There was a time when visually stunning, interactive marketing materials with cinema-quality animation, studio-recorded music, and professional photography were exclusively available to large companies with seemingly bottomless budgets. Happily, that’s no longer the case.
Today, awesome design software is available for free to anyone willing to take the 15 minutes or so required to download it and learn to use it. And, that learning curve is pretty level for many applications available right now. You simply need to create your story, and then pick a template, drag and drop images, type your text content and/or record it, select music, and hit go. The App goes to work and creates a presentation in seconds that only a few years ago would have taken months and cost thousands, or even millions, of dollars.
Slate is brand new, and was first released this month. It is intended to help you turn documents that would ordinarily be read, such as newsletters, annual reports, and catalogs into “a beautiful visual story. In Minutes.” With Slate, you pick a layout and theme, add your own content (including text, images, and videos), or select from provided content libraries, and the App does the rest. You can tweak as desired, and can even add call to action buttons such as subscribing to a newsletter, making a purchase, or requesting a sales visit or call. The final presentation can be viewed in a browser or on a mobile device (and adapts to the device and screen size on which it is viewed). Simply share the link, and anyone can view it. The Slate website provides multiple examples of presentations created with the App. You can see how it works in this video. Download the free Slate App for iPad here.
Voice was released about a year ago, and is the spoken word sister to Slate. Rather than focusing on written content, Voice is designed to take a story you record and turn it into a compelling video. You speak your content one line at a time, using the voice recorder built into the iPad. Voice then animates your story using pictures and graphics you upload or select from its library, and adds a professional soundtrack. Tweak the video by choosing different themes, fonts, and colors. The final video can be shared on your website, in an email, or on social media. You can also add it to your camera roll and share it on video sites like YouTube. Samples of Voice videos, including one for a small business, are available on the Voice homepage. You can see how it works in this video. Download the free Voice App for iPad here.
Slate and Voice are only available for use on iPads running iOS 8 and later. If you use a different platform such as Android, or if you want to work from a desktop or laptop computer rather than a tablet, then you’ll need to look elsewhere for an application that can add multimedia jazz to your marketing presentations.
One common choice for desktop and laptop use is Microsoft PowerPoint. While not free, it is often included in the Microsoft software packages for small business computers. If you have access to a newer version of PowerPoint, be sure to check out all of the cool animation features available as well as the ability to embed video and voice into your presentation, and the ability to export as videos that can be viewed on your website or on social media. (For tutorials from beginner to advanced, check out Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 training courses, videos and tutorials.) And, not only can you use PowerPoint on traditional computers, you can get the App free for iOS or Android to use on a tablet or other mobile device.
Another free option that works across all platforms, including Android, is emaze. Emaze is entirely web based. You register for a free account, and you then get access to the application and the library of templates, themes, and images. Simply select a theme, and then start customizing your slides. Each theme contains a slide library, and you choose which ones to add and customize. Not only can you add text and images, you can also add charts, shapes, audio and video. You can embed media from the web, such as YouTube or Vimeo content as well. Emaze will even translate into different languages for you. You can share your presentation using a link or embed code, via email, your website, or social media The free emaze account includes co-branding on your presentations and your emails. With a paid account, the co-branding is removed and you can also save your presentation as an HTML5 package, an MP4, or a PDF that you can independently deploy anywhere you like. The emaze support page includes two tutorial videos that will help you get started. You can sign-up for a free emaze account here.
Bonus Tip: Do you have a great idea for a product or small business? Create an emaze pitch presentation for it and enter the PITCHUP 15 contest. You’ll get the $10,000 prize if your pitch is selected as the winner. The deadline for entries is April 21, 2015, so get started on that emaze video and enter here. Even if you don’t want to participate in the contest, check out the pitch entries here for great examples of emaze presentations.
See weekly Small Business Tips like this one by subscribing to our blog.