3 tools to support your visual content marketing

2015 is the year of visual content marketing. A big reason why is the explosive growth of visual social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine. These networks allow for the distribution and sharing of a wide array of visual content, including slides, photos, videos, charts, infographics, and more.

Instagram has exploded in popularity, with more than 300 million monthly active users posting videos and photos while interacting and engaging with other consumers as well as brands. Pinterest has seen its own success, with Pew Internet reporting that 42% of women online are actively creating boards, pinning and repinning visual assets, and engaging with brands. Vine, a short-form mobile video tool created by Twitter, has seen its own popularity skyrocket, especially among younger demographic groups.

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is now even more true. As broadband, wireless, and smartphone networks have leapt ahead, consumers are increasingly expecting visual displays of content to engage their shorter attention spans and accelerate their information processing. Beyond being visual content consumers, they’ve been contributing to the visual content ecosystem with their own creations distributed through social media.

Twenty-five years ago, Adobe saw an opportunity in the visual creation space when it launched Photoshop. The sophisticated photo-manipulation tool has now gone through 15 major releases and continues to be a leader in visual content creation.

To celebrate Photoshop’s 25th anniversary, Adobe held a contest to find 25 of the most creative designers under 25, and the winners earned an opportunity to have their images showcased on the Photoshop Instagram stream for a week. One of the artists, Fredy Santiago, is showcased below.

While Photoshop still plays a major role for the professional visual creator and editor, today we are seeing the creation of visual content with online and mobile self-service tools that have enabled small businesses and individuals to quickly create visual content, including word clouds, visual quotes, infographics, stylized photos, charts, videos, and more.

While the role of a good designer is not to be denigrated, the opportunity to be part of the message development, design, and creation process has democratized visual content creation with an ever-expanding set of free to low-cost tools supporting your marketing strategies.


Canva is a visual photo-editing site with free and fee features that can help you easily create visuals for social media and the Web. It has a sizing tool that lets you create header and other images sized specifically to the social media you are pursuing. For example, it has an Instagram-sized canvas that allows you to create messages with its free templates or to purchase more customized versions to share on Instagram. I created and posted the Instagram message below on Canva.




Creately is a visual diagramming tool that allows you to create flowcharts, organization charts, mind maps, website maps, and a range of other diagramming outputs. It has thousands of templates and an easy-to-use online creation tool with a range of shapes and connectors to build your diagrams. You can find out more about Creately in the video below.


Piktochart is an infographic-creation tool with easy-to-use drag-and-drop editing and creation tools. It also allows you to import data via xlx, xlxx, csv, or Google spreadsheets. Once created, the infographic can be output as a .png or .jpg and can be embedded into a website using created embed code as seen below:



ref.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ref);


The functionality of these online tools continues to expand, with increasing numbers of users generating additional demands.

Looking for other visual content tools?

I’ve been curating a list of other visual content creation and management tools. You can check out my List.ly list below:

If you have suggestions for additions to the list, I’d love to have them. Please email me with the information.

You can find out more about social and digital marketing strategies and tactics by adding me to your circles at my Google+ page, following me on Twitter @theWebChef, or following my boards on Pinterest.

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.