PR Toolkit: Get Visual with Canva!


By Erin Hartwig
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

A PR pro’s toolkit is the equivalent of Mary Poppins’ bag: something for everything and everyone.

Whether it’s finding a relevant influencer on Twitter, measuring the SEO ranking of a search term or simply trying to find a reporter’s email address, chances are there’s an app tool for that.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” — but what if resources are thin when it comes to visuals? Then it’s time to get creative.

I won’t bother you with facts or statistics that blog posts and social media posts with a visual aspect are X% higher performing than content lacking something visual, but I think your personal experience will tell you it’s true. People are much more inclined to click on a tweet, read a blog post or skim a news article if there’s a great visual included.

Writing a great blog post for a client is always a rewarding experience. You’ve captured the client’s voice and messaging, the post is relevant and timely and you’ve even managed to sneak in a little bit of humor. A visual is a surprise element that can take the post one step further.

But where are you going to get one? If you’re not willing to shell out the bucks for a stock photo from places like ThinkStock or Shutterstock, or if you’re worried about copyright infringement, visual resources can be slim.

Inspired by a recent workshop by Hoffman CEO Lou Hoffman on visual storytelling, I went on a hunt and found Canva.

Great for those on a budget that aren’t trained graphic designers, but still have a bit of a creative streak, Canva is a free (with some paid elements) graphic design tool that is easy to use.

It even includes preset dimensions and layouts tailored to fit the standardized size for Facebook posts, tweets, blog graphics and even business cards. No more sizing and resizing to make sure the image doesn’t get distorted when it’s uploaded. 

For first-time users, it walks you through the process of creating a visual step-by-step in a quick tutorial that familiarizes you with all of Canva’s features. Taking it one step further, Canva even has its own “design school” with 30 additional tutorials covering everything from the basics to branding and layouts.

Now your content can shine. Tweet out just the visual from a blog post, make a landing page pop, and even create that infographic that you’ve been dying to make but haven’t had the budget for.

Canva can help any PR pro moonlight as a graphic designer.


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