I moved to St. Helena a few months ago and I love the serenity of this little village in the heart of the California wine country. Moving to a new town can be lonely, so I joined the Chamber of Commerce. I was motivated by a workshop that was jointly produced with the Calistoga Chamber. I figured this would be a great chance to make new business connections. The format consisted of a series of speakers, divided into four categories, with presentations from local companies.
Their goal was to provide information about what you’d need to know if you were doing business here. I assumed this would be a huge snooze, but boy, was I wrong. Each presenter had a PowerPoint and exactly 5 minutes. The slides were timed, so believe me, it kept the presenters on the move. This was information delivery in a speed-dating format. The team who worked on this event did a superb job—I’d lost faith in Chambers of Commerce, but this program was relevant and expertly produced.
The St. Helena Chamber President, Pam Simpson, used her five minutes to talk about some of the great tools she and her team had been using to streamline their communications and upgrade the quality of their presentations and web postings. She named five applications, and I hadn’t heard of any of them. Let’s face it—we’re all busy, doing more with less. There are approximately a gazillion social media applications that all do the same thing and more standalone apps than we know what to do with. When I hear about fabulous new applications I groan and think about the time it takes to identify and ramp up to using them. I don’t care how easy they are to use—there’s ALWAYS a learning curve!
Pam knew what she was talking about
But Pam assured us that these were both easy to use and had become terrific productivity enhancers for her team. I went home and tried one of these, Piktochart. Happily, Pam was right.
Piktochart: Infographics made ridiculously easy
If you’ve been paying attention, infographics have become an important part of information delivery for social media and other forms of electronic delivery. They’re clever, fun, colorful and provide easy assimilation of key facts. But if you’re not a graphics whiz kid, or if you don’t have a graphics program, creating an infographic can be laborious. I’ve had some good ideas, but I knew I’d be using Apple’s Pages to create my high-res image, and this application is cumbersome, and it would require a significant time investment. The result? My infographic has been on hold for a long, long time.
Piktochart’s self-contained library makes this a breeze
Just as Pam promised, all you do is create a login and this app opens up a world of easy possibilities. There are some very workable free templates, drag-and-drop technology, images and fonts. You can import your own logo and images to customize this, of course—you’re not stuck with what they give you as a default. You can change the color palette, and something I really like—as you work, Piktochart autosaves so you don’t lose track of time and end up losing your work if your browser craps out.
Piktochart: more functionality available
There are also templates for presentations, posters and flyers. Since statistics are the heartbeat of infographics, many of these templates come with readymade stats that I’m going to assume are correct. I googled a few of these to doublecheck, and they were spot on, but would always want to confirm them before using in any product.
- The free version has 13 templates that are fully customizable.
- If you want more options, you can pay $15/month and access more than 400 templates and more features.
- If you want even more functionality, you can opt for the Pro version, at $29/month.
- What may make these advanced options attractive for some users: turnkey infographics. I searched the comprehensive library of 400 templates for content marketing and came up with an infographic that was excellent. If I were a pro user, I might be tempted to use this as-is, or make only minor adjustments.
Infographics have become an important medium for information delivery. I’m delighted to have discovered Piktochart and can’t wait to try out the other applications that Pam recommended at the Chamber of Commerce event.