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How to Add Good Design to Your Content Marketing

5 Content Marketing Design Tips for Writers

Marketing
November 30, 2021
6 minutes

0%

In content marketing, the most important thing is to write compelling and well-researched blog posts. But good design can help create even more effective content. Here is how.

If you are a content writer that doesn’t know a lot about design, chances are your content marketing strategy does not include complex graphic and web designs whose purpose is to beautify your pieces of content and help you solve a problem through visualizing ideas that are hard to explain with words.

But it’s a fact that content creation also includes some graphic design. Blog covers, infographics, slides, surveys, illustrations and cartoons, all the way to more complex and longer content pieces like ebooks, will require graphic design.

How can you make sure you’ve added the right design if you don’t have a professional to supply it for you? Here are our five best tips.

Choose a tool you find easy to use

Hey, we’re not all designers, and that’s fine. People such as content writers usually find it easier to express themselves verbally, and might be lacking on the aesthetic and visualization side.

Luckily, there are dozens of easy-to-use design tools made for people like me, that make it possible to create simple designs without knowing how to work in Photoshop or Illustrator. And many of them are even free.

With a drag-and-drop principle, pre-made drafts in multiple sizes and formats and a vast library of vectors, photos and illustrated elements, these tools can make it possible for you to create covers, additional visuals for social media platforms, and even more complex visual assets like charts and infographics.

On top of that, you can use codes to replicate your previous color choices and stay consistent, free fonts and photo editing presets.

Some of the DIY design tools I’d recommend are:

  • Canva: undoubtedly the most well-known and easy-to-use design tool for people with 0 design knowledge. It has everything you’ll need, and a big number of free elements without a watermark. If you want to use a premium account, you can do so for only 12.99 dollars a month. There are many other apps similar to it, but it remains the most valuable and intuitive one.
  • Piktochart: Perfect for creation of complex infographics and charts, with pre-made drafts.
  • Pixlr: Cloud-based tool with image editing tools and utilities, including a number of photo editors and a photo-sharing service.
  • Desygner: Similar to Canva, but more focused on ease of use than diversity of free elements and features.

Learn how to design captivating digital ads

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Ensure that the visual elements support your written content

Something I see very often in content is dozens of stock photos that aren’t really necessary or valuable to the rest of the article. They are just there to break the monotony and add some dynamism to how the final product looks.

In reality, all the best content pieces have a lot of visuals, but not just people sitting around a table or a photo of a laptop with some cacti and coffee cups around it.

When adding visuals, make sure they support the claims you make in the article. Add graphics, tables and screenshots of examples you use to explain something. Of course, make sure you add credit where it’s due, and don’t steal other writers’ assets without linking to their articles.

Although stock photos and random illustrations can look good and bring a splash of color to a large chunk of text, they make the article unnecessarily stuffed with images and harder to load.

On top of that, search engines crawl photos too, and using images that aren’t unique can help them learn that your article doesn’t have authentic visual content to be crawled.

Improve the user experience with visualization of large data

When describing complex processes or analyzing data, it is almost always better to visualize those details.

For example, here is how a pie chart from one of our researches looks like:

job background.jpg

If this pie chart was instead described with words, it would look like this:

Out of the clients that answered ManyPixels’ poll, 26 percent are business owners, 6.5 are project managers, 9.5 are marketing managers, 14.9 percent are freelancers, 23.2 are designers, and 19.9 percent have another profession.

Not only is the last paragraph clunky and hard to follow, but the ratio between different numbers is harder to imagine in your head. When you see it visualized in a pie chart, it is immediately noticeable what color or subject represents a larger number of people.

Timelines and process infographics are also much easier to follow, instead of text. Here is another example.

Visual:

ha21.29-graphic-2.png

Verbal:

*With the groundbreaking invention of the radio in 1922 and it becoming a popular media with more than 50% of US homes owning a radio set by 1933, radio advertisements became a normal occasion.

The invention of television happened in 1927, but TV sets became a regular part of households in the 40s. The first televised advertisement for Bulova clocks came in 1941.*

Telemarketing started happening in the 40s as well, as more households started having their own phones.

Skimming through this data is almost impossible if it’s only written. By supporting it with a visual, you can give the reader a better experience and an easier way to remember what they read.

Think about the visuals from the very beginning

A common mistake when adding graphics to your articles is to just add whatever looks good to you at the end, or when the first draft of your article is already written.

Instead, you should know how to present your words and ideas into visuals for the right targeted audience. Usage of colors, styles, what your visuals represent, whether or not they require some kind of action from the audience can all be factors into what your ideal reader might like seeing.

Who is your audience? What is the story about? Does it need visuals, or is the narrative enough? Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a clearer idea about how and what kind of visuals you need to incorporate into your articles.

Find out how to build a strong and unique brand

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If you can’t make high-quality designs, leave it to a professional designer

My final tip for a fellow content writer that can’t create graphic design to save their life is a bit of tough love: if you can’t do it well, don’t do it yourself.

Not everyone has the benefit of working for an on-demand graphic design company like I do, and that means that not everyone can collaborate with a marketing designer.

But, there are so many affordable options to get graphic design done, including our service. Freelancers, on-demand services and in-house designers will always do it better than you.

Don’t trust me? Here is a comparison of my draft design made in Canva, versus what our in-house designer did based on it.

Non-designer: letters and arrows are too big, the fonts aren’t the same ones used in other visuals, the text is not aligned well.

brand related stimuli.png

Designer: the balance between elements is preserved, the fonts are consistent and there is symmetry.

LA21.146-graphic.png

Conclusion

Although not always easy to pull off, visual design elevates the storytelling in content marketing. Today, content creators can use many free and affordable tools to create DIY design, but it is best to leave the visuals to a professional.

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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

November 30, 2021

Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.