Haiku Deck & Canva: Two Tools for a Quick Design Assist

One terrific result of the uptick in content marketing is the online tools available to help. Haiku Deck and Canva are two I’ve begun using recently, so I thought I’d share my experience for other small business owners and do-it-yourself marketers.

Haiku Deck Gives Your Presentations Visual Oomph

Haiku Deck Gallery of PresentationsI found Haiku Deck simply by Googling “presentation software,” after I found out that SlideRocket wasn’t accepting new users while they integrated with ClearSlide. Who has time to wait, right?

Haiku Deck’s philosophy is “Simple, beautiful and fun.” They wanted to make it easy for people to create visually stunning presentations that have impact. Use it to create presentations that have few words per slide and visual impact. Here’s a presentation I recently created, on editorial calendars:

Editorial Calendar – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Easy to use – even for non-PowerPoint users – Haiku Deck really is a tool anyone can adapt to quickly and start creating beautiful presentations. Sharing is built right in, and you’ll see all the options once you complete your deck.

My only complaint is that the system can be a little buggy, but that might be due to compatibility issues or internal bugs they’re working on. Search for photos with certain keywords and the results don’t always make sense. However, this is a minor complaint because you can still find photos you want pretty quickly, or upload your own. Oh, and I would like a little more control over font sizes, but, hey, it’s free.

Canva Brings Out the Designer in You

“Canva makes design simple for everyone.” Those are their words, but they are true. Whether you’re a blogger looking for photos and graphics for your blog, a content marketer interested in making your own infographics, or a small business owner trying to manage content marketing and design on your own, Canva can help.

The best part? Canva is free to use and then certain images and designs cost a teeny one dollar a piece. I’ve used it a few times now (note the header image on my website as one Canva piece), so I can tell you that you can do a lot on the site for free.

Coreen Tossona, CTMarCom, CopywriterGuy Kawasaki, who signed on as the Chief Evangelist, says, “Macintosh democratized computers; Google democratized information; and eBay democratized commerce. In the same way, Canva democratizes design.” Read more about the reasons Guy joined, how he uses the content marketing tool, and how the startup has rapidly grown to reach millions of users, in Canva’s blog.

So far, my only complaint is that I can’t always find the layouts I want. I think that problem will be solved as I use it more and as Canva grows.

If you’ve used either design tool or have suggestions for others, feel free to comment here.


5 Rules of Good Content for Copywriters & Content Marketers

5 rules of good content for copywriters and content marketers

Content marketing has grown exponentially over the past two to three years. Understandably, marketers and small business owners have felt pressure to race to get content out there in front of their target audience. The key is to focus more on the quality of content than the race everyone’s participating in to get their content seen and heard above all.

Be relevant to your audience slide, audience is listening

1.  Be Relevant to Your Audience

This one is self-explanatory. If you want people to pay attention to your company and your marketing communications, you have to give them something they’d be interested in and present it in a unique and engaging way.

Photo shows military man "Serve a Purpose"2. Content Should Serve a Purpose

What is your content’s mission? Each piece should have a purpose — to sell, to educate, to inform or to entertain. You must have a reason for creating and sharing all your content — from blog posts to web pages to infographics, videos and more. Don’t just create something because you (or your chief marketing officer) wants to produce something “cool and edgy.”

Without a concrete mission that relates to what your audience wants or needs, most content ends up rambling and unfocused, and as a result customers drift away.

An eye and text: Make content easy to understand

3. Make Content Easy to Understand

Making your content easy to understand is about two things:

  1. Using plain language and describing concepts in language your audience will understand.
  2. Making copy less dense so it’s easier for your time-crunched consumers to pop in and find what they want immediately.

There’s a myth that using simpler words and descriptions is “dumbing down” to your audience. It’s not. Doctors, lawyers, engineers and others all want to be able to consume your main points quickly. The easier you make that for them, the more likely they are to stick around. Your audience will appreciate you respecting their time and making things convenient for them.

Beach scene-make content visually appealing

4.  Make Your Content Visually Appealing

One of the nice things about being in the content marketing age is that many websites and apps have popped up that help you create graphics and manipulate or gain photography more easily. You don’t have to be an artist or designer to make your content appealing (though it does help!). Here are some quick tips to follow:

  • Segment your articles with headers; use clean, short lists; and include photos, charts or videos.
  • Ask yourself: Does your website look easy to navigate or do people have to study the page to find their way through? Leave enough white space to make your website and anything you create clean-looking at first glance.
  • Capture the viewer’s attention within moments in your videos and keep the length as short as possible to get your message across yet still be compelling.
  • Use graphics that complement the rest of the page and help people understand your message.

Rule 5-consistent brand voice represented thru choir

5.  Keep a Consistent Brand Voice

Content marketing is used to build your brand, so it’s vital that all pieces of content you create seem like they come from the same place, with the same overall strategy behind it. If you have several people creating your content, give them guidelines to follow so that the content looks like it comes from your company, not from individuals with different personalities.

If you follow these five rules to good content, you can talk about all sorts of topics (relevant to your expertise and your audience, of course) and never run out of ways to serve the people you value most — your customers!

I adapted this blog post from a presentation I gave for Philly ‘burbs WordPress Meetup. You can see the original on SlideShare.