How to Use Canva to Create Stunning Graphics for Content Marketing

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Anyone can learn how to use Canva for graphic design with its template editor. But here's how to maximize this app to elevate your content marketing strategy.

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You know the importance of creating graphics for your content. But is it effectively supporting your business’s content marketing strategy? Visuals play a crucial role in your digital marketing efforts. It’s how your target audience will first absorb your content immediately. 

If the graphics don’t align with your unique brand, are overdesigned, or don’t connect with the written content it’s paired with, users will quickly scroll past it. 

That’s where Canva comes in. You may already be familiar with or heard of it, as it’s one of the most used graphic design platforms because it’s user-friendly.

Whether you have a graphic designer, a content marketer, or doing DIY, here’s how to use Canva to create stunning graphics that support your bottom line—even if you’re not design savvy. 

Canva: How to FAQs

A person practicing graphic design on a tablet and computer of a woman

Anyone can learn how to use Canva, regardless of whether you have prior graphic design experience. Here are some of the most FAQs if you’re new to this application. 

What is Canva? 

Canva is a graphic design platform for creating content visuals. You can use it for free or buy a Canva Pro subscription to access premium features, like exclusive stock imagery

Is Canva Easy to Use? 

Canva is easy to use because it offers template-based designs to create graphics. Although you can design visuals from scratch, it’s designed to be user-friendly with its template editor-based application. 

What is Canva Used For? 

Canva can be used for vast types of content marketing, including social media posts, blog infographics, flyers, and paid ad creatives. However, it can do more than content marketing, like resumes, cover letters, and sales slideshows.

How to Use Canva to Create Effective Digital Marketing Content

Did you know that visual content receives 94% more views than text-only content? That’s why, you must create compelling visual content to increase brand awareness, market reach, and even SEO. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use Canva for digital marketing to ensure it’s effective.

Understand Your Content Marketing Goals First

What are your content goals with the graphics you want to create when using Canva? Knowing the purpose of the visuals you’re designing is more than where they go. It should also support your content marketing goals. 

For example, if you want to increase engagement on a social media post, consider visuals that interact with your audience more, like polls or giveaways. That way, you create the best graphics that support your content strategy.

Choose a Design Template

A screenshot of Canva's Template design options

Once you create a Canva account, you’ll see a Home dashboard view. If you want to use Canva’s pre-designed templates, click Templates on the left-side navigation bar underneath Projects. They offer free and paid Canva Pro templates organized into various categories and subcategories. 

These template categories include content types like social media, videos, and themed designs like holidays and industries. It even provides platform-specific specs, like Instagram image ad carousels and LinkedIn profile banners for you.

Customize Your Design Template

After selecting your template, next is customizing it—one of the most impactful design steps you take. While Canva’s templates are a solid foundation, you must tailor the visuals to your brand and target audience. 

Don’t get overwhelmed with this part. Canva makes it simple to customize your graphics with its design tools on the same left-side navigation bar. You can drag and drop various elements, including photos or videos from their stock visual library, pre-designed headings, shapes, and more.

Customizing your Canva design templates should include:

Matching Your Branding Visual Guidelines

A screenshot of Canva's Brand Template with side-by-side graphic comparisons

Update the template with your company brand colors, fonts, and logo. The templates or graphics will show a color palette used in the visual at the top of your design draft. You can even set up your branding guidelines under Brand Templates to save it for future designs. Brand Template includes your logos, brand colors, fonts, voice, and more. 

Aligning Your Brand’s Messaging

Write with your brand’s tone, audience, and platform it’ll be on in mind. Does your business use humor like memes? Do you want a corporate tone with simple and professional graphics? Will these visuals be placed on your website’s home page or business cards?

Consider your company’s personality and where the graphics will go when creating text. That way, you’ll know how much to write, the font size to use, and how to develop your messaging.

Personalizing Your Visuals 

Include original product, event, or staff images when possible. If you want to get creative, you can even draw on your graphics with multiple width points, highlighters, and colors. Other design features include free screen recorders for tutorials, photo filters, and image frames

Download Your Created Content

Once your graphics are created and reviewed, the last step is downloading them. In the top right corner, click Share ⬆ and click Download ⬇ in the drop-down menu. 

