There’s a saying that ‘content is King’ and that to make it rule, you need excellent copy. While I agree that your web copy should be engaging, targeted and persuasive, I don’t believe that just having text on your blog is the solution.
Today I’m sharing just why it’s dangerous to put your trust in copy on it’s own and why visual content can create the perfect balance for your blog.
The Problem With Publishing Copy On Its Own
Let’s face it, staring down a great big wall of text is dull to say the least. I know it puts me off and if it puts me off, it’s probably going to put my readers off too.
Sure, you can break your copy up with bold headlines, bullet points and quotes but at the end of the day, it’s still a wall of text. It may be easy to skim read and quote but that’s probably just about it.
Text is difficult to remember on its own, if you have a visual memory.
How Visual Content Can Help
Where visual content comes in, is by providing the reader with a visual cue which jogs the brain into making a new connection. This connection links the image with the copy in context, enabling you to recall that image more easily, thus remembering the idea that went with it.
Another way visual content can help boost the reading experience of your blog, is by breaking up your copy further. It provides a pause to stop and reflect on what’s just been read, before moving on to the next section.
16 Visual Content Tools That Rock
Below I’m sharing 16 tools that are currently on the market, to help you compliment your copy with visual content. I’ve used most of these and nearly all of them are either free with the exception of one or two.
Let’s get stuck in:
Placeit is a unique little tool that allows you to choose from a range of pre-made templates and backgrounds, for you to then ‘place’ your own images in. If you’d rather not design your own image, you can always type in any URL and Placeit will automatically insert a screenshot of the page into your design.
To get the best size images and unlock more features, you will have to pay. However you can get a decently sized version of your creation to use for free.
This Chrome extension is an easy way to turn any text that you find when browsing, into a striking image that you can then share. The benefits of it being a bookmarklet, means that you don’t need to leave your browser or open another tab/window, in order to create highly shareable images.
The free version is limited but at only £8 per month, it’s certainly worth the price if you’re not so great with creating your own images.
Fotor is handy if you’re prone to working in the cloud. It’s a simple, easy to use image editing program with templates, collage functionality, image retouching settings and much more. The real selling point of Fotor is the ability to download both an iOS and Adroid app, so that you can quickly edit and create visual content on-the-go.
What I like about Visme is its ability to do a range of tasks all in one place. From presentations, infographics, animations and much more, it allows you to create some truly stunning visual content, right from your browser. No need to download any clunky software!
Canva is probably my favourite graphic image design tool outside of PhotoShop. It has everything you need to create visually stunning images for blog posts and social media, as well as offering ready-to-go templates for things like flyers, social media covers, documents and more. Best of all it’s mostly free to use!
I’ve recently fallen in love with RooJoom and here’s why; it makes it effortless to create a story that your readers will find a pleasure to follow. It could be instructions, a tutorial or even a short-course on a subject of your choosing.
Whatever you decide to create, RooJoom will make it look shiny by allowing you to connect different elements together for a seamless user experience! And as we all know – shiny things are awesome. You’ll definitely be seeing more of RooJoom around here in the future.
Picmonkey is very much like Canva, just without the bells and whistles. While it’s limited in terms of templates and to gain access to better features you’ll need to pay, it can still hold its own when creating simple graphics. I use Picmonkey the most for image cropping, resizing and adjusting photos.
Who can deny the power of a great infographic? They’re incredibly popular on Pinterest for their elongated, visual nature. They can also tell us a great deal about a subject in a very small space. Infogr.am is perfect for creating these powerful graphics. With over 30 chart types to choose from, there’s bound to be something to get you started.
Gimp is most likely as close as you’ll get to a visual editing tool without purchasing PhotoShop. It can pretty much do most of what the latter, more expensive option can, with the bonus of being free. There’s even a handy Chrome App available for in-browser editing.
If you’re into tag and word clouds, this next offering is right up your street. Visual content doesn’t always have to be about great photography or graphic images. A word cloud can do the job of making your content stand out just as well. This tool is easy to use, free and has some nifty settings to easily create any wordcloud of your choosing.
Similar to Infogr.am Easel.ly is another free resource that lets you create some rocking visual content. Where it differs though is in the sheer size of their template library, which spans in the thousands. Now you’ve got no excuse for putting off that infographic you’ve always wanted to create!
Slideshows are another way to make your copy stand out and to actively engage your readers. Slideshare is a perfect tool for the job, allowing you to embed Slideshares directly into your content. As well as the potential social benefits Slideshare brings, they’re an excellent way to display instructions and information in digestible, bite-size portions.
In terms of engagement there’s nothing better than a good video to help illustrate your articles point. Using YouTube to embed videos into your content has numerous benefits, not least of which it’s excellent for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes. This is because you can easily connect your YouTube videos to your Google+ account, giving your videos a much better chance of being seen.
I’m slowly getting my head around Evernote (I know – I’m a late bloomer!) as a way to manage and capture ideas that drift in and out of my grey matter during the day. One thing that has caught my eye and which I’ve used a fair bit, is Evernote’s screenshot tool, Skitch.
Skitch is so simple to use – it’s really just a case of snapping a screenshot and then using it’s basic editing features to quickly crop, edit, annotate and save. You can also automatically save your screenshots to Evernote and make use of the free mobile app for when you’re on the go.
While Skitch is a very simple tool to use, Snagit is a similar tool that offers much more functionality. While it is a bit costly at about £35 per individual copy, it’s soooo nice to use and looks the business. The features include the ability to edit your screen captures, film your screen and send your screen captures to others.
Finally PicApp is an image generator for your app. You simply upload your screenshot of choice, choose a staging environment and the screenshot will be displayed in a beautiful, high resolution image for you to download. The benefit of creating your images in this way is that they do the image processing on the client side. Your images aren’t stored on their servers, so no chance of private app images leaking out anywhere. The whole process is fast and all low resolution images are downloadable for free. If you’re after images of a higher resolution, they’ll only cost £5 per image, which is fairly reasonable.
Ultimately it’s most likely a bad idea to rely on copy alone for getting your point across in a blog post. Not everyone absorbs text as easily as they do images, therefore mixing up your articles with a combination of great copy and striking visual content will ensure you’re catering to a larger portion of your audience.
What are your thoughts on visual content and copy? Do you know of any tools I can add to this list? Let me know in the comments!