3 Free tools to help you create content your audience will love

Technology illustrations by Storyset

Content is king! A quote written by Bill Gates in an essay over 25 years ago has never been more relevant. Businesses are expected to produce content on a consistent basis across various social media platforms in order to raise brand awareness and engage current and prospective customers. While you most likely already know what you want to say to your audience on a regular basis, creating engaging, visually appealing content has traditionally required bringing in design resources at a high cost.

In this instalment, we will discuss three free tools that will assist you in creating content that your audience will enjoy. It won’t be as good as hiring a professional designer, but these are some excellent resources for getting started and producing visually appealing content.

Free Tool 1 – Canva

What is it:

Many of you have probably heard of and use Canva. This is because it is a beautifully designed tool that is genuinely simple to use and can help you create some really great looking content. Canva is a free online design tool that allows you to create professional-looking designs that can be downloaded, shared, and printed.

What’s great about it:
Featuring a drag-and-drop editor that most people will be familiar with, the best thing about Canva is the sheer number of ready-made templates available. These templates range from logos to presentations, flyers, banners, and social media posts, and are completely editable so that they can be tailored to your brand.

What are the limitations:

The free plan includes a large bank of templates and assets that can be used, but there are many assets that must be purchased, which is inconvenient. The free templates are popular among Canva’s 85 million+ users, some of whom may be your competitors, so your content may resemble that of others. In addition, the free plan limits your design exporting options to PDF, JPG, and PNG.

Pricing model:

Decent Free Plan. As mentioned their free plan includes a large amount of content that is truly free, but some of the more advanced activities and more unique design elements require payment.

Free Tool 2 – API Template.io

What is it:

API Template is a fantastic little tool for automating the creation of images with text on them. You can create a base template and then pass variable data into it to change the background image and text of an image. It’s similar to an automated mail merge but for text and images, making it ideal for creating banners, social media images, and QR codes.

What’s great about it:

The sheer flexibility of the tool is what truly distinguishes API Template; for each template you create, every single element in the template can be changed with a simple edit to the URL of the image or, if you are more technically savvy, through an automation workflow tool like Zapier, Make, or Pabbly. Because of its versatility, it is ideal for personalized email campaigns, regular social media content, and even special offers!

What are the limitations:

While the tool for creating the template is fairly simple, utilizing a drag and drop style interface, the logic behind using a URL to create variable images is not simple; there are some good tutorials available, but it does require a little bit of a technical brain. Furthermore, the free plan only allows you to have 50 images per month, which you may consume while playing around with it. I’d recommend using the first month to get a feel for it, then launching properly in month two to maximize your free images.

Pricing model:

Decent Free Plan. As mentioned, the free plan includes 50 images generated automatically per month across three templates. The most basic paid plan costs $29 per month and includes 1,500 images and 15 templates.

Free Tool 3 – Heyzine

What is it:

Heyzine is a simple tool that converts static PDF documents into interactive flip books with realistic page flipping, slide effects, and coverflow. This allows you to create more interactive and engaging eBooks, magazines, catalogues, brochures, reports, presentations, booklets, or restaurant menus.

What’s great about it:

In its most basic form, it can transform static PDFs into more engaging documents. The part I like best is that you can then edit the interactive PDF to include a slew of additional features to boost engagement and security. Adding videos, audio, links, and any other web component means you have a lot of room for creativity to create a truly unique experience for your audience. The flipbook can also be password protected.

What are the limitations:

If you do not create an account, your flipbook will be deleted after one week. You can register for free, which means the flipbooks will be available for at least a year, possibly longer if they are accessed regularly. As a free registered user, you have a limit of 5 flipbooks.

Pricing model:

Decent Free Plan. As mentioned, whilst it is completely free to use, the flipbooks are only available for a week. Registering for free gives you more storage space. Their cheapest plan is $49 per year, making scaling up very affordable.

Additional Help

We’ve created a  Quick Tips Guide for some pointers on how to get started with these platforms, as well as examples of how I’ve used them and the results I’ve achieved – you’ll need to enter your email address to download below:

In our next post, we’ll share three free tools to help you improve your copywriting.

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