You’ll find seven download file type options:

  • PNG: Best for complex images and illustrations
  • JPG: Best for sharing
  • PDF Standard: Best for sharing documents and emailing
  • PDF Print: Best for printing documents
  • SVG: Best for web design and animations
  • MPG: Only for high-quality videos
  • GIF: Only for short clips with no sound  

Using the correct download file for your graphics ensures they have the proper formatting.

Common Canva Design Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding design mistakes can seem daunting, especially if you don’t know how to use Canva. Luckily, Canva offers help pages like its Design School, offering free lessons and courses on using its tools for the most effective designs. They also have a Learn blog where you can learn more tips on graphic design, branding, content marketing, and more. 

In addition to Canva’s resources, here are some of the most common design mistakes to avoid when using this platform. 

Overdesigning Graphics

A screenshot of a Canva graphic design draft and sharing a Collaboration Link

Don’t overdo the elements in your graphics. It can harm your content performance if it’s over-designed. 

Common overdesigning mistakes businesses make when using Canva include: 

  • Too much text
  • Not enough white space
  • Overstretching images that become blurry
  • Font on dynamic patterned backgrounds 
  • Too many font styles

Overdesigning graphics can confuse and overwhelm users because there isn’t a focal point. It can also harm your website’s content rankings due to poor image SEO practices. 

With Search Generative Experience becoming more widely used, if Google can’t match your graphics with what users are looking for in Image Search from poor image quality, you can miss ranking and customer opportunities.

Share a collaboration link to test your graphic designs with your colleagues. Click Share ⬆ in the top right corner, next to your image file name. You can set specific user permissions to give people access to your draft if they want to hop in and design or share a Collaboration Link as a preview only. 

Under-designing Graphics

Using Canva for graphic design shouldn’t just be copied and pasted if you want to create stunning visuals that support your content marketing strategy. While stock photos and pre-designed graphics work for some companies, you can gain a competitive advantage with brand awareness through personalized visuals.

Common under-designing mistakes businesses make when using Canva include: 

  • No logos 
  • No brand tone or personality 
  • Misaligned branding design guidelines by using different fonts and colors
  • Not editing the template enough or at all 

As one of the most popular content design platforms, people can likely spot a Canva graphic without customization. It’s like ChatGPT. You can spot pre-created content by the way it’s written or designed due to its template. 

Remember, Canva is your canvas. You’re the creator!

Not Considering User Experience

A screenshot of Canva's Resize and Magic Switch tool inside a design draft

If your audience has trouble reading your graphics on mobile or if the visuals are random for the written text it’s paired with, you risk poor user experience (UX) design in your content. UX design impacts all facets of content marketing, including website design, SEO, and conversion rates. You must make it easy for your audience to understand and absorb your graphics—or your competitors will.

Common UX design mistakes businesses make when using Canva include: 

  • Hard-to-read fonts 
  • Lack of contrasting colors to balance the visual
  • Not resizing graphics for various platforms
  • No clickable URLs when applicable (products, CTA buttons, etc.)
  • Mixed brand messaging—unclear what you’re selling, inconsistent imagery, etc. 
  • Irrelevant stock photos or graphics 

To prevent UX design mistakes when using Canva for graphic design, ensure you test them first. Send Collaboration Links to colleagues and have them check how the visuals look on desktop and mobile. Using graphics as part of the same series can maintain more brand consistency if you’re creating multiple ones within the same project. 

Lastly, always resize your images if you’re using the same graphics for different platforms. With a Canva Pro account, you resize graphics instantly via the Resize & Magic Switch tool in the top left corner of your design draft. 

If you don’t have Canva Pro, you can copy and paste your design into a blank project with the right specs, but it requires manual re-positioning of your graphic elements. 

Elevate Your Content Marketing Graphics Beyond Templates

While Canva makes it simple to create visuals and customize their templates, working with professional graphic designers can elevate your content marketing strategy. Graphic designers offer more competitive positioning, brand consistency, and customization options with non-template-based applications with more design capabilities. 

At Reach Marketing Pro, our graphic design services can personalize your visuals to enhance your content marketing further. We have extensive experience in web design, digital/print publications, packaging, motion graphics, original illustrations, and more. 

Contact us to help bring your brand’s vision to life!

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