Instagram, or better said Instagram users love beautiful images. They love cool, moody filters, interesting angles, unique typography, anything that’s not “the usual” boring shot. And by looking at some of the most popular Instagram accounts, you notice a few patterns that attract the most engagement.
So you ask yourself, how do they come up with those filters? What apps do they use to saturate colors just the right amount? And how long does it take to get such interesting (and effective) images?
In most cases, it’s a mix of a few apps that do the trick. In this article, I’m going to share with you a few of these apps that will help you get amazing results.
Following is a list of steps and apps to help you take the shot, prettify it with cool edits & filters and add cool design elements and typography.
- First, take the shot.
Usually, the native camera app is pretty good on most smartphones, so you can use that for taking the picture. However, if you want to get some more advanced controls right from the beginning, you can use an app called VSCO.
VSCO is a comprehensive all-in-one camera app that allows you take the picture in DSLR-style (including manual focus) and make advanced edits, including light and color corrections, straightening and filters.
There are many ways you can use the VSCO app, from the basic editing features to the more advanced controls like adjusting the ISO, manually selecting the shutter speed, setting the white balance and manual focus, all of which allow greater flexibility than the native camera app.
You can continue to use VSCO to edit your image or use a different app called Snapseed (Android & iPhone). Snapseed offers slightly more advanced editing features (VSCO is particularly good at assisting you in taking the shot) that give you more creative freedom to play with (shadows, midtones and highlights controls), as well as color editing.
Plus, there’s the handy Histogram that assist you in getting the exposure right. Snapseed has another cool feature that lets you select various editing points and apply corrections only to certain portions of the image.
Snapseed is also useful in removing objects you don’t want in the picture. The tool is like an eraser that eliminates stuff that you don’t want in the shot, such as branches, wires, stains, etc.
You can do all your image editing in Snapseed or take a step further and mix it up a bit with another app called Afterlight. This app is known for its terrific textures, frames and filters. So after you’re done editing the light, color and exposure, you can turn over to Afterlight for more cool layers of filters and effects.
Another tweak you can make is perspective correction. It’s a fact that the wide lens on many of the smartphones is creating all kinds of perspective distortions that don’t look so cool. What you can do is use an app called SKRWT to easily correct those distortions and have a really good end result.
- Add typography and designs.
Depending on your niche, you can spice up your Instagram feed with a few quote images. They work great, people love them and they’re very effective in carrying various calls-to-action, asking questions, running polls and more.
The good news is you don’t have to use complicated software or even Canva to create these cool images. You can even use the ones you already have, make some tweaks, add some design elements and you’re done.
I’m going to share with you a few apps that are very easy to use right from your phone. You don’t need to have any kind of design knowledge, just use your creativity and mix things up to get the results you like.
Typorama is an iPhone app that lets you add different design elements to an image. Open the app and select a background from their library. Next, load the image into the app and double tap to add a text (quote, question, call to action, etc.).
You can prepare your text in advance by pasting it into a notepad document or just use Evernote. Either way, make sure you have the text ready when launching the app.
Once your text is pasted in the app, you can browse through their many fonts until you find one that works for you. When you’re done, you can either share the image on Instagram or save it in your phone’s gallery and make a few more tweaks.
I mentioned that Typorama is for iPhones, so here’s a similar app for Android users. It’s called Phonto and it does pretty much the same thing: adds nice typography to your images. Open the app, pick an image from your gallery, add your text and choose from their fonts library.
- Create a process for your Instagram workflow.
If you’re instagramming just for fun, then you don’t need to worry about posting fresh content on a consistent basis. But what do you do when you want to put up 3-5 images a day? You need a system, pretty much like an editorial calendar for your blog (you do have an editorial calendar for your blog, right?).
This is where Later (formerly known as Latergramme) comes in handy. This app lets you systematize and schedule your content in one sitting. Why you need that? First, because Instagram only allows images to be shared from your phone. You can’t share images like you would on Facebook, right from a desktop computer.
So what Later does is it lets you create a database of content ready to go live and all you need to do is select the images, add the tags, descriptions and set the date and time when you want them to be published.
When the time comes, the app will send you a pop-up message on your phone to remind you of the image that needs to go live. You simply press “Post” and you’re done. Just make sure you set the right time zone when you install the app on your device.
Another thing you can do is manage your audience (e.g. follow who follows you, unfollow unfollowers, add your competition’s fans, etc.). You can do all these things and more with an app called Crowdfire.
