Creating visuals for your blog and social media may seem daunting, but I'm going to break down some of the ways you can use visual marketing to leave your competition in the dust.
These tactics will use design programs and apps that are easily accessible to everyone, and you'll be able to learn how to use them. Instead of being overwhelmed by creating visual content, I will help you learn to love this part of your blog or social media tasks. Get ready to unleash your creativity and fire up your visual content!
Inspired by my recent webinar with Hubspot, I'm sharing the tools with links to make it easy for you to dig in and start creating. Or enjoy the visual presentation.
It would be best to start by creating your brand's style, including colors, fonts, and overall style for your designs. If you'd like to try it independently, here's a quick tutorial for building a brand style guide. If you're a blogger, your blog is your home base on the web, and everything else you do will be an extension of your blog's branded design.
When you create your blog design, you'll want to update all your social media cover photos and graphics to match. Having a cohesive style for your brand makes a memorable visual experience and helps your audience connect with you across the web.
If you need help with this process, hiring a professional designer to create your logo and a brand style guide would be a great way to spend your money.
It's essential to create something unique and not copy the style of another blog, brand, or social media personal brand that you love.Imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery when it comes to creating a style for your brand. Click To Tweet
You will not stand out; you will look like a jerk. Again, do you need help with design? Find someone to help you build your brand's style. Don't be a copycat.
Why create a visual brand?
A solid visual brand ties your content across social media platforms and helps people recognize your posts. One of my highest compliments on social media is when people say, “I saw a beautiful graphic and immediately knew that it was yours, so I had to read it.” People recognize my style of graphics, my signature pink circle logo in the corner, and know when they click through; they can trust my content to be worth their time.
That's WHY you spend the time to create a visual style.
It took me a long time to nail down the pieces of my current visual style. I started with a Pinterest board and pinned elements as I saw them and knew I'd want to find them later to include. I loved the big circles on this blog design and fell madly in love with the vintage typewriter image on my home page. I kept adding tiny little pieces until I was ready to work on a total rebranding for my blog and social media.
This process can also be helpful if you're working on a designer to create a brand, logo, and style guide for you. Working with a pro is great, but your brand needs to capture your essence.
Don't let someone else dictate your style and force a final design on you that you don't like. It won't grow on you. Trust me on that one. Sharing what you love with them will help the design process.
You should also have the option to get several rounds of designs in your creative process working with a designer. This doesn't mean you get unlimited changes; you may get two or three rounds total, so having an idea of what you'd like helps ensure you'll get a final design you love.
This new design is 100% me and what I love. It makes me happy to create designs that coordinate with it; I feel people get a great sense of who I am.
Collect visual pieces you love and combine them to create something you'll love!
Create your own branded imagesMake every image your masterpiece. Click To Tweet
While your image might not be the Mona Lisa, it can be branded with your signature look and feel.
Customize each image to inspire and delight your social media fans and followers.
Ask yourself how you can make your image funny, inspirational, more informative?
The four basic questions you must answer:
- What is it?
- How does it work?
- Who has it?
- How does it feel?
Make it a game. With every image you create, make certain you can answer each question.
When you create designs, add your logo and website address to your images. Adding this extra bit of flair helps people know it's yours, builds your brand recognition, and hopefully deters people from using it without permission.
More resources: How to Create Social Media Graphics that Pop
Tools to create your visual marketing
I've learned to use many online tools to improve the graphics I use on my blog, social media, and the work I do for clients. These are my favorite tools that help me the most:
Mac Book Pro, iPhone
Eye dropper tool – Free Chrome extension to grab the color code from photos.
Adobe Color (formerly Kuler) – fantastic for creating color palettes based on your brand colors or photos that you're working on.
Design apps for your tablet and smartphone
PS Express – quick and easy version of Photoshop for your phone.
Snapseed – fantastic photo editing.
Flipagram – create short videos from your photos on Instagram or Facebook or upload them into Flipagram. You can add a voiceover message or music within the app.
Facetune – Make your selfies extra fabulous.
Repix – get creative with the swipe of a finger, adding personal touches to transform your photos.
This post has all the sizes you need for social media: Quick Tips for Social Media Graphics
Where to find free images
It's not okay (or legal) to use any image you find on Google or the web. If you don’t have permission to use a photo or graphic, don’t use it. If you think you can't afford to purchase images or take the time to find ones you can use, can you afford an acceptable or legal fee for using illegal photos?
Use only images you can use for your blog and social media. Not sure what you can use? Please check out Oh Snap, Can I Legally Use That Photo.
1. Canva – free images are available
Stellar visual content creators
These people are some of my favorite creators. They all create unique and inspiring content consistently. Please check out their blogs and follow them on Pinterest for a steady stream of stellar visual marketing. You'll notice that each of them has created a unique and interesting visual brand. You can do it too!
Rebekah Radice of RebekahRadice.com and her Pinterest
Dustin Stout of Dustn.TV and his Pinterest
Are you following my Pinterest? You should!
I hope this post provided you with some inspiration for your visual marketing and how to create stunning images for your social media and blog. What are your favorite apps and tools to help you create images? I'd love to hear in the comments below!