In the world of PR and marketing, visuals rule.
You can boost interest and engagement with your social media and blog posts by adding compelling images and infographics to them—or basing entire marketing messages on visuals that you craft around the subject matter.
There are many paid tools that brand managers can use to produce images, infographics and videos—and some organizations and agencies employ designers or design teams—but there are also several resources available to communicators with a limited budget but big aspirations.
Consider these free tools to craft images, infographics and more:
BeFunky is an infographic tool that offers templates you can personalize by adding images and text, as well as tweaking the template’s colors and layout. The tool boasts “hundreds of design elements” and more than a million free stock photos via Pixabay.
It also offers users a photo editor and collage maker, if you want to ensure the images you’re using are up to snuff or want to create more than an infographic for you next campaign. Along with tools, BeFunky also offers blog posts that walk you through essential elements of crafting visuals, such as steps to follow for editing images.
[FREE GUIDE: Your essential audit checklist]
Canva is many communicators’ go-to resource for creating visuals for social media and other digital marketing and PR efforts. Though it has a “Canva for Work” membership that enables paid users to save brand colors, logos and fonts as well as collaborate with co-workers, many of Canva’s outstanding features are available for free.
Create an image using free backgrounds or your own uploaded photos (alternatively, you can pay a small fee for individual premium design elements or images). You can set custom dimensions or craft a design from one of the tool’s many templates, including Facebook covers, Instagram posts, blog banners, YouTube thumbnails, LinkedIn banners and Facebook ads. Canva also offers infographic templates.
3. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is another free image creator and editor that can help you craft PR and marketing messages to share across online channels. The resource is divided into three parts: Spark Post, which enables you to create images; Spark Page, to help you visualize your stories on web pages; and Spark Video, which helps you to produce enticing video storytelling efforts. Along with its features, the resource also offers blog posts with tips to better engage audiences and an inspiration gallery with user-generated images.
You can use the tool for free to create images, videos and web pages, but you can also pay $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year to upgrade to Adobe Spark’s premium membership. That lets you replace its logo with your own, get personalize branded templates and themes and set both fonts and colors for your organization, no matter what you create.
Visme is an infographic tool that simplifies the process by offering templates and “ready-made blocks” of graphs, charts and tables, which you can edit and then drag and drop to customize a multitude of projects. You can also create presentations, online images and more. Visme offers analytics on each infographic you create, including viewer location and device as well as engagement statistics.
Use the resource to build compelling infographics that can include videos, audio clips and other interactive elements such as maps, surveys, polls and animations. You can also use it to visualize data (importing your own numbers or connecting to live data). The free plan enables you to create up to three projects each month and limited templates, charts and widgets. Plans with additional features start at $10 per month.
Easel.ly is an infographic tool that offers many templates (it boasts that new templates are released each month), as well as stock photos and resources for charts. Users can also upload personal fonts and artwork. Browse the community’s collection of infographics to glean ideas before you create one of your own.
Though Easel.ly offers a pro account for $36 per year (that’s just $3 each month), you can use the tool for free and access 10 templates, 60 images, 25 stock photos , 10 fonts and 4 charts.
Google Charts offers an easy and free way to create interactive charts for both desktop and mobile devices. The free tool offers a plethora of charts that include bar, bubble and tree charts as well as histograms, which you can then embed on your website.
Each chart can be customized and is interactive, incorporating real-time data. Because the tool offers so many ways to visualize your data, Google also offers an in-depth guide to using its resource as well as a forum where you can talk to other users to answer questions and gain inspiration.
Gifs enables users to create GIFs from a video URL, including YouTube, Vine and Instagram. The tool also enables you to make animated GIF stickers, embed GIFs and create personalized GIFs for email and other marketing campaigns. You can select an entire video, or a short portion of it, and also add captions and other effects, such as stickers or blur effects.
GIFs can be a great way to spice up your content, whether it’s through social media posts (many platforms are integrated with Giphy), your organization’s blog or online newsroom.
QuotesCover is an easy tool that enables you to create images from captivating quotes—or place quotes on your images to share across social media platforms. You can upload a quote (the tool offers space for both the quote and citation) or find a collection of quotes organized by topics.
Pairing an inspirational quote with an image can boost engagement and help you better connect with your audience. You can start here with 15 quotes for communicators.
Slideshare can help you put your thoughts and expertise into easily shared presentations that you can distribute across online channels. A break from traditional infographics or social media images can be a welcome change to the multitude of videos and images online—and a slide deck can be a more effective way of reaching B2B audiences. Have you recently presented a topic that could garner more clicks and potential leads online? Upload your slides and share your knowledge on LinkedIn and beyond.
The resource is powered by LinkedIn Learning, which offers courses and content from Lynda.com on subjects such as presentations and PowerPoint. You can try it out free for one month, or check out daily top SlideShares on a multitude of subjects.
10. 1001 Free Fonts
As the name suggests, 1001 Free Fonts offers many typefaces, which you can use free of charge (though some typefaces are only free for personal use, and all give you the opportunity to donate to the designer).
Punch up your infographic or blog post visual with a typeface that expresses the theme or mood of your content—without having to hire a designer.
What tools would you add to the list?