I’ll admit it – I tend to be a cheapo when it comes to most things in my business. I will buy the generic over the name brand any day. And if I can find some free online best content creation tools for winning visual content, something I’d otherwise have to pay for in my marketing, you guessed it, I’ll do it.
In my quest to find alternatives to the most sophisticated computer apps, I’ve come across a lot of free tools that help take my marketing up a notch. They also save my team’s budget.
I love to share my research, and I wanted to share these tools with you. There will be some occasions where you won’t be able to avoid paying for some tools you need to rock your job.
However, lots of times you can increase the quality of your visual content with just a free resource.
But you have to know the free tool is out there in the first place. So without any further ado, let’s get to the meat of the post. That is the most important free tools you can use to create winning visual content.
Some may believe that designing in PowerPoint isn’t professional. I am not one of them.
I like to think of it as a visual content testing ground for people who don’t have the budget or time to work with Photoshop.
That way, you don’t have to drop a lot of money for a complex program, only to not get your money’s worth.
One of the most important elements of design is your color palette. Here you want to make sure your images, graphics, and font colors all help convey your message.
Maybe even drive conversions.
But often, it’s hard to find that exact shade of blue that’s in a photograph you need to use. That is where Pictaculous comes in.
Upload a photo and then instantly get recommendations for colors to use, including their respective HEX codes. Your color palettes will never be uncoordinated again!
Taking screenshots can be annoying if you don’t have the right tool up your sleeve. Often, you can only capture what is visible on your screen. That makes screenshots of long web pages especially grueling.
Or, you have to use 20 different programs to crop, edit, and annotate screenshots.
Well, with Awesome Screenshot, a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome, you can easily screenshot anything on the web and edit it directly within your browser.
This extension has become a staple of my browser — I can’t go back to regular old screenshots anymore.
Even if you have the tool to create a gorgeous screenshot, that’s not always the most professional way to display web page content.
Sometimes, you need a photo of your website, blog, or Twitter profile, but with polished flair. You can try manually customizing your screenshot to fit into a stock photo you already have.
Or you can use PlaceIt as an even better alternative. Upload photos directly into Creative Commons-enabled stock photos, and you’ll see your screenshots come to life immediately.
PlaceIt is probably the best app anyone running an online business could ask for. It allows you to create high-quality images featuring your app or product being used in real life.
All you have to do is upload a screenshot of your product and let the tool do its magic. It will save you countless hours because it does this automatically for you.
This would otherwise take hours of work in Photoshop.
Share as Image enables you to create some potent eye candy for your blog. You can turn any text or image into attractive and shareable content in minutes.
This is due to a wide variety of fonts, high-quality photos, and filters offered by the app itself.
There is nothing like some custom images to help you dazzle your audience.
BeFunky is a multi-functional image editor which allows you to produce beautiful visual content. This is particularly true even if image-editing and graphic design aren’t one of your stronger suits.
Its functionality is not limited to just creating images, though. You can come up with striking collages and your very own custom graphic designs.
Best of all, it is browser-based so that you can access it anywhere, anytime.
Okay, let’s say you don’t have the budget for Photoshop and feel somewhat limited by PowerPoint’s visual editing capabilities. Now what?
What are you to do? If you want to spruce up your images, such as recolor them, add borders, add text, and even insert graphics on top, check out PicMonkey.
The good news is that you can do it all without downloading yet another program to your computer. The whole photo editing process is intuitive.
This means you can spend more time optimizing your blog posts instead of sprucing up its featured images.
If you’re looking for a Creative Commons image, but are finding terrible options through its native search engine, check out Compfight.
While it often surfaces similar content, I spend half the time looking for engaging Creative Commons images than with the native search tool.
Why? This is because Compfight’s algorithm seems to sort gorgeous images right to the top. A bonus for you.
You never have to worry about correct attribution again. This is because Compfight will automatically generate HTML code you can embed on your website to properly credit the original author.
If you’re looking for more “do whatever you want” photos with scenery or inanimate object tilt, check out Unsplash.
Just like our stock photos, no attribution is needed with Unsplash. The pictures speak for themselves — so go check out the website for more.
If you’re looking to make interactive infographics and not just plain visuals, check out this free tool. Easily add graphs, maps, text, and even playable videos without diving deep into a design program.
It also has social sharing tools built right into the infographic, so you don’t have to worry about creating a custom Pin-It button.
It’s a pretty nifty tool if you want to create and ship an infographic — fast.
Say goodbye to your weird Microsoft Paint drawings and say hello to polished, professional Google Drawings.
If you have a personal Gmail or your company uses Google Apps, you can use Google Drawings to create custom visual content. One of my favorite features about it is that it comes with an invisible background right off the bat.
This helps so you can create custom shapes that can easily be pasted on top of your other marketing collateral.
It is the perfect way to spruce up an updated ebook call-to-action or even customize a stock photo.
And the best part of all is that you can collaborate with your co-workers on the drawing by sharing the document, just like you would any other Google Document.
Content creation tools … put filters on your images
The foremost stage of making the any Instagram account a successful platform for marketing is to describe your company’s objectives.
The images you upload are a strong replication of your business. They deliver the desired effect to your target market by creating an emotional affiliation with your customers.
It is necessary that your photos have a cohesive approach which integrates with your brand or product.
A Color Story is the tool that can assist you in this. This tool makes it much easier to tune the pictures and give them a professional texture.
Content creation tools … repost and share others’ posts
If you want to get a good Instagram feed, it is necessary to make a sharing, supporting, and appealing community there. It is one the finest things to do for making your business competent.
If you want to integrate with and get support from your Instagram audience, it is important to reciprocate your content, and you should remain very engaged.
Make sure you are sharing the content in a way that can create a strong relationship with your followers.
There is a tool, “Repost for Instagram,” available for both Android and iOS platforms which makes it much easier to repost the Instagram pictures.
Reposting to your feed while sharing the content and giving credits to other users.
The bottom line
For social analysts with general needs, there might not be a clear, must-use option. But as your focus grows more specific, some graphics tools should emerge as favorites.
Use this list as a guide — you’re sure to find a social media design tool that works with the platforms you value and delivers the information you need.
What are your go-to resources for creating beautiful infographics? Let us know in the comments.
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Mike Schoultz is a digital marketing and customer service expert. With 48 years of business experience, he consults on and writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business
13 Best Content Creation Tools to Save Time in Visual Design