your audience glued to the screen (and on your page longer).
Plans start at $49 a year, but you’ll need to buy the $99 plan in order to be able to download or embed the videos that you create.
HaikuDeck is a great tool for creating compelling slideshow presentations that you can distribute through multiple channels. It gives you plenty of attractive layouts, stunning images, and bold fonts to play with. You can build delightful presentations pretty quickly; however, if your slides are really detailed, HaikuDeck may not be able to handle all the text. With that said, it’s a wonderful way of telling your brand stories and making your presentations stand out from the stock PowerPoint slideshows.
The website offers plenty of sample presentations that you can draw inspiration from. When they are ready, you can download or share your presentations via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or email. You can also embed them directly into your webpage, just as I did with the following sample slideshow.
10-Minute Content Marketing Miracles – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
These are just some of the tools that can make your visual content deliver the “wow” effect. Of course, there’s Instagram, Vine, Windows Movie Maker, YouTube Video Editor, and plenty of other free and paid tools that you can use for taking your static and dynamic visual content into a different dimension. Most of these tools come with easy tutorials, but they tell you little about your customers, their needs, and the type of content that they’d love. Tools still haven’t replaced the marketer, at least completely!