Even with the best content marketing intentions, it can be tough to produce the kind of engaging stuff that gets results. As users become increasingly demanding, the cost of producing content that grabs their attention quickly spirals out of control.
Luckily, there are a growing number of online platforms you can use to cut out much of the cost and production time. Here are sixteen tools to supercharge your content marketing strategy.
Free images, no attribution required
At the very least, you need a good supply of images to give your articles and social posts some visual appeal. So check out these places where you can get free images for commercial use with no need to attribute. Your welcome!
Pixabay is an incredible place to get free images for commercial use. You can search for images or browse the categories to narrow down your selection and almost every resource requires no attribution whatsoever (check each time just to be safe). You can also get free stock videos from here, too, which is makes it a great resource.
Magdeleine isn’t quite as easy to navigate and use as Pixabay, but it’s a good alternative if you can’t find what you’re looking for. You’ll want to select “CC0 – Public Domain” from the Explore menu to select images that don’t need attribution (unless you’re happy to give credit, of course) but the quality of images is impressive.
The Pattern Library
Rather than a place to source images, The Pattern Library is a free resource for background patterns (go figure). What you can do, though, is use them as background for your own custom images. Chuck in a text overlay using Photoshop (or alternative software) and you’ve got free feature images for your blog posts.
Create your own graphics online
One of the best developments in technology for content marketers has been the emergence of online graphics applications. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create visual content anymore and here are four of the top players in online graphics apps.
Desygner is one of the most feature rich online graphics applications but it doesn’t go so far as to make itself complicated. You can knock up visuals for your blog content, social media posts, email marketing efforts and everything else you need. More importantly, you can do it quickly and without any fuss. Best of all, it’s absolutely free to sign up.
Snappa is very similar to Desygner, except it comes with two different account types. The first is free, although it comes with some limitations, and the Pro account gives you unlimited access for $10/month. All you need to do is compare the free version with Desygner, see which one you prefer and consider whether it’s worth paying $10/month for Snappa. Simple!
Canva was kind of the leader in this field when graphics apps first hit the scene. It’s a great free option and super-quick for knocking up simple graphics. The end result is very much similar to Desygner and Snappa, although it doesn’t quite match in terms of features.
Visage is by far the most feature rich of these graphics tools, offering data insights and custom designs from pro designers on its most premium package. This is geared towards full marketing teams and agencies that want to create a lot of visual content quickly. There is a free version, although it’s highly restricted. Paid versions start at $9 per month for one user, all the way up to $99 for 15 users. Finally the custom package (with data integrations and custom designs) is priced on application.
Create your own videos without the expensive studio time
With the rise of video content quickly followed the release of online apps to make the process faster and more cost-effective. There are now a number of affordable platforms that can help you produce in-house video content. Not quite to the same standard as a studio production, of course, but a good entry point into video content.
Animoto lets you combine video footage and images with animations to create custom videos quickly. If you don’t have your own footage, you can even use images and editing effects to create the illusion of moving video. Prices start at $8/month and there are packages for $22 and $32/month, too. It’s a pretty impressive platform – especially at those prices.
WeVideo is a direct competitor to Animoto although it’s geared more towards people who have used editing software before. A key difference is your projects are all stored in the cloud meaning you can pick up and go from pretty much any of your devices – including mobile and tablet. There’s a free version and paid packages start from a $9 one-time fee up to $69 per year.
Filmora is a step closer to professional video editing suites with a great range of editing features and effects. The user interface is an absolute dream to work with, too. It’s a genuine pleasure to use. Unlike the other options we’ve looked at today, this is a native application, meaning you have to download and run it on your computer. There’s a free version and a yearly subscription for $34/year, or you can get lifetime access starting from $49.99 per user.
Make infographics without the fuss
One of the biggest trends in visual content has been the rise of infographics. Now even the longest, most data-driven report can be turned into a piece of visual content that engages users – an absolute godsend for B2B firms that once struggled publish anything but text. And now you don’t even have to be a graphic designer to produce them.
Piktochart has quickly established itself as the biggest name in online infographics software. With over 400 templates ready to get you started (paid versions only) and enough features to create in-depth infographics from scratch, Piktochart speeds up the entire design process. You can sign up for a free life-time account and upgrade to paid plans for $15 or $29 per month if you need the extra features.
Infogram is like a hybrid platform for creating infographics and data visualisations rolled into one. It’s not quite as strong at the infographics side of things as Piktochart perhaps but goes the extra distance when it comes to creating graphs, charts and other data visuals. Prices start at $19/month and there are packages for $67 and $350 per month extra features and multiple users.
Easel.ly is a free online platform where you can create and share infographics all from within the browser. You can select templates and edit them to suit your needs or create your own. There’s also a Pro version which gives you access to hundreds more templates for just $3/month.
Turn your data into visual content
If data visualisations are important to your brand, then you many need more than infographic style designs. That’s no problem, though, because you’re well covered with these specialist data visualisation tools.
ChartBlocks is a sleek platform that creates data visualisations in perfect fitting with modern web design. These visuals won’t look out of place on web pages, infographics, social content or anything else that needs to visually engage as well as inform. You can get started for free and pay either $8, $20 or $65 per month if you need more features.
Raw is the ideal platform if you want to turn spreadsheet data into charts, graphs and other visual formats. All you have to do is copy and paste your data straight from Excel and select your format. They don’t look quite as naturally designed for the web as ChartBlock visuals, although that depends on the design style of your brand/content. It’s also completely free to use.
Tableau is another free platform that lets you punch in your data and get a visual representation in return. We’re not talking about an online platform this time, though – you’ll have to download Tableau on either Windows or Mac to use this tool. Again, it’s not designed with web trends in mind so it has a more academic look to its visuals than ChartBlocks’ infographic style.
If you can’t get a diverse content strategy off the ground with that list of tools and resources, then there must be something wrong. The hardest part will be choosing which platforms to go for but they all come with free versions/trials so be sure to check as many of them out as you can.