Visual content is in high demand. Just about every type of content we marketers create can be enhanced by some kind of visual element.
And in social media? Visuals pretty much make or break your presence. In fact, photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more clickthroughs than the average post. And if you need more evidence to convince you visual content is essential to your marketing, just consider all these stats!
But honestly ... who's got time for all that? And I don't know about you, but I don't exactly have a degree in graphic design. Or the budget to hire someone who does. So, what's a design-impaired marketer to do?
(Short on time? Click here to download our collection of free content creation templates for awesome ebooks, social media graphics, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, and more!)
Luckily, over the past several months, we've been on a mission to make visual content creation much less of an obstacle for the average marketer. How, you ask? Templates, my friends ... templates. And what's great about these templates is they're all for software you probably have loaded onto your computer already: PowerPoint. And PowerPoint is such an accessible piece of software for non-designer folks like you and me. In fact, we use it all the time at HubSpot when we don't have a designer handy.
I'm going to walk you through the visual content templates we have available for free download, and show you how we've used them ourselves to create awesome visuals right in PowerPoint.
The Marketer's Crash Course in Visual Content Creation (+ 5 Social Media Cover Photo Templates)
Consider this the do-it-yourself (DIY) designer's handbook. This ebook not only explains why visual content is important for your marketing; it also runs through the types of visual content you can create, 10 best practices for DIY design, 20 free tools to help you with visual content creation, and a design evaluation checklist so you can ensure you're following all the DIY design best practices.
But wait -- there's more! The download also comes with five pre-sized PowerPoint templates to help you create social media cover photos for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube using the right dimensions.
In fact, HubSpot's current Facebook cover photo was created right in PowerPoint, too! Check it out:
As you can see, we're currently using our cover photo to promote one our 75 Free Stock Photos offer, which, coincidentally, we'll cover later in this post.
5 Infographic Templates
When you think about visual content as it pertains to marketing, what's the first thing you think of? I'd wager that many of you probably think of the infographic. The infographic is a great choice for visual content -- particularly for your blog -- since it can generate a lot of traffic, inbound links, and social shares. But man can it take a lot of time and skill to pull off! Enter our five infographic templates, which can help you cut back on the time, effort (and yes, skill) required for infographic creation.
There are five flavors of infographic templates to choose from, and each is completely customizable: one for creating a four-color infographic, one to convey statistics using alternating font sizes, one to create a data-comparison infographic, one for creating a Pinterest-inspired tiled infographic, and one pretty basic, free-form option.
Because all you need is a little PowerPoint know-how (don't worry -- the download also provides some basic PowerPoint tips, too) and the content to plug into them, these templates will severely cut back on the time, effort, and design-savvy necessary for infographic creation. In fact, just the other day, I used one of these templates to create a brand new infographic in under an hour. Check out the before/after, and what I did to create it, in this blog post.
Another great option for creating visual blog content is SlideShare. SlideShare is a site that allows you to upload files that people can view, share, and embed. It's most typical use case is for slideshows specifically. In fact, we've found that posts with embedded SlideShares generate an average of 34% more views and 29% more inbound links than the average non-SlideShare post on this very blog.
SlideShare presentations are great for showcasing content that is best presented in a more visual way -- like tips, best practices, data, visual examples, and content that tells a story. And like so many other forms of visual content, SlideShare creation can take time and skill. But if you grab our SlideShare template and take some content (like a blog post) you've already created, you'll make things much easier on yourself -- and shave off valuable content creation time, too!
Here are a few examples of SlideShare posts we created in PowerPoint:
- Timeless Marketing Wisdom From David Ogilvy
- What Would Steve Do? 10 Lessons From the World's Most Captivating Presenters
- 86 Revealing Charts From the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report
60 Shareable Social Media Graphic Templates
Remember earlier in this post when we mentioned the fact that photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more clickthroughs than the average post? That's right -- visual content rules the roost in social media land. It makes perfect sense. Just consider how much more prominently photos (see example at right) get displayed in the News Feed and on your Timeline compared to other types of Facebook posts like links and text-based content (see examples at left):
Facebook isn't the only social network where visual content will garner you more engagement, though. When images are added to tweets, you'll get a major lift in clicks, retweets, favorites, and conversions.
So what can you do to make the content you post to Facebook, Twitter, and all other social networks more visual? Lots of things, it turns out! Here's just a smattering of options you'll get with the shareable social media images template download (much more visually stimulating than a description and a link, right?):
And here are a couple examples of visual social media content we've created for our own Facebook Page -- right in PowerPoint!
75 Free Stock Photos
Okay, so this is the one resource on our list that isn't exactly a template. However, you can (and should) absolutely remix and customize these free stock photos in PowerPoint. These are 75 free images you can use in your marketing campaigns -- no royalties or fees whatsoever. Use them on your website, on your blog, in your emails, in social media, wherever, without any worries about attribution or copyright infringement.
To customize these images, simply plop them into PowerPoint and work your magic: write captions, crop them, add thought bubbles, etc. Check out this example of how we took one of these stock photos and made it our own by adding a screenshot to the laptop screen:
27 Customizable Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Of all the templates on this list, this last one is probably the most utilitarian. After all, CTAs are pretty darn essential for lead generation, and lead generation is one of the core functions of many marketers. But there's also no denying that CTAs still require some design skills. Luckily, our last template download offers 27 customizable CTAs in -- you guessed it -- PowerPoint! Here's one I created from scratch in PowerPoint to promote a demo of our new Social Inbox tool:
And if you want more inspiration (and proof) about just how professional-looking you can make CTAs in PowerPoint, check out this blog post featuring seven big-brand CTAs recreated in PowerPoint. It's life changing.
Ready to start creating awesome visual content quickly and on a budget? Get downloading, and then get creating!