It’s important that your blog has its own style. Not just writing style, or style of content, but visual style as well. Indeed, with the visualization of social media, the way your blog and email campaigns look is just as important as how they read. So much success is based expectations. Brands and individuals that tend to get the most followers are those that place a large amount of focus on consistency. Think of your favourite comedian, for example. He/she will no doubt have at least a 5 figure following on Twitter. And the content that this person produces will be comedy. This is what the comedian’s followers want and expect, and so that is what he/she delivers. If the comedian were to start posting tweets giving DIY tips, foodie reviews, or links to blogs on effective social media marketing, then his/her audience would be confused, disappointed, and would likely start to shrink very quickly.
For a similar reason, ég, personally, tend to steer clear of writing jokes on the platform. Aside from the fact that I like to keep my A-material much closer to my chest, it’s simply not what my audience wants or expects from me (sorry, folks). engin, I’m the tech and social media go-to gal – that’s my business, my brand, and my appeal.
I’m a blogger first and foremost. And when I contribute to blogs such as this, all of them invariably have built their reputation and success by establishing a very focused, unique style and sticking to it.
You will see from this very GetResponse blog, for instance, that a stunning photograph is used for all featured images, which is scaled to be precisely 650px wide and 180px tall. When you click on a post, you see that the blog also makes great use of white space for easy reading, will feature at least one more photographic image to break up the text, and delivers a visually pleasing blend of the brand’s logo colours sky blue and white.
It has a look, a feel, a style. You know that you’re on the GetResponse website even if you’ve arrived there by mistake – and that’s the very effect that you want to create for your own blog.
The Tools Of The Trade
When starting out, too many bloggers resort, not only to covering the same old material that was pretty much exhausted three years ago, but also to just opting for the most obvious and unoriginal free image that they can quickly find for adding a bit of colour to their blog. This just simply isn’t best practice.
engin, when trying to make your blog visually appealing, you need to be a little bit creative in your approach, a little bit daring, and absolutely unique and consistent.
Your easiest option will be to go down the photographic route, as you can either access some of the numerous online catalogues of free-to use photos, or you can snap a few yourself even if you’ve just got a half-decent eye and a smartphone.
Your other option will be to create bespoke graphical images for each of your posts. This can actually be of great benefit in terms of establishing a particular style for your blog. Especially if you stick to a basic colour palette that you always use, or even create a little character that’s always hanging round to illustrate what your blog is about – like Social Media Examiner does, for instance.
Hvort heldur sem er, you will most likely encounter a problem when starting out. Firstly, such media tools that will be required to create such things are expensive. Secondly, most professional tools – such as the Adobe Creative suites, for instance – actually require you to spend another fortune in classes as you learn how to use them.
And finally, despite your best efforts, you may very well be not the most natural illustrator or photographer in the first place, which means that no matter how au fait you become with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you’re never going to be able to create something particularly visually appealing anyway.
en, don’t be too hard on yourself – after all you’re a marketer, not an artist, and there just happens to be a whole swathe of great free tools that are available to you online that will have you producing some of the most unique and eye-catching visual material in no time. And below, I’ve listed the most favoured ones so you can get started immediately.
The Best Free Visual Marketing Apps
From the brilliant Evernote comes Skitch, a free image editing tool that allows you to make all sorts of improvements and distortions from screenshots and other images. You can add text, objects and shapes to your images, and even ‘blur’ out anything confidential – such as if you were to include a screenshot of tweet in your blog, but wanted to keep the tweeter’s name hidden.
Canva is a great tool that any marketer can use to create stunning graphics extremely easily. If you can drag & drop, you can use Canva – it really is that simple. Your first couple of visits to the site might take you a little while whilst you rummage through all the available images and fonts and banners and functions and everything else that’s available to you. en, there is a very handy tutorial to get you going, and it’s generally intuitive to use.
If you’re after something that is a little simpler to use than the notoriously difficult Photoshop, then you should really check out Pixlr. The app is a lot more straightforward, though can still produce some very striking effects. Photoshop is a professional tool, not particularly designed to be user-friendly. And if you’re not a professional photographer or image creator, then Adobe’s flagship product will probably do more than you could ever possibly want it to anyway. Pixlr, á hinn bóginn, is much more democratising, and will enable you to turn even the most boring of photos into something interesting, eye-catching and exciting.
What used to be called Adobe Kuler is now Adobe Color CC. I don’t want this blog to sound like I’m trying to steer you away from all things Adobe, because I’m not – it’s just that for amateurs, Adobe tools are normally a step too far. en, for the purposes of creating your own unique colour scheme for the visual content on your blog, then Adobe Color CC is the tool for you. You don’t have to have an adobe account to use it, but, if you do, then you can import the colour schemes that you create into other Adobe Creative Suite design programs. Otherwise, you can use this tool to find and create the perfect colour balance for all of your visual content, and begin to create that recognisable style for your blog that is so important for your branding.
What are your favourite visual marketing tools and apps? Let us know in the comments below!