While the pull of going paperless proves strong, printed marketing materials still draw significant attention. And, not done well, these pieces negatively impact your campaign. An effective brochure copywriter knows just what you need in this old-school format.
You may face considerable doubt as to whether printed brochures are worth the investment. But, keep in mind that there are consumers who do not engage digitally on a regular basis. Plus, some skepticism exists for many consumers about purchasing from unknown, unseen online vendