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Best Tools to Create Visual Content for Web and Social Media

Effective communicators use visually-driven messages to drive audience engagement
December 14, 2016
Digital Tools
Remember that time you scrolled through your Facebook feed and the post that was a paragraph of text really jumped out at you? Or that time you visited a webpage  that was mostly text and thought, “Wow, it’s so easy and fast to process this information!”?
Yeah, me neither. Because that doesn’t happen. Humans are drawn to light, movement and things that stand out from their surroundings. Effective communicators use visually-driven messages to drive audience engagement by tapping into that primordial urge.
Here are just a few reasons your content needs to be visually engaging:
A couple stats to back that up:
Ok, I made up the part about cats, but the rest of that is real.
The point is that graphic-driven content gets supporters’, advocates’ and donors’ attention – blocks of text don’t. 
The challenges in achieving that usually are lack of an in-house graphic designer and/or low to no budget for creative executions. To address those challenges, we recommend a handful of free or low-cost tools that will help you create great-looking visual content. (And I should know. Though I’m not a graphic designer, I made the two graphics above for free and in around five minutes each.)
This free photo editing platform offers filters, image color adjustment, text overlay, symbols and designs, collage making, cropping, resizing and more.
This web app offers more in-depth photo editing with layers and other Photoshop-like capabilities.
Canva is a free graphic design platform with ready-to-go templates for multiple types of graphics – from social media profile assets to blog post graphics and more. It’s a perfect tool to use instead of Adobe Illustrator (because who knows how to use that anyway?).
For whatever reason, kids and grown-ups alike love communicating with emojis. Using them in your organization’s communications makes your brand relatable. EmojiOne offers free browser plugins so you can use emojis in social media posts.
Data is significantly easier to process when it’s presented in a clear-cut visual manner. Infogram allows you to create engaging visualizations of your data in the form of charts and infographics.
Ripl (only available in iTunes App Store)
Animated graphics (i.e., videos) can really up your organization’s game on social media because they catch the user’s eye, driving more engagement. Free tools for animating text, images and graphics are still hard to come by, but Ripl provides just that. It’s a free app that allows you to create animated graphics for most social media channels – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
With these free (or cheap) and easy-to-use tools for creating visually engaging content for your website, social media, email and other needs, you are fully equipped to raise the bar for your organization’s digital media content.
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