There’s nothing like great content. I create it for work. I create it for fun. Crazy? Perhaps. Especially since creating good, visually appealing content is a huge challenge faced by many.
There is no rule that says you have to hire a pricey graphic designer in order to generate beautiful, design-rich content. Of course, design specialists are a great resource to have on a team – but, for many earlier-stage businesses, increased costs and headcount may not be ideal.
Luckily, a universe of tools exist that enable quick content creation for even the non-designers among us – whether it’s as simple as a quick meme or as elaborate as an ebook. Slim, bootstrapping teams could wear a designer hat and produce the rich content quickly and inexpensively by enlisting some of these fantastic content-producing tools:
Capture the moment with Skitch
Skitch is a great app that helps brands tell a visual story – and it’s free! Grab a quick screenshot on your device and mark it up with arrows, boxes, text and more. Skitch lets you mark up images, digital assets, PDFs, and other files with arrows, callout boxes, text, and more.
I find that at least once a day I use Skitch’s “Screen Snap” function to grab all or part of my screen for use in content. I don’t need to plug my captured image into another program for further cropping and other editing since the all-in-one features of Skitch enable me to do so right in their app. A great time saver and useful tool for supporting your talking points with a rich visual design.
Skitch is owned by Evernote but does not require an Evernote account to start using. Try it out and screengrab to your heart’s content.
Don’t use any old font, use Dafont
Sick of using Times and Ariel in your creative. Aren’t we all? Luckily, resources like Google Fonts, Font Squirrel and more offer a wealth of wonderfully designed, open-source fonts to add a little character to your characters.
I like Dafont for its abundance of options that range from general purpose to highly specialized. Each font is well-tagged so the site’s great search function could pull up just what you’re looking for. Simply download, install and use a desired font in graphics, presentations, ebooks and more – just make sure to check for any attribution requirements.
Pound out a quick infographic with Piktochart
There’s nothing like a good infographic to capture an audience and teach them something new. When it’s simple to create in just minutes and free, it’s all the more reason to inject them into a content strategy.
Piktochart is quick and simple for anyone to create professional-looking infographics, reports, banners, and presentations. An intuitive interface and simple drag-and-drop features help a designer-less team fake it until they make it.
Get instant access and “start creating in 30 seconds,” as the site’s homepage describes. Start yours from scratch, choose from customizable free templates or step up to Pro for some more options.
Along with the vast library of templates, you can find over four thousand graphics to really spruce things up, or get more custom and create your very own images. When generating visual creations to represent your brand, avoid a clunky MS Paint design and make them look professionally mastered at low commitment.
Become an author with Guides.co
Have what it takes to write an informative eBook but lack the design skill to bring into fruition? Guide.co offers the perfect solution.
We’ve all experienced the power of eBooks, in educating an audience, adding credibility and thought leadership status to a brand and capturing more qualified leads. But the more comprehensive the piece of content the more time and budget it consumes.
Guides.co provides a useful, plug-and-lay model to take on the burden creating an attractive body for your killer copy. Like Piktochart, Guides.co offers multiple templates to kick off your design – and easy-to-use customizing features help to guide your guide to fit your brand.
Guides.co even goes the extra mile and hosts your content on their site for the world to discover!
Get interactive and think ThingLink
ThingLink adds a totally new form to social media that brings life to your content. The tool makes interactive visual graphics easy to make and void of the premium price tag.
The site integrates with others like YouTube, SoundCloud, and Vimeo to pull in sounds and videos to add to your graphic.
Register for free or get a few other advantages with a membership – but you might not need to spend the extra cash. The tools basic features enable users to design quite rich, interactive videos and images to incorporate into a content marketing strategy.
Even better, once completed, ThingLink lets you tag your piece and share with your social network along with their own community. Interact with other creative ThingLink users for ideas, inspiration and feedback.
Go forth and design
Designing is not easy. Supplementing the talent of an experienced designer will save costs but could indeed reduce the effectiveness of a content strategy. However, since more basic content is better than no content at all, getting your engine running with intuitive and affordable tools is key. Helpful apps that enable the everyday entrepreneur or busy marketing generalist to design without breaking the bank or eating up your time is lifesaving.
Have any questions about improving your content strategy? Contact me!
Vince is a passionate digital marketing specialist with a track record of evangelizing technology to modernize business development and brand building in the startup through enterprise levels. Skilled in strategic data-driven campaign management, Vince focuses on demand generation programs that influence growth, including marketing automation, social media, digital advertising, search engine optimization, blogging, public relations, video and event marketing.? Vince is a well-established Twitter influencer under @vince_tech and Founder of Boom Digital, a boutique digital marketing agency specializing in supporting the growth of early-stage startup companies through social media, content marketing, and design.