Strong graphics are vitally important in content marketing. But how can the less artistic among us create images that don't look like they belong on the fridge door?

By Nick Rink

The old saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words' is as true today as it was when the phrase was coined 100 years ago. For creative agencies and freelancers, designing powerful images is a daily occurrence. But what if you're not blessed with Photoshop skills or the time to learn them? How can you make your graphics look top-notch? Thankfully, there are tools available now that are designed to make things easier. 

Canva has a variety of templates available that cover everything from social media header images to business cards and graphics for blog posts. It uses simple drag-and-drop, and editing takes very little time. If you’re stuck for base images to use then Canva have them available for $1 each, which isn’t exactly going to break the bank.
Allows you to create graphics from scratch using a variety of different effects, and also to quickly edit existing photos that you have. It’s one of those easy to use photo editing tools where you can rapidly get carried away. Some of the features are free and some you have to pay for through a premium Royale account. Well worth having a play.
Another photo editing tool that has a wide variety of options, including a way to make image backgrounds transparent. You can also add animated features like snowfall or pouring rain, just in case it’s dry outside! Not as intuitive as the two above but still useful and worth bookmarking (and it's free!).
If you spend more time doing things via mobile then Phonto is well worth checking out. It allows you to either use an image already on your phone or start from scratch using templates available for in-app purchase. It’s pretty basic – you add text to images, which you can then share via Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere. It's currently available for both Android and iPhone.
Owned by Evernote, Skitch is available for desktop (Mac or Windows) and mobile (iOS or Android). It allows you to quickly add annotations in the form of text or basic shapes to your images. May not be quite sophisticated enough for blog posts but works very nicely for presentation images.

Nick Rink is the founder of Smart Local, a Wimbledon-based digital marketing company with a focus on local search. You can find Nick at Club Workspace Kennington or connect on Google+ and Twitter.