I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of software options out there in the marketing universe. Whenever I search for a new tool, I’m confronted with a flood of search results from companies all claiming to have the best, easiest, coolest, [insert superlative here] option to help me achieve my goals.
I’ve found that tools for visual content creation especially challenging to track down. There are a ton of programs, but not all of them are easy enough for design n00bs to use. I can do simple layouts in InDesign and graphics work in Photoshop, but I’m by no means an artist. And yet I have to create visuals all the time for my content program.
For those marketers in a similar predicament, I wanted to share a few tools that are easy to use and provide great results.
Custom Image Creation Tools
PicMonkey is a super simple cloud-based editor that makes it easy to create customized, on-brand images for social media and your blog. For marketers without any design experience in Photoshop or Illustrator, their simple editing panel is very intuitive and easy to use.
Canva is everyone’s image creation darling right now for a reason: It’s easy to use, affordable, and has a huge library of photo options available so you can curate, customize, and export all from one platform.
Pablo, the free social media image creation tool from Buffer, is dead simple to use. Just pick a photo (or upload your own), apply a few effects, choose which networks you’re creating content for, and add some text. You can even use a quote from Pablo’s quote generator without having to research your own.
Screen Recording Tools
It’s true that QuickTime doesn’t have any fancy editing capabilities. But if you just need to create a simple how-to walkthrough video or a quick intro for a new blog series, QuickTime does the trick.
This freemium Mac screen recording tool provides a bit more sophistication than QuickTime. Not only can you create recording presets, but you can also include a talking head narrator, stitch clips together, create time lapses, and record audio separately.
GIF Creation Tools
Flixel is an awesome tool for creating cinemagraphs (e.g., images with one isolated animated portion). It’s easy to isolate still frames and apply effects to create the exact subtly-animated GIF of your dreams. The final output is pretty magical—think moving portraits from Hogwarts!
GifMaker is one of my favorite tools for creating a GIF out of still images. Just upload your files, put them in order, select your animation speed and output preferences, and export. It’s great for blogs, email, social media, and other use cases where you don’t need a super high quality final file.
CloudConvert is my go-to GIF tool for converting video clips into GIFs, but you can use it to convert a variety of files into other file types.
Interactive Content Tools
Admittedly, this one is a bit self-interested. But even before I started working at Ceros, I fell in love with the beautiful interactive content that people are creating with it. The platform gives full creative control to the marketer and his or her design team, eliminating the need for custom coding or agency contracts. Plus, if you’ve ever worked in InDesign or Photoshop, you’ll feel right at home in the tool.
I’m crushing so hard on Rapt Media’s interactive video creator. Their builder empower marketers to provide a truly personalized, choose-your-own-adventure style viewing experience that keeps people engaged. Plus, they have one of the best marketing demo videos I’ve ever seen. No joke—you will literally laugh out loud if you watch it.
The Bottom Line
There are a ton of marketing tools out there for visual content creation. These are the ones I’ve used in my career as a marketer without any serious design training, and I’d recommend them to other content creators who are in the same boat.
Before you go: Tell me what your favorite visual marketing tool is in the comments!