This article was originally published on Enplug.
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Get noticed with the right digital signage content creation tools
Digital signage content can help you get your message out, but it only has an impact on your business and team if it’s relevant and compelling. Luckily, turning your content strategy into memorable visuals that get noticed doesn’t have to cost a lot or take hours of time.
Want to know the secret to creating great content, even if you don’t have a graphic designer on staff? Use the right tools. That’s why our list of 27 digital signage content creation tools is a must-have for anyone managing screen content.
Types of Signage Content
You probably already have some of these content tools, but have never thought of using them for screen content. Others are free and low-cost applications that take the headache out of creating original content like videos, graphics, web pages, analytics and social media. And others help you repurpose the content you use elsewhere to share it in a screen-friendly format.
Static & Dynamic Brand Content
Whether you start from scratch, use templates included with your software, or prefer online image and video editing tools, it’s easy to create a sign that captures your message. Static content like graphics and videos do not change after they are uploaded to your displays. Dynamic content automatically changes based on factors like time, weather and location.
Curated & Aggregated Content
Creating new content exclusively for a TV screen doesn’t have to be time-consuming. And yet, communicators know that curating existing content leads to a higher return on investment. The latest digital signage integrations make it easy to display content from social media feeds, websites and more.
Interactive & User-Generated Content
Screen content should capture the attention of your audience. So why not involve them in the content creation process? Interactive content changes based on user input to deliver highly relevant messaging. User-generated content is created and submitted by your audience.
Image Creation & Editing Tools
Turn any idea into an attractive sign with tools that can tweak images, add text and more.
Canva is an intuitive web-based tool that you can use to design for all of your marketing needs. Part of the reason it’s so popular is that anyone can use it. Use our Canva Tutorial to get started with ads, flyers and social media posts. Depending on the size and orientation of your TV screens, you can set the aspect ratios to fit 1920×1080 for landscape and 1080×1920 for portrait.
2. VSCO for iPhone and Android
VSCO is a powerful mobile app you can use to easily edit photos for professional quality images. The filters in VSCO are much more natural than other editing apps which makes them perfect for digital signage content creation and give you more control over the manipulation of your photos. Export your edited photo from VSCO to upload it to your digital signage platform.
3. Adobe Photoshop
Whether you take your own photos, hire a professional, or use stock images, you’ll want to make sure they look right for your brand. Photoshop is an advanced tool that will let you do everything from remove objects in a photo, to change out the background color of an image.
If you don’t already have this program and you want to invest in it, you can purchase the Adobe Creative Cloud photography plan for $9.99 a month. With Photoshop, you can export your work in any number of signage-friendly formats.
Pixlr is a free web-based platform that offers similar features to Photoshop. You can download the mobile app to directly edit photos you take for your digital signage.
5. Place It
Showing potential customers what it will look like when they use your product helps them envision its use and is an effective psychological marketing tactic. Place It, a stock image platform that allows you to easily drop your business images into devices like iPads, iPhones, and Mac screens in stock images, lets you do just that. Export your images and use them in your digital signage.
Bonus Tool: Stock Photo Sites
Sourcing photos can require extra time, but using stock photos is an affordable (or even free) alternative to taking your own or hiring a professional. When you purchase a stock image, you gain the license rights to original professional photography. You can also take advantage of straightforward free Creative Commons licensing. Just be sure to check the attribution terms.
Paid stock image websites:
Free stock image websites:
Presentation & Chart Tools
If you prefer the simplicity of classic Microsoft tools, Powerpoint will let you create designs in a setting you’re most likely familiar with. Export a single static slide as a JPEG or PNG. To show off text transitions and embedded content, export your slides as video files.
7. Google Slides
Google’s free cloud-based presentation maker is an easy way to create content. For example, build digital menu boards, graphics to announce special promotions, or signs that celebrate a team member who has gone above and aboard. With the same functionality as Powerpoint, you can download the slides from Google Slides to share them on your TV screens.
You can get much more creative with Prezi, an alternative tool to Powerpoint and Google Slides. Working in one large canvas in Prezi allows you to pan and zoom. Zoom in on each detail and add emphasis to points in your presentation.
When you’re finished designing, share your Prezi masterpiece via a link that can be uploaded to your digital signage.
Venngage is a popular option that helps anyone visualize and share their data in a beautiful way. With a built-in brand kit, it’s even easy to make sure all your designs are consistent. The free option gives you access to many of the tool’s key features, but if you want to change the size of your design or other advanced options, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Similar to Venngage, Visme offers a solution for transforming data into compelling presentations. According to the product’s documentation it distinguishes itself from the competition with even more templates and advanced features like animation.
11. Google Drawings
A free Chrome add-on, Google Drawings makes it easy to create charts and diagrams to display on your digital signage. You can use these in conjunction with any data tools you use to communicate metrics to your employees. Plus, the flow charts and graphs can be easily inserted into other documents or embedded into a website.
Piktochart makes it easy for content creators with limited design skills to create compelling infographics, charts, maps and more from their data. To get started all you need to do is upload your data, then choose from the many customization options. Export your design to share your final product.
Video Creation & Editing Tools
Video is a powerful format for digital signage, but creating it doesn’t have to be complicated. These tools will let you edit and export videos for upload to your digital signage platform.
