These are the free image tools content marketers need
If you’re not enhancing content with images and graphics, you’re behind the times.
The problem is, creating imagery costs money: even if you have your own internal graphics staff, software licensing can cost a packet.
For maximum impact with imagery, engaging a content marketing agency offers excellent value for money (we’re happy to recommend one – ahem). But if you’re not yet at that point, these are some of the free image tools content marketers need.
Use them to get a quick, easy edge on your competitors.
For info-images and infographics
Canva is one of the most commonly used free image tools in content marketing – in fact, over 10 million people have an account! It’s a drag-and-drop photo editor with preset formats specially designed for social media, as well as additional presets for infographics, banners, posters, even presentations.
There are also thousands of templates to kickstart your image design, in addition to built-in images, icons, illustrations and shapes, all so you don’t need to make your own.
- Use Canva for: Visualising key quotes from articles (like we’ve done below), creating quick banners, populating your social media with branded ads, images and calls to action.
PicMonkey has a raft of simple-to-use photo editing features. You can upload a photo to adjust its colour, exposure, sharpness and so on, then add text, icon overlays and special effects.
Images can then be exported in either JPG or PNG formats, at the dimensions and file size of your choice.
- Use PicMonkey for: Enhancing your favourite images – it’s great for Instagram or Pinterest, and modifying images to suit brand colours.
Infographic marketing requires a keen eye for design. Get it wrong and your graphic will be unappealing. So get it right by using Piktochart – developed especially for making infographics, 4:3-ratio presentation slides and A4 printables, all without a design degree.
Piktochart has hundreds of pre-made templates to ensure your graphic is laid out well. It comes loaded with shapes, icons, lines, fonts and colours, and the tool itself is a simple drag-and-drop editor.
One thing to note, however, is your graphic will bear a small Piktochart watermark unless you choose to “Level Up” your account, which costs US$29 monthly.
- Use Piktochart for: Infographics, presentations, A4-sized flyers, posters or notices.
For memes, GIFs and video loops
No matter how you pronounce the word “GIF”, these weird little online micro-vids are hyper popular. Digital Doughnut went so far as to say they will be 2017’s biggest marketing trend.
Make your own quickly by using the free online tool Giphy. Giphy has millions of GIFs already available, but you can quickly create new ones without making an account. They can be produced from video files or images, and the tool can then add text overlays, though with limited font choices.
Just make sure you own the rights to any videos or images you intend to use for marketing purposes – just because it’s a GIF, doesn’t mean all images are legal.
- Use Giphy for: Enhancing your social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are havens for GIFs.
— GIPHY (@GIPHY) August 12, 2017
Boomerang was a tool introduced to Instagram in 2015, and can bring scenes to life in a uniquely quirky, fun way.
When you use the tool, it takes a burst of photos and automatically blends them together in a short video, which loops backwards and forwards on repeat. It can then be uploaded straight to your Instagram feed. The video below will show you more!
- Use Boomerang for: Bringing your office to life. Showcase fun moments to humanise your company and entertain your followers.
Imgflip is another GIF-maker with its own archive, and many around the internet use it for creating looping GIF videos and captioned memes. It also has pie-chart and de-motivational poster options – both their own brand of hilarious meme opportunity.
This tool has limited customisability when it comes to layout and font, but should suffice if you’re trying to make a meme that matches the most common styles.
- Use Imgflip for: Quick memes and GIFs. If it suits your brand, pie charts and demotivational posters are good sources of comedy that fewer people are doing.
So which online image tool should I use out of these?
If you don’t know what you need from our list, remember this: Your tools should always support your objectives. Know your audience, plan your goals and choose the imagery that will suit.
And if you’re ever unsure about image-use law, content strategy or what’s appropriate for promoting on social media, you can always contact the professionals instead.