Visual content is in high demand. Just about every piece of content you create can be enhanced by some kind of visual element.
And in social media, visuals pretty much make or break your presence. In fact, according to Buffer, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets. And if you need any more evidence to convince you visuals are essential to your content 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?
Luckily, over the past couple years, we've been on a mission at HubSpot 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 built for software you probably already have on your computer: PowerPoint.
I'm going to walk you through all the visual content marketing templates we have available for free to download, and show you how we've used them ourselves to create awesome visuals right in PowerPoint.
All the Templates You Need for Visual Content Design
5 Pre-Sized Social Media Cover Photo Templates (Download Here)
As you now know, social media is where visual content thrives. So to get started, you'll want to make sure your business' social media accounts are optimized with attractive cover photos. This first download includes five pre-sized PowerPoint templates to help you create customized social media cover photos for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube using the right cover photo dimensions.
In fact, we frequently use PowerPoint to create HubSpot's own Facebook cover photos. Here's an example of one of our former cover photos that was used to promote our free stock photos, which coincidentally, we'll cover later in this post.
10 Infographic Templates (Download Here)
When you think about visual content and marketing, what's the first thing you think of? I bet many of you think of infographics. 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 10 customizable infographic templates, which can help you cut back on the time, effort (and yes, skill) required for infographic creation.
There are 10 infographic styles to choose from, and each is completely customizable. And because all you need is a little PowerPoint know-how (don't worry -- the download also offers some basic PowerPoint tips) 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, 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.
5 SlideShare Presentation Templates (Download Here)
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 is for sharing slideshows. In fact, we've found that posts with embedded SlideShare presentations 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 content that is best presented in a visual way -- like quick tips or best practices, data, visual examples, or content that tells a story. But like so many other forms of visual content, SlideShare creation does take time and skill. That's why if you grab one of our five SlideShare designs and plug in 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 is an example of a SlideShare presentation we created from scratch using PowerPoint, whose contents also provide some helpful tips for using stock photos in your visual content. Lucky for you, we're about to throw some free stock photos your way, too ;-)
3 PowerPoint Presentation Templates (Download Here)
What about if you're creating a slide deck that's not necessarily meant for SlideShare? Maybe it's for an internal presentation you're giving to share the results of a project you did, a deck to report on your monthly marketing metrics, or some slides for an upcoming speaking gig you have.
We have a few general PowerPoint templates available for download as well -- which also comes with a series of three videos to teach you some basic PowerPoint creation tips, including how to install new fonts, how to add an image as a background, and how to remove the background of an image.
550+ Royalty-Free Stock Photos (Download Below)
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 completely 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, or anywhere else without any worries about attribution or copyright infringement.
We have four collections of stock photos available to download:
Here's a preview of some of the photos from our most recently released collection of assorted stock photos ...
To customize these images, simply plop them into PowerPoint and work your magic: write captions, crop them, add thought bubbles, remove backgrounds, etc. Check out the following example of how we took one of our stock photos and made it our own by adding a screenshot to the laptop screen:
Download your free stock photos: 80 Assorted Photos | 75 More Assorted Photos | 160 Business-Themed Photos | 250 Holiday-Themed Photos
(Then read this post for more ideas about how to use them in your visual marketing collateral).
50 Customizable Calls-to-Action (Download Here)
Of all the templates on this list, this one is probably the most utilitarian. After all, CTAs are pretty darn essential for lead generation, and lead generation is one of the most important goals for many marketers. But there's also no denying that CTAs still require some design skill. Luckily, this template download offers 50 customizable CTAs in -- you guessed it -- PowerPoint! Here's one I created from scratch in PowerPoint to promote a demo of our Social Inbox app:
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.
18 Ebook Templates (Download Here and Here)
... because your ebooks deserve to look better than a 10-page chunk of text in Microsoft Word. We started out by building 5 free ebook templates, and then recently added 13 more, so you'll have plenty of professional-looking, attractive design options to choose from when you're creating your next ebook.
And if you need help with ebook creation in general, this post walks you through it step by step -- using one of our very own ebook templates.
60 Templates for Visual Social Media Content (Download Now)
Remember earlier in this post when we mentioned the fact that tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets? That's right -- visual content rules the roost in social networks. It makes perfect sense why: Just consider how much more prominently visual content gets displayed in social media feeds compared to text-based content. Here's an example on Twitter ...
Which tweet draws your eye? The one from Business Insider, right? Case in point.
But Twitter isn't the only social network where visual content will garner you more engagement. Socialbakers.com looked at the top 10% of posts made by more than 30,000 Facebook brand pages and found that Facebook posts with photos saw the most engagement -- accounting for a whopping 87% of total interactions.
So what can you do to make the content you post on 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 when you download the visual social media content templates -- much more visually stimulating than just a description and a link, right?
And here are a couple examples of visual social media content we've created for HubSpot's own Facebook Page -- right in PowerPoint!
Download your 60 free social media graphic templates. (Then check out this blog post to see how quick and easy it is to customize them).
While not a template, if you're just getting started with visual content marketing, you might also want to check out The Marketer's Crash Course in Visual Content Creation. Consider this the do-it-yourself (DIY) designer's handbook. This ebook not only explains why visual content marketing is important; it also runs through the types of visual content you can create, 10 best practices for DIY design, 23 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.
Ready to start creating awesome visual content quickly and on a budget? Get downloading -- then start creating!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.