13. iMovie/Windows Movie Maker
Whether you have a Mac or a PC, your computer likely came equipped with a video editing tool that you can use to make simple videos. Add text, logos and even retouch the color on your footage with these tools.
WeVideo is a cloud-based software that lets you collaborate with your team on video projects. You can shoot, upload and edit videos from anywhere and your entire team can access the files during all stages of your project.
If video editing seems like too much work, think about using a tool like Magisto. All you have to do is upload your footage. Magisto’s software then runs a visual analysis to detect facial expressions, speech, and camera motion. After automatically sourcing all of the engaging points in your footage, Magisto asks you to choose an editing style and automatically brings your brand story to life.
If you don’t know where to start, Biteable puts a variety of video templates organized by use case at your fingertips. From colors to text, there are tons of customization options that are easy to navigate in a step-by-step builder. Plus, Biteable includes a library of stock footage and music so you don’t have to leave the app to find the right elements for your video.
17. DaVinci Resolve
If you’re looking for a video tool that’s more powerful, check out DaVinci Resolve. This non-linear editing (NLE) software lets you edit video offline, so the original content isn’t modified. While there’s a bit of learning curve with some advanced features, overall the interface for editing functions is very intuitive. And it’s rare to find such powerful editing software that offers free versions for Mac, Windows and Linux.
Live & Dynamic Content Feeds
Signage apps offer powerful integrations that make almost any digital signage idea a possibility.
18. Social Media Aggregators
Social media is free word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. Better yet, it’s content that always stays up to date. Use a social media aggregator like Tint or Enplug’s Social Media Collage App to show the latest social media posts on displays in your offices or stores.
19. Web pages
Many digital signage solutions can display web pages in fullscreen. Think bigger than just displaying your homepage: You can use web pages as an exciting alternative to static digital signage graphics. Display a website to pull in real-time waitlists, polls, spreadsheets and dashboards.
20. Live Streaming
If your digital signage platform includes a live-streaming functionality, you can show live video on your displays. This is a great way to broadcast important events, share announcements, or show feeds from conferences or sermons.
21. Analytics & Dashboards
As more companies become data-driven, digital signage is a powerful tool HR directors and business managers can use to increase productivity and motivation. Use a native app or web url to display content like key performance metrics, Google Analytics and Salesforce data to keep your team informed and focused on goals.
Bonus Tool: Dashboards
- Geckoboard: connects to all your data sources (e.g. Salesforce, Zendesk, Basecamp, Excel) and displays your most important metrics. See our tutorial on how to do this here.
- Google Sheets: use the free Google Sheets as a digital signage content creation tool for graphs of your most important data and metrics. See how you can create automatically updated graphs like this here.
22. News Feeds
Keep your customers engaged and your employees informed on breaking news. Source relevant industry blogs like Wired, The Wall Street Journal or ESPN and stream their RSS feeds to your displays.
Use an RSS-to-HTML tool to show the latest news as a web page and stream it to your screens, or use Enplug’s built-in News App.
Nothing beats weather for a conversation starter. It’s also content that as we your employees and guests check at least once a day. Display the current forecast from anywhere in the world and give your guests a look into next week’s conditions as well.
Many digital signage solutions like Enplug offer a built-in Weather app or scrolling weather feed. You can also use a web url to display a weather website for your location.
Interactive & User-Generated Content Tools
24. Dynamic Interactive Videos
Although these require a touch screen enabled display and compatible software, interactive videos are popular marketing tools. Give the viewer control over what happens in the video and show how the action unfolds from their perspective. It’s an innovative way to engage your audience with your brand storyline while showing off your products.
Bonus Tool: Interactive Video
Poll your employees on workplace preferences or your customers on their favorite products. Sharing polls with your audience demonstrates that their opinions matter to you and offers specific insight into what your customers need or like most about your business.
Bonus Tool: Polling Platforms
- Twitter: Twitter’s native polling capability lets you get started composing polls right away.
- Poll Everywhere: A more extensive tool that offers features like “text to vote”
26. Review Sites
You likely work hard to manage positive reviews for your business. Get more from that investment by sharing accolades on digital signage throughout your workplace. Highlighting positive reviews can encourage customers to buy more in store and also show your employees that their hard work is paying off.
Share review site content through a web page display or a direct integration with one of the more popular review sites. For example, Enplug has apps for Yelp and TripAdvisor. While either method works, apps will give you the advantage of being able to pre-approve only those review you want to highlight.
You don’t want to wait to get the most use out of your digital signage investment. That’s why more and more software providers are including content that their customers can use from day one.
Templates are professional designs with text and colors that can be customized to your business. Common use cases include employee recognition announcements, holiday announcements and sales promotions.
In most cases, digital signage providers offer either templates that can be downloaded, customized and then re-uploaded to a platform or an interface that allows users to customize signs without ever leaving the platform. With Enplug’s Templates App you can even upload a spreadsheet of names and dates to automatically trigger sign customization.
Conclusion: Make your content creation ideas reality!
As you outline your content strategy, get inspired by the many options you have to entertain shoppers, set the environment for your office, inform your guests, and drive sales. Consider the digital signage content creation tools we’ve included above to get started creating both static and dynamic options for your digital signage solution.