Keeping up with content creatorsCool apps that go into the casual content creator’s toolbox
It is 2021, and everybody is a content creator. If people are not leveraging social media to do their own personal branding, they are using it as free space to market their small business, their online startup, book club, social enterprise or homemade brownies.
A picture is not just clicked and posted. Well, it is, but not before it is adjusted, colour corrected, filtered and given a poppy frame, possibly with text accompanying it. Fitness instructors are pushing out workout videos on Instagram, startup CEOs are writing blogs on LinkedIn, mothers makingachaarare getting bookings via Facebook comments, and dermatologists are giving skin tips through TikTok videos.
They all know that content is king. Some may be getting paid for it, and some may not, but they’re all motivated to stay online and keep talking.
People no longer need to pander to the gatekeepers of entertainment, thanks to the web. Social media is a seemingly an even playing field. ‘Seemingly’ because algorithms give more reach to content that receive more engagement, plus a lot of content creators have entire teams hired to handle their pages, while we fumble with our browser tabs. Besides, if we are all publishing content regularly, we are also dealing with increasing competition to get our content liked, shared or commented on.
Content with images get more views than written content, and studies show video content proves to be the most engaging and persuasive format of all communication. Not everyone has a filmmaker, video editor or professional photographer in the family to lean on. Hence, content creation apps have become a staple in every mobile phone – at least, of those who prefer to be self-dependent and tech-savvy.
Millennials today are posting stunning influencer-level photographs and Gen Z kids are sharing videos to express themselves. So, what are they using to create creative content? Here is a list of five apps that go into the casual content creator’s toolbox.
The all-rounder superstar of content creation, Canva has given many budding graphic designers a run for their money with its ability to create drag-and-drop designs of everything from a Facebook cover photo to a presentation cover to a marketing brochure in both digital and printable file formats.
It is the market leader mainly because it offers user-friendliness and customisation options like no other product. Whether you use it on mobile or desktop, with a little practice, you can design beautiful posters, social media posts and invitations like a professional would, in very little time.
Canva puts the ‘can’ in can-do, and it even offers colour palettes, complementary font combinations, free vector icons and readymade templates so that you never have to start with a blank page. The best part: it isn’t just about creating images.
Canva is perfectly suited for those looking to design business cards, educational workbooks, newsletters and flyers as well. All in all, if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to master professional software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Canva is your saviour!
Let us say, you have a beautiful portrait photo, but you want it in square size (1:1 ratio) without cropping any of it, so that it looks better on your feed. Enter InShot, the app that shot to fame for its canvas size options to edit your photos to suit the platform you are placing them on.
Do not underestimate InShot’s capabilities by its welcome screen, a minimalist three-button page that asks whether you want to create a Video, Image or Collage. This app is quite the multitasker and easily one of the essential image and video editing apps that make content packaging a breeze.
When it comes to video, InShot helps stitch video clips into one longer video, letting you adjust speed of footage as well as add music (from an assortment of free tracks available on the app itself) along the way. It even has cool features like the freeze frame or reverse video option. For both images and videos, you can add filters, text boxes, stickers and frames to your content, and you can change the canvas size as well.
Choose from background colours, gradients and patterns to customise your plain white canvas to make it look cute. For those unfamiliar with common photo editing features like adjusting the levels of contrast, warmth, saturation and grain, preset filters can give pictures or video a more polished look and character to it without wasting any time.
For a creativity app that lets you design stylish layouts in vivid colours that will up your social media game in no time, it’s surprising how little people even know about Adobe Spark. You don’t have to be in branding or social media marketing to enjoy the benefits of this sophisticated app that is quite simple to use. Kickstart logo design by gathering and compiling ideas using Spark, on your logo idea, create professional looking Instagram Highlights that impress your followers, or create cool videos and let loose your imagination.
A lot of people pit Canva against Spark, but being an Adobe product, Spark does seem to produce more professional looking content and if you are not a beginner, Adobe Spark will definitely give you more visual value for your efforts. Unique features like a separate editor that lets you create beautiful web pages and the ability to record audio (for voiceover) while editing your video, give Spark a clear edge over other apps in the digital content creation realm.
For a slick video editing app that does not insist on adding its watermark (VivaVideo and BeeCut do) in exchange for being able to use it for free, Quik is the answer. Developed by GoPro primarily for Instagrammers who want to capture their sweet moment or action-packed memories, without spending hours applying every transition, cover, and soundtrack.
Quik also offers a convenient menu of ready templates that encapsulate almost every mood, with colours, fonts and elements to evoke a specific style. A clever problem solver, this app has its own library of special photos or videos beforehand to edit into something nice later, instead of having to scroll through hundreds of files in your gallery to find that one candid gem. The app is so smart, it will even collect content from the photo gallery and create automated videos, like Google Photos does, and serve it up to you every week. User do not have to do anything and they have content at their fingertips.
There are dozens of other apps, but let us end this list with a few special mentions: Adobe Premiere Clip for simply arranging and cutting video clips without rich features, Adobe Lightroom for making average photography look stunning with a few smart filters and touch-ups, and Over for using beautiful typography (words in attractive font) and creating next level Stories.
Saniaa Shah runs Studio Aakar, a film production studio. Her marketing career helped her develop a keen interest in tech and digital culture.