Every digital marketer knows how important visual content is but at the same time; most digital marketers avoid creating some!
I’ve been guilty of this as well! Mainly because I felt it takes too much time or that I’m no designer. However, visual content creation (whether it’s a banner, a video or a PowerPoint) doesn’t have to be that long or difficult. And done properly, it can give a boost your digital marketing as design and first impressions matter a lot. In fact, according to a study realized by Social Media Examiner, 73% of Marketers plan to increase their use of videos and 71% of visuals, even more than blogging (66%)!
And when it comes to creativity, digital marketing and efficiency in my circle, Loïc Marchat sure comes as a top of mind. He’s a close friend of mine, we’ve played in the same music bands (while he was learning to create digital music), he’s helped me with multiple event banners, logos, etc. He’s also the one who taught me the basics of Photoshop in 30 minutes!
The following post is a guest post by Loïc on how to easily create visual content, along with his best tips and tools he uses daily.
Marketing-focused banners, videos, Powerpoints? Loïc’s your guy.
Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give a man a fish, and he will constantly ask you for basic photoshop or video editing, and you’ll keep saying “yeah OK sure” because you’re too nice.
A little bit of story on my background. From 2006 to 2010, I was spending my teenage years behind my screen in the southern french countryside. I did not have any transportation means, so the weekends were pretty much finding ways to spend my time on the internet. I created message boards, played Trackmania with my team, scammed kids on Habbo hotel, told people I was a sexy 18 years-old girl looking for people to trade some selfies for a few allopasses (money credits you could buy on the phone), etc. I learned how to do some image editing to make funny memes (before memes were cool, true story bro), some banners, etc. It was really all a game for me, and while I thought I was losing my time, I was setting my career up.
2010, out of high-school, I’m leaving France for a business school in Montréal. People in student associations start searching for designers to do posters, flyers and so on. I join two or three associations, create visual content, and before I know it, I quickly becomes the official “design my logo for my project” guy, says OK to everything, people promise me beers, people never buy me beers. On the bright side, I spend all my time designing cool-as-fuck PowerPoints and visual concepts for the Group Assignments, skipping on a lot of data analysis and Excel stuff, and my colleagues are very happy with it too.
Then I get noticed by a teacher who was impressed by my cool PowerPoints, and at the end of my marketing master, he asks me to do animated videos to synthesize academic papers. I have no idea how to do it, but I say “yeah sure” as usual.
I discover a super-easy (like really super easy) software, VideoScribe, and starts getting paid 20 bucks an hour to make little videos. That’s great. Then my good friend Ambroise Debret (I think you know him) put me in contact with a guy needing someone to pimp his PowerPoint presentations and make little videos to synthesize reports for a big tire manufacturer. So yeah, that’s what I do now, remotely from a small French island in the Indian Ocean. Yup.
So yeah, photoshopping funny memes in 2008 for a few bucks lead to a really cool job under the sun.
Here are the best resources and tips I discovered in ten years, so you can start making your stuff yourself, like a big boy or girl.
TIP #1: Don’t get impressed or scared
Starting exploring a new software is always intimidating. Lots of buttons and menus. Tell yourself that nobody understands it all anyway, at first you just have to learn the 5 important buttons. You’ll be okay. Stay calm. Watch a Youtube tutorial and breathe.
TIP #2: Google it
Do you want to convert a .pdf into a .jpg? Google “pdf to jpg”, click twice, done.
Do you want to learn how to do something with a piece of software? There’s a tutorial on YouTube for that. You don’t need a $500 online training to learn how to photoshop. Master the basics by watching (and recreating) two basics tutorials, and then just search for the thing you want to do (“crop a picture”, ”blur a face”, ”add text on picture”,…)
TIP #3: Have fun!
Almost everything I learned in terms of video montage, animation, visual, etc. was by doing stuff for fun. By doing so, your search for the limits of the software, instead of just going straight to the point. It can be inspiring. Recently, I tried to push my editing software to the limit, Adobe Premiere Pro, by doing a clip for my Vulfpeck’s cover, 1612. It got reposted by Vulfpeck themselves, so that’s a cool side-effect of doing stuff for fun.
OK, now the resources & tools you’ll need for photo, video, and animation!
The Software you’ll Need
Want to edit pictures? Get Gimp. It’s basically Photoshop, except it’s open source (and then free!).
[Note from Ambroise: I’ll add Canva to Gimp. In my opinion, it’s the easiest picture creation software and has predefined formats for Facebook ads, or instagram posts among others.]
Want to edit video? Get Lightworks. You’ll be able to take videos, cut them, combine multiple videos, add titles, effects, and anything you want.
If you want to edit and record sound, Audacity is the way to go. Note that you can do it in video editing software, so you won’t necessarily need it.
Stock Visual, Audio, Fonts & Resources
- http://makerbook.net/ – If you have to bookmark one link, it’s this one. An organized list of everything you need for content creation. I think all the links below can be found on this site.
- https://www.pexels.com/ – Tons of beautiful royalty-free high-definition pictures. Enjoy.
- http://www.dafont.com/ – Say good bye to Comic Sans MS, and get free super fancy fonts that will make you stand apart. Installed in 2 clicks, so easy.
- http://www.flaticon.com/ – Free icons you can download in any color, any size, any format. Perfect for flat design.
- https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music – Free royalty-free music for your videos.
You can do pretty much anything you need regarding visual content creation and video by yourself. It will be scary at first, sure, but it also will be super valuable for you and your career. You’ll learn skills that people are willing to pay money for, and it could really make you stand out from the others. I wish you good luck, and make sure you’re having fun.
If you have any question for Loïc, you can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.