A large part of creating a great blog and engaging social media posts is having great content. If your company is creating useful, relevant content that your audience wants to see, share and interact with, you'll grow your audience, see more engagement and establish yourself as thought leaders in your field. Not to mention all the SEO benefits. Some of the best ways to create content are through images, videos, screencasts and webinars. If you don't have design skills, you might have been using MS Paint, Word or PowerPoint to create anything visual. Please, close Paint and take a look at our list of the best tools for content creation for 2014.
Canva: Let me tell you a secret. Although I have graphic design skills, I didn't use a fancy program to create the image above. I used Canva. While I do use photoshop and illustrator to create graphics, sometimes I need a quick yet tasteful image. This handy, web-based, drag-and-drop tool allows you to set dimensions, add various backgrounds, change colors, add icons, banners and more. I love Canva because I don't own nearly enough usable vector images like banners, arrows and speech bubbles. Canva has you covered. Resize and change the colors, add text, download. It's really that easy. Watch this video to learn more.
Adobe Products: If you already have or are willing to pay for Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign, you're probably accustomed to these products already or are on your way to learning them. These programs aren't exactly easy to master and will take a lot of time. If you're not planning on being a designer or regularly using these programs, it may not be worth the investment.
Pixlr or Pixelmator: These photoshop alternatives do not have all the features that Photoshop does, but they may be enough to meet your photo editing needs.
Vector Images: If you do use Adobe Products, a great place to find cheap but highly useful vector images is VectorStock. VectorStock has just about any type of icons and images you may need for creating great content.
With our short attention spans, infographics are becoming a great way to convey data and information. This content creation tactic will get your company more attention than that boring white paper.
infogr.am: Easily edit pre-made templates. Fill in your own data, and you're done. Free to share your created infographic but $18 per month to download.
Easel.ly: Like Canva but specifically for infographics. A drag and drop editor with many backgrounds, shapes, icons and more. You can watch a review of easel.ly here.
PowerPoint?: Some may cringe at the suggestion but you can really make some cool infographics using PowerPoint! Hubspot offers some infographic PowerPoint templates available to download here.
Find even more infographic creation tools here.
BeFunky Collage Maker: Looking for a way to change up your photo posts? While I could create collages in Photoshop, this collage maker is so quick I can't help but use it. Just upload your images, pick a layout, adjust the spacing and download!
PicMonkey: Another great place to create collages, as well as edit photos and do quick touch ups, is PicMonkey.
Free Hi-Res Stock Photos
Finding images for your company blog posts can be frustrating. It's a bad practice, and illegal, to use image that aren't free use (e.g. creative commons license) or without permission from the owner. Sometimes you can find gems but many times, creative commons images are low-res or simply low quality photos. You could buy stock images but good ones are probably out of your budget. Because we're always writing blog posts, we're constantly on the hunt for free, high quality stock images. Check out this list of places to find stock photos that don't suck. They're great for throwing some text, banners or other elements on top. Here are just a few hi-res, free stock images available from sources on the list. Pssst. I made this collage with BeFunky Collage Maker! >>
Quicktime: If you have a Mac, you already have a powerful screen recording tool and that is quicktime. Here's a tutorial on how to do it!
Screenflow: I've seen a lot of online marketers say they use ScreenFlow. I don't use it but here's a review.
CamStudio: Free, lightweight and easy to use, CamStudio is a great choice if you have a PC.
Find more screen recording software options here.
imovie: If you have a Mac, imovie comes stock and it's really easy to use. Your videos show up as thumbnails and you can easily cut, drag and drop clips to create your videos.
PC alternative?: If you have a pc, imovie is not available for you. There are some pc video editing alternative out there like Windows Movie Maker, Movavi Video Editor ($79). Find more alternatives here.
PicPlayPost: This cool app allows you to create video collages that play each video separately.
Easy Video Suite: At $394, Easy Video Suite is definitely an investment. This software has some really cool features like requiring a viewer to tweet out your video in order to keep watching. While I haven't used this product myself, here is an in-depth review so you can decide for yourself.
Instagram and Vine: While these may be thriving social networks, don't forget that each is a powerful video creation tool.
Wideo: For making videos with animated elements, Wideo is a great tool to use. Like Canva and Easel.ly, Wideo is also a drag and drop editor. Here are some of the types of videos you can create with Wideo. It's free to create a project with Wideo but it will say "Wideo" in the corner. If you want to download a Wideo, there is a small cost. Compared to paying someone to create an amazing animated video, the price is quite low. Check out their pricing here.
GoToWebinar: For live webinars, GoToWebinar is what the pros use. With a $468 per year price tag, you'll want to have a strategic plan when making that investment.
StealthSeminar: For $70 per month for up to 150 attendees, you can automate your webinars by prerecording them through Stealth Seminar. As you gain more attendees, you'll want to upgrade.
When you want to find content to post that isn't your own, it may seem hard to know where to start. Here are some sites to give you ideas and inspiration.
Storify: Collect media from twitter, facebook, instagram, arrange as a story, publish and embed. Share it and notify those involved, go viral! That's the concept behind storify. This is a great tool for newsjacking or for any type of newsworthy discussion happening online.
Research and Newsjacking: To find out what's trending or worth sharing check Search.Twitter.Com, Topsy, Google Trends, fre.sh.
Have I forgotten something essential? Let me know in the comments below and I'll add it!