This blog post was created for Bianca Frank Design
Cliches tend to be thrown around haphazardly in every industry, but marketing and branding professionals may be some of the worst offenders. Still, I’m about to drop one. Here goes:
A picture is worth 1,000 words.
You know what else tends to be about 1,000 words (give or take)? Blog posts. Except those are 1,000 words you want people to read, because those words are your business, your voice, and the valuable information you wish to pass on to your dear readers.
But, what if you could use 1,000 words just to convince a potential reader that they should read your blog post? 1,000 words to persuade them, entice them, and communicate with them before they even read line one of your post.
If you could create a billboard, advertising your online content, for free or almost free, how could you say no?
Enter Canva, one of the most valuable tools for those seeking to drive audiences to their online content. Canva is an online resource that you can use to make almost any type of graphic you need, as cheaply as you like. There are a couple of other options out there, but I’ve found Canva to be the easiest to use, cheapest, and have the most flexibility and design options.
A plethora of pre-made design templates are available and they can be customized with backgrounds, frames, text, images, and other graphics from Canva’s massive searchable library. Some of the more eye-catching elements cost $1 to use, but I have made dozens of one-off, visually striking pieces using only the free elements—you really don’t have to spend a dime.
Canva also allows its users to upload their own images, so you can include original content or elements found online (just be sure to adhere to copyright and Creative Commons laws and permissions).
Give it a shot. When starting a project, Canva guides the user to choose what it is they’d like to create, be it a Facebook cover photo, a business card, or a flyer, and then takes the user to the design screen. Here, a blank canvas in the dimensions of your chosen project is ready to be designed.
What I have found Canva most useful for in blog promotion is in creating Instagram images that also serves as a lead image for your blog post. When promoting a blog, it’s easy enough to share it across Facebook, Google+, and other more traditional social channels, but how do you share hundreds of words through an image-sharing app?
Simple: with an image!
Canva allows you to create a visual billboard for your blog post, one that can not only be positioned proudly at the top of your post, but can be shared on Instagram and seen by, potentially, thousands (even millions) of users. Combine the image with a crafty tagline, the right #hashtags, and a call to action一”read the blog,” in so many words一and you have, effectively, a colorful, eye-catching, easily digestible advertisement of sorts for your blog post—an advertisement that can cost as little as $0.
I should also mention that Instagram does not support hyperlinks in posts, but does in a profile bio. Including a link directly to your website or blog is a must, making it as easy as possible for a user to go from Instagram browser to blog reader.
There’s no need to be hesitant about giving Canva, and Instagram marketing, a try. Both are simple to use and in conjunction make a significant impression on both your existing audience and that which you wish to build through social media marketing. The image could simply be the title of the blog post fancied up with a bit of Canva magic; let your creativity run wild, and go at it a few different ways—Canva automatically saves your work, so you can abandon, start over, or go back and edit any project at any time. It doesn’t take much to create something that pops out infinitely more than the title and byline of the blog post itself.
Of course, I don’t recommend using Canva for any high-profile marketing efforts. Logo, web, and graphic design in general should be left to the pros一it’s just not a field that can be contained and mastered via online software. Plus, Canva has it’s limitations; it’s best suited for blog and social media efforts.
Still, Canva is a great way to add visual spice to marketing collateral such as blog posts or even emails, where it is usually lacking. And, it’s a great way to make use of an image-only social network to drive users to a blog or website, and to feature your own images and products in an environment with over 2.5 billion “likes” a day.
Canva.com images screen-captured on March 23rd, 2015.
The author has no affiliation with Canva—he just thinks it’s an incredibly useful tool that everyone should know about.