Building an Instagram presence is not so daunting, if you work smart, create a process, use simple tools and keep things simple. You can start experimenting with these tools, see how they work for you and you can add or remove some of them from your workflow, based on the results you’re looking for.
How to Get Endless Content Ideas for Your Blog
Smacked you in the head sometimes, right?
Nothing feels worse than slamming into writer’s block. But nothing feels better than having endless content ideas on tap, making you a prolific, traffic and profit driving machine.
Content ideas abound. But you need to learn how to and where to find these ideas to become incredibly prolific.
This feels challenging at first but finding content ideas seamlessly:
- increases brand awareness
- gives your readers a steady stream of content to benefit them
- increases your blogging profits through a variety of income travels
- inspires your readers to defeat writer’s block and other mental blocks
- helps you become a prolific guest poster
- gives you more ideas for future blog posts
Follow these tips to get endless content ideas for your blog guys.
1: Poll Your Readers
Poll your readers via an email newsletter.
Publish posts questioning readers on their biggest problems related to your niche.
Ask readers questions to get blog post solutions.
Content ideas dance around in the minds of your readers.
Just asking my readers on Facebook or Twitter about their most pressing blogging problems is an easy way to get content ideas. Sometimes I probe into their struggles. Other times I just ask if they have blogging questions. Some days I get 10 answers or questions and other days, 1. Keep asking guys. Probing and polling readers provides ample blog post ideas for you.
2: Hang out on Niche Specific Forums
I spend time daily both answering questions and finding content ideas on the Warrior Forum.
Help folks and see what to write about by observing forums aligned with your blogging niche.
See the most popular posts. What questions do people ask? How do people struggle?
Mine content ideas in the struggles of your ideal readers.
Be an active contributor on forums to better tune into the needs of folks intrigued with your niche. By regularly publishing posts on Warrior I can see and hear problems experienced by aspiring or even professional bloggers.
3: Follow Top Blogs in Your Niche
Read top blogs in your niche. Keep an eye out for popular posts. What do folks have problems with?
Read the comment fields to get a feel on what readers are chatting about. Many commentors have few issues sharing their pain points via blog comments. Pay close attention to complaints, rants or folks who share their biggest dreams. Tune in to these emotional push buttons to find an endless flow of prospering content ideas.
4: Become a Life Observer
I have nabbed more blog post ideas watching life than you’d ever believe.
Look at yesterday’s blog post: Blogging Outside of the Lines.
See how I spotted a blog content idea by coloring with my niece? Life presents you endless blog post ideas if you quiet your mind, relax, and become an observer of it all. The key is to cease trying to do stuff and to simply relax, and watch, life unfolding around you.
Review your last trip to the store. Who did you chat with today? What life lessons did you learn recently?
Draw an analogy between your experience and your blogging niche. Stay on blogging topic. Be on point. Speak to your readers while relating to them on a deeper level. Be a watcher. Find unlimited blog post ideas.
Meditate or do deep yin yoga.
Both practices expand your awareness, a must for folks intent on clearing their head trash to find more blog content ideas.
Work these streams diligently.
Calm your chattering mind.
Find unlimited content ideas for your blog.
11 Tips on Finding the Right Infographic Ideas for Your Brand
Infographics have become ubiquitous on the Internet. Whether you’re on Facebook, Pinterest, or Linkedin, you’re bound to come across an infographic online.
Infographics are popular due to their ability to convert complex data and information into something much simpler, making them interesting to look at and easy to understand.
According to Hubspot’s study, infographics are three times more likely to be shared than any other type of content— a perfect investment for those who are looking to bring in traffic and generate leads.
As more infographics are published on the Internet, creating one that will stand out from the rest takes more than illustrations with charts and data. An infographic can have great design but without a compelling topic, it might as well be skimmed through.
So, how do you come up with a compelling topic people want to read?
The truth is, it’s not going to be an instantaneous process. It’s going to take time, effort, and a lot of in-depth research. There are times content creators overlook research and end up with a lackluster infographic.
Figure out who your infographic is for. Knowing your target audience beforehand can make the process of choosing a topic much easier.
Avoid aiming for a wider audience. Instead, aim for a specific group of people. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to work.
By creating a narrow target, it’ll be easier to create effective strategies for the specified target audience. For example, an infographic about basic exercise won’t be of interest for people who are in advanced exercise programs such as Crossfit or calisthenics.
Cook up a (brain)storm
There are a variety of brainstorming methods to use when coming up with ideas for your infographic topic, such as word association, mind mapping, and keyword research. These methods are perfect for coming up with loads of ideas by exploring different angles and connections.
Tools such as Mindmeister and Ahrefs are great for brainstorming and keyword research. Mindmeister lets you create your own mind map online. You can also export the file into different formats and share it with anyone. Ahrefs is a great tool for keyword research, helping you find high-ranking keywords to use for your infographic.
Another way to find ideas for your infographic is to repurpose existing content. These can be from blog posts, videos, or any other type of content.
Repurposing saves you a lot of time and effort. When you’ve gathered the materials you already have on hand, decide on an angle you want to display the information in. For example, if you have a blog post about 30 ways to save money, you can focus and shorten the blog post and instead, do an infographic on 10 money saving tips for impulsive shoppers.
Knowing what is currently trending can also help you come up with ideas for your infographic. A tool like Google Trends allows you to find the most searched keywords. You can see the searches on different topics and different regions.
Although it’s great to have a completely unique topic for your infographic, it’s also important to consider whether or not it’s feasible. Having a topic that’s too niche and has little to no information to support your research won’t do you any good.
A feasible topic has abundant information that’s easy to access and come from credible sources. Since infographics are meant to inform readers and provide valuable content, an abstract or opinion based topic would have little credibility and wouldn’t be very informative.
For more tips and tricks on finding the right infographic ideas, take a look at the visual guide here!
Andre Oentoro is one of the co-founder of Milkwhale, an internationally acknowledged infographic production agency. He helps businesses increase visibility on the internet with visual data and well-placed outreach campaigns. Read more on his latest guide to Viral Infographics and learn how to get the most value out of your website’s traffic.
Are You Afraid to Color Outside of the Blogging Lines?
I am coloring with my 2 year old niece now.
Blog post idea; after 2 photo snaps and a quick analogy realization I figured coloring with a 2 year old conveys a blogging success lesson to you.
My niece does not fear coloring outside of the lines. She is smart as a whip but has yet to master the concept of coloring inside of the lines. Few 2 year olds get this idea.
Scribbling like mad, her work consists of zags, hard lines, zigs, and you better believe she colors almost exclusively outside of the lines. She is as happy as a lark to break the rules, to just be coloring. Coloring is fun to her. Who cares if she stays in the lines?
I instantly thought of my blogging career.
I retired to a life of island hopping through smart blogging by coloring outside of the blogging lines, choosing to do what feels fun to me versus doing what bloggers said I should do.. No email list at Blogging From Paradise. Not much search traffic either because I don’t do the SEO thing. I publish up to 4 blog posts daily. No doubt; I follow certain rules and do color inside of the lines sometimes but largely succeeded because I blog outside of the box, following my fun, pursuing my passion.
You may look at me and wonder how in the heck I do it? You follow all common blogging rules diligently. Yet you may struggle. What gives?
Blogging is an energy game. If you do what feels fun to you, you will succeed wildly. Even if you break rules in the process.
Even though I promote 1 blogging eBook above all else I still wrote 126 eBooks. Big time rule breaker guys. Most bloggers only write 1 eBook and promote the stuffing out of it before moving on to the next eBook. Nothing wrong with that but this is usually a scarcity mindset in action. I preferred to think abundantly and wrote my rear end off. Coloring outside of the lines. Blogging outside of the box.
Follow Some Blogging Rules But Break a Bunch
Nobody becomes wildly successful or lives a dream life through blogging by following all the rules. Rule breakers stand out from the crowd.
Breaking some blogging rules is just like coloring outside of the lines. Some bloggers believe your blog looks a bit sloppy, or disorderly, or that you are doing things wrong, if you color outside of the blogging lines. But these bloggers are usually totally obsessed with doing things perfectly, struggling like heck because nobody is perfect and when you try to be perfect you will fail. Perfection is the fear of failure and the fear of criticism, combined. Don’t let bloggers who color inside of the lines fool you.
How to Succeed by Coloring Outside of the Blogging Lines
Follow your intuition guys.
Listen to the small, still voice.
Trust your gut.
Do what feels most fun to you; not what bloggers say you should do.
I do not build an email list. This is coloring outside of the blogging lines.
Yet I live a life few bloggers live, spending months in Fiji, Bali, Thailand and Costa Rica among other tropical paradises.
No SEO on Blogging From Paradise because I do not want to depend on search traffic. Yet I have circled the globe for the past 7 years as a full time digital nomad.
Break some rules guys.
Do freeing, fun and highly uncomfortable things. Even if doing so pulls you away from the blogging herd.
Color outside of the blogging lines guys.
Live your wildest dreams.
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