What do long emails, 1,000-page books, and four-part texts from your angry ex have in common?
Aside from soliciting an eye roll, each is probably at the very bottom of your to-do list.
That’s because the human brain prefers consuming content not in a written format, but with engaging visuals.
If you’re competing against a trillion other brands for your customers’ attention (and you are), you need to crank out content that they’ll love.
That starts with visuals. High-quality visual content puts you on the fast track to customer trust.
Visuals lead to more than a 250% lift in engagement compared to text content.
Images tell a story. What takes a million words can be communicated with a few well-placed images, a video, or an infographic. Storytelling is a must for growing your brand, and visual content creation is the best medium for telling those stories.
Customers trust visuals. Quality visuals, that is. When you invest in consistent visual content, you can influence buying decisions with an established, trusted image.
So yeah, it’s cool if you’re writing blogs and all, but they aren’t the only way to do content marketing. If anything, it’s time to prioritize visuals and use text to back them up.
Our 8 favorite visual content creation companies
In 2020 and beyond, you’ve got to take a visual-first approach.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean hiring a full-time graphics person or losing your sanity in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Instead, check out these 8 visual content creation tools. You’ll not only save time and money, but get a better result.
1 - Canva
Say you need a series of Photoshop-level graphics for your website. But you don’t have the budget to bring on a graphic designer.
Plus, you don’t have weeks to make these images—your boss wants them next week, anyway.
Instead of frantically teaching yourself Photoshop after work, use Canva.
This mostly-free graphic design platform is specifically designed for people who need graphic design but don’t have graphic design skills.
There’s a paid version that gives you access to more images and features, but most brands can scrape by with the free version.
Create neat stuff in Canva like:
Client document templates
Facebook or Instagram Ads
We love Canva because it offers tons of pre-designed templates that you can customize to your heart’s content. It’s a drag-and-drop wonderland of fast, pretty visuals.
Plus, Canva’s images are pre-sized for the channel where you’re sharing the visual; never worry about Facebook cover photo sizes again.
2 - Trend
We love tools, but here’s the thing: you’re still at the helm, managing and using these seven other tools.
What happens if your plate is full and you can’t dive into Canva for an afternoon?
Some brands stick with freelancers or agencies to do this work, but that’s a) expensive as heck and b) not worth your time.
Get a human being working on your campaign who won’t suck your budget dry. Partner with an influencer to source user-generated content.
Influencers are already experts at writing amazing content that customers love.
With user-generated content through Trend, you hire an influencer to create beautiful, on-brand lifestyle photos of your products. No need to schedule a photoshoot, wait weeks for results, or cry at your desk.
Influencers help brands:
Tell your story with beautiful lifestyle photos and videos.
Boost trust with unboxing videos.
Promote user-generated content with their audience after creating that content.
When you work with influencers through a platform like Trend, you’ll source the precise images you need. You get full image rights, too, so feel free to share them on your website, social, email—the world’s your oyster, boss.
3 - Portent Content Idea Generator
Portent’s Content Idea Generator is primarily used for blog topics, but guess what?
Your visuals need topics, too!
It’s okay to use a tool designed for blogging, especially if it helps you ideate awesome visuals.
For example, you know you want an Instagram series on summer fun. But, beyond the theme of “summer fun,” you’re kind of drawing a blank.
Instead of churning out half-baked visuals, tell a better story by getting your topics and direction done first.
In this case, you would plug “summer fun” into Portent’s tool and see what it spits out. Not every idea will be a money-maker, but it’s still a great, free tool to help you brainstorm better direction for your visuals.
You might need to tweak Portent’s suggestions, but they’re still a good way to get the juices flowing when you’ve got writer’s block.
4 - Animoto
Say you need a short video promoting your latest products.
Problem is, you don’t have the software or footage to do that. Oh, and the video needs to go out next week.
In this situation, turn to a content creation company like Animoto.
This DIY video creation software lets you make videos for social media, your website, and anywhere else you need videos.
The nice thing about Animoto is the professionally-designed templates. Just drag and drop your images or video into the template and the tool does the rest.
Animoto is great because, if you don’t have photos or videos to use, you can tap into their partnership with Getty Images.
Animoto is technically free to use, but the free version includes Animoto branding. You’ll pay $33/mo for the fully customizable option, but we think it’s worth it.
5 - Outgrow
Pretty visuals will take you far, but what you really need is engagement.
How do you get folks to stop scrolling through Instagram and actually pay attention to you?
Use Outgrow to create:
If you think quizzes are dated, think again. With a whopping 50% opt-in rate, quizzes and other interactive media are the key to engagement.
You can customize each Outgrow project for your brand, which is nice. It also includes industry-specific templates to speed things up.
6 - Boomerang
Boomerang is an app owned by Instagram. If you’ve ever wanted to make engaging GIFs or other short, animated visuals for your brand, Boomerang is your best bet.
Boomerang loops your video forward and then rewinds it to the beginning, creating a neat visual effect that customers love.
If you haven’t gotten a lot of traction on your email marketing, blogs, or social posts, toss a Boomerang on there. It’s short, sweet, and eye-catching.
Plus, you can create a video like normal using the other content creation tools on this list and then turn it into a Boomerang.
If you want to get more mileage out of your existing visuals, Boomerang is a good bet that doesn’t require a ton of time.
7 - Vidyard
While you should share cool pics of customers using your products, you might need to share your screen from time to time.
Tools like Vidyard allow you to record both your screen and your webcam at once—for the rock-bottom price of “nada.”
You might use Vidyard to :
Walk customers through an onboarding process.
Film a quick software demo.
Train influencers or brand ambassadors.
Whatever you use it for, Vidyard will host your videos within the platform. If you use the paid version, you can store way more videos and integrate with tons of other tools, like CRMs.
8 - Falcon
Say you’ve decided to make visual content a priority.
Now, how do you manage all of that content?
If everything is sitting in your inbox or Asana task list, you’re going to feel real overwhelmed, real fast. Odds are, you’re going to lose track of the Instagram images you worked so hard to create.
Falcon is a content creation company that not only creates content, but manages it, too.
With Falcon, you can:
Write social posts.
Schedule social posts.
Monitor engagement, topics, and hashtags.
Best of all, its approval function lets you give your intern room to get creative—while you approve and send everything out.
We also like that Falcon has an app for on-the-go social management.
The bottom line
We love blogs, but they aren’t the be-all, end-all solution to growing your brand. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to invest in visual content.
If you’re sick of taking weeks to create a video, try these 8 content creation companies.
But if you want to put an experienced pro at the wheel while you reap the rewards, give Trend a try. Our user-generated content, courtesy of pro-level influencers, creates captivating content without the headaches.
Curious how it works? Get a quick demo of Trend.