Visual content is in high demand. Just about every piece of content you create can be enhanced by some kind of visual element. In fact, content with relevant images gets a whopping 94% more views than content without relevant images.
And in social media, visuals pretty much make or break your presence. According to Buffer, visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. 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.
You know how I said before that visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content? That's right: Visual content rules the roost in social networks. On Twitter, for example, early research into visuals for the Buffer Twitter account revealed that tweets with photos earned 150% more retweets and 18% more clicks than tweets without images.
It makes perfect sense why: Just consider how much more prominently visual content gets displayed in social media feeds compared to text-based content. Of the two tweets below from Taco Bell, which one draws your eye more quickly?
Cooking Rule: If at first you don't succeed, get Taco Bell.
But Twitter isn't the only social network where visual content will garner you more engagement. In an analysis of one billion Facebook posts from three million brands globally, BuzzSumo found that the post formats that get the most engagement are questions and images.
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?
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 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 (we'll cover that later in this post).
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. After all, infographics are Liked or shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content.But man, can it take a lot of time and skill to pull off.
Enter our 15 customizable infographic templates, which can help you cut back on the time, effort (and, yes, skill) required for infographic creation.
There are 15 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 skills necessary for infographic creation.
In fact, my colleague Lindsay used one of these templates to create a brand new infographic in under an hour. Read this blog post to see the before/after, and what she did to create it.
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.
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.
Below is an example of a SlideShare presentation we created from scratch using PowerPoint. The contents of this presentation 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 ;-).
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 four videos to teach you some basic PowerPoint creation tips, including how to enhance images, how to clean up your text, and how install premium fonts -- all right in PowerPoint.
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 our data hub, HubSpot Research.
... because your ebooks deserve to look better than a 10-page chunk of text in Microsoft Word. We started out by building five free ebook templates, and then more recently added 13 additional templates -- so you'll have plenty of professional-looking, attractive design options to choose from when you're creating your next ebook.
It can be hard to find the time and resources to create a cohesive set of campaign visuals, from Twitter graphics, to blog images, to email header images. That's why we partnered with Canva to put together the ultimate set of 195+ design templates for every visual marketing need, including infographic templates, social media templates for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, email header templates, blog featured image templates, and more.
These design templates are easy-to-use, work for any industry (finance, dentistry, agriculture, law... we've got 'em all), and are completely free. For each template, you'll find 10 visual design types and multiple themes that are carried through each design type -- making it easy for you to quickly spin up a visual marketing campaign across multiple channels.
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:
To customize these images, simply plop them into PowerPoint and work your magic: Write captions, crop them, add thought bubbles, remove backgrounds, and so on. 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:
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: It not only explains why visual content marketing is important, but 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.
Originally published Jun 8, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017