Creating Engaging Visual Content: Tips for Non-Designers

If you click to purchase a product or service based on our independent recommendations and impartial reviews, we may receive a commission. Learn more

Visual content is a powerful tool for helping your business grow online. It can capture attention in an instant and ramp up engagement. But for those without a design background, creating enticing visuals may seem like a daunting task. Where do you start? Do you hire a professional, or are there alternative options?

In this guide, we show you how to create visual content and address all of these questions to ease the worry of designing for non-designers. Let us show you how to enhance your visual content creation skills.

What Is Visual Content Creation?

Visual content creation can make all the difference for businesses and transcends mere aesthetics. It encapsulates messages through imagery, especially on social media, but also across websites, emails, and any other visual communication.

It reflects a brand’s ethos, using images, videos, and infographics to narrate stories and evoke emotions that engage audiences. This blend of creativity and strategy makes visual content a central part of modern business communication.

Understanding the Power of Visual Content

Visual content acts as a universal language, simplifying complex ideas while enhancing understanding and engagement. Statistics underscore its impact: content with relevant images attracts 94% more views, and on Facebook, visuals fetch 2.3 times more engagement than text posts.

Creating compelling visual content isn’t only for the design savvy, however. With a plethora of user-friendly tools and platforms available, crafting visuals has become more accessible than ever. You don’t need to be well-versed in advanced design skills to make use of eye-catching visuals in your communications.

9 Tips for Creating Visual Content for Social Media and Beyond

With these handy tips, you can create top-notch visuals that strike a chord with target audiences and generate more interest in your business.

1) Choose the Right Visual Format

Homepage for Domoland Castle
Dromoland Castle (www.dromoland.ie) expertly uses video on its homepage so visitors are treated to the rich visuals of the castle upon landing on the website.

From still images to videos, selecting the right visual format is key to effective communication, especially when creating visual content for social media. Images are perfect for simple, easily digestible messages across a range of digital platforms, and using them correctly can help your website or social media account grow.

Whether it’s a blog post image or an infographic to simplify complex data, images can be used for many purposes. For example, static images are a good option if you want to convey short, punchy snippets of information, or quickly capture your audience’s attention. On the other hand, videos are better for sharing longer-form content and offering a more immersive experience to the viewer.

Even though different visual formats have different purposes, one thing is true: visuals are one feature your website needs. Even platforms that favor other types of content still use visuals to stand out. Take Spotify, for example. It cleverly uses videos alongside its audio content to promote artists.

Regardless of which visual format you decide to use, it’s important to make sure you take steps to optimize them for search engines. Video SEO is different from social media SEO, so knowing how to structure your content to increase its chances of being seen is crucial.

When chosen wisely, the correct visual format helps align seamlessly with your message and amplifies engagement while forming an integral part of your social media and general content strategy.

2) Get the Basics Right

A picture’s worth a thousand words, but only if it displays the right visual. That’s why you need to think about the basics, such as balance, alignment, and contrast when creating visual content.

These are the fundamentals – a well-balanced image draws the eye while proper alignment keeps your visuals tidy. Contrast makes sure the tone is just right.

Quality is also king. Blurry photos or pixelated videos are a no-go because they’re hard to look at or watch. Invest in high-resolution images and crisp videos. This will help your content look professional and trustworthy.

Sizing is another key factor. Each social platform has its preferred image dimensions. For example, Instagram likes square images, while X/Twitter prefers a more rectangular shape. Make sure to resize your images to fit the platform you’re using.

Image sizing requirements for the top social media platforms:

Platform Image Type Recommended Size (Pixels)
Instagram Square Images 1080 x 1080
Twitter/X Landscape Images 1200 x 675
Facebook Posts 1200 x 630
Cover Photo 820 x 312
LinkedIn Posts (Square) 1200 x 1200
Posts (Landscape) 1200 x 628
Profile Cover 1584 x 396
Pinterest Pins 1000 x 1500 (2:3 aspect ratio)
YouTube Video Thumbnails 1280 x 720
Channel Cover 2560 x 1440

It’s also important not to neglect your alt-text. This is a descriptive text explaining your image. Not only does it make your content more accessible to a variety of users, but it also helps search engines understand the relevance of your website to a particular search term. But how do you write alt-text? Let’s say your image is of a green bus on a red bridge in New York. The alt-text might read, “Green bus driving across a red bridge in New York.”

Finally, make sure you always have the rights to use an image before posting it. Royalty-free websites can be a big help here. Otherwise, give credit to sources where you found the imagery.

Top tip: Use tools like Canva or Adobe Spark to easily apply these principles. There are templates available that are already optimized for balance and contrast.

3) Stay on Brand

McDonald's logo
Color matters. The yellow M on a red background is synonymous with McDonald’s and has been since the 1950s.

It’s easy to get carried away uploading images that you think look good, but every visual needs to align with your brand. Consistency in your visual identity is key and works with your overall content strategy while helping the audience recognize and connect with your business.

Creating a simple style guide can be helpful for those who aren’t design pros. Any guide should outline color schemes, typography, and when to use your logo, which should be added to visuals when appropriate.

Color Psychology

Colors aren’t just pretty – they evoke emotions and reactions. Red often signifies urgency or passion, while blue evokes trust. When choosing a color palette, consider the psychological impact of the colors and how they align with your brand’s message, look, and feel.

Typography Matters

The fonts you choose play a significant role in how your content is perceived. Stick to two or three fonts that are easy to read and align with your brand’s tone. Use these consistently to create text elements that are not only clear but also visually appealing.

4) Find the Right Tools and Resources

Picking the right tools can be a real game-changer, especially if you’re new to any type of design principles.

Start with easy-to-use software like Canva, Adobe Spark, or Snappa. These platforms provide free or affordable resources such as images, icons, and templates to amp up your visuals. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the world of design, especially because there are lots of options to play around with.

If you want to go one step further, check out Skillshare or YouTube for quick how-to guides on getting the most out of these tools.

Top Tip: Don’t just grab the first template that catches your eye; play around with various options and tailor them to match your brand’s look and feel.

5) Monitor, Test, and Iterate

While it might be tempting to upload a picture and call it a day, there’s more to creating engaging visual content.

Your images need constant fine-tuning. Whether it’s emails or social media, try A/B testing to see which images click and which could do with some improvement. We also recommend making use of social media stats, if you can. These are a goldmine of information and provide the lowdown on likes, shares, and how long someone spends engaging with your visual content.

Illustration of A/B testing
Testing images can help you find the most popular options

Use the data to fine-tune your approach. If, for example, you’re seeing low numbers for static images, try pivoting to video, as that might be more in line with your audience’s needs.

Remember that it’s a cycle – test, tweak, repeat. Keep at it until you hit the sweet spot.

6) Tell a Story

Storytelling through visuals can lead to some big wins. It grabs attention and sticks in people’s minds for a better emotional connection. But how do you reel your audience in?

Start with a smart hook displayed across the image or some jaw-dropping visual stats that make people stop and pay attention. You want to impress, and once you’ve got the audience’s eyes on your visuals, you can take them on a journey that is rich in narrative. Make visuals relatable and make them real. 

One example is using infographics to display sales figures. Or perhaps you’re an eco-friendly business, and you use interactive visuals to reveal important stats about sustainability.

Top tip: Whether it’s a single image or a series, let each visual element lead to a new chapter. The goal is to leave your audience with something to remember.

7) Create Engaging Thumbnails

Thumbnails let you get lots of information across in image form and are great for capturing the audience’s attention.

Thumbnails are small, clickable images that serve as a preview of your content. They’re often seen in search results or social media feeds.

Creating engaging thumbnails is crucial for drawing in your audience. The key is simplicity and clarity. Avoid cluttering the thumbnail with too much text – a few words that tease the content are sufficient.

Opt for bold, eye-catching colors that align with your brand. The thumbnail should encapsulate the essence of your content, serving as a mini-story that doesn’t give too much away so your viewers are still enticed to click. A well-crafted thumbnail can significantly boost engagement.

8) Reuse Stats and Information for Visuals

Infographic from Oxfam
This infographic from Oxfam does an excellent job of showing the real problems around hunger

Make your data pop by turning those all-important stats into eye-catching visual infographics. Doing so boosts the chances of other sites linking back to you when they use your content. As a result, you may just get a big SEO boost.

Plus, using methods like infographics to convey stats is easier on the eye than a big chunk of text. It allows you to turn complex information into easily digestible content, meaning you get to display your hard-won findings in an easily consumable way.

Good to know: Using methods like infographics helps to make your content both readable and super linkable.

9) Stay Inspired and On Top of Trends

Smashing Magazine homepage
Smashing Magazine is a popular resource for the latest news in design.

Keep your visual content fresh and engaging by staying inspired and up-to-date with the latest design trends. Follow design blogs, subscribe to industry newsletters, and engage with influencers on social media platforms to keep your finger on the pulse.

You can also take inspiration from other creators. Look at platforms like Pinterest, or just do some thorough competitor research to see what others are doing.Alternatively, spend some time on online communities to see what’s currently trending.

Staying on top of what’s hot means you get to see the design trends that are capturing attention while also learning from the best in the field. As a result, you can keep visuals relevant and aligned with your audience’s interests.

Summary: Creating Engaging Visual Content

Visuals are your secret weapon for ramping up engagement and growing your business. You don’t need to be a design guru to make them work, either. As our top tips above show, there are tools for everyone of all experience levels.

Keep in mind that compelling visuals aren’t just pretty – they’re powerful. So don’t hold back; dive in and start creating.

FAQs for Creating Engaging Visual Content

No, you don’t need to be a design pro to create visual content. There are plenty of platforms online, like Canva, where you can create your own top-notch visual content.
Test, test, and test again. Use A/B testing and monitor social media metrics to see which images are getting the best results. Refine and adapt until you land on a style that captures your audience’s attention.
We interact with visuals more than anything else, and it’s a great way to make someone pay attention. A striking image has a better chance of getting noticed than a line of text. It’s all in the imagery.
Written by:
simon banks headshot
I joined the Website Builder Expert writing team in 2023. With a decade of writing experience, I really love helping brands and small businesses, with a talent for making seemingly dull topics fun and engaging. My aim is to get you feeling confident about marketing your business so it can achieve success. Having a background in advertising has given me a unique lens through which to view topics. I love turning tricky subjects – like website security certificates and crafting a customer journey map – into easy-to-understand pieces of content that capture attention whether you're reading at home or browsing while out and about.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *