Typically, “template” is a dirty word around here. Templates – when used incorrectly – result in your business coming across as cookie cutter. You don’t stand out from your competition, and end up drowning in a sea of similars. Templates make you forgettable.
But, when used correctly, they can keep your business looking fresh and put-together, and save you time and stress.
To get the most benefit from templates, you have to make your own (or hire someone awesome to make them for you *wink*). You can’t use a generic template designed to be suitable for a wide range of businesses and expect it to have a positive effect. It’s “generic” for a reason. The templates you use have to be all about YOU.
WHEN & WHERE
I have several templates I use in my social media posts for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, et al. They are sized to the correct dimensions, already have my logo and URL in place, and can easily be transformed by popping in a different image or adding text.
Those title cards you see in my blog posts? Yep, those are a template. They follow the same guidelines as my social media templates, being sized correctly, and already bearing my branding.
If you plan on having several PDF downloads available for your client, doesn’t it make sense to create a template or two that will serve, instead of designing a brand new one every time you create the content? Especially since you should be creating content on the regular. By getting those templates in place, you have saved yourself a couple hours of work, or left a few dollars in the bank.
If your clients require detailed proposals, having that template in place prevents major headaches down the line.
PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING
If you know you’ll be creating a lot of different versions of one type of media, why not use a template? No need to reinvent the wheel.
GET A DESIGNER
The best and easiest way to create consistent branded templates is to hire a designer to create them for you. Designers are familiar with popular social media size requirements, as well as with the requirements necessary to making digital files easily readable, meaning their expertise can save you vast chunks of time which you can devote to other, more pressing, tasks.
It doesn’t have to be Photoshop; any image creation software that uses layers will work, but PS is the one most people are familiar with. It is important that your software utilizes layers because this allows you to set up several options inside one file. When you go to create your post, you choose the layers you want to use, save it a proper format, and BOOM! done.
Or you can download my FREE premade social media templates in Photoshop format!
CANVA, PICMONKEY, ETC.
There are plenty of online graphic creation options available for little or no cost. Personally, I prefer Canva, but others swear by PicMonkey.
Consistency. That is the number one – and really the only – reason to use templates in your business. Instagram experts tout the importance of having a cohesive look to your feed, and templates are the way to do this. Interspersed with other content, using templates that rotate your brand’s colors, or images that are germane to your brand is the best way to create an instantly recognizable, visual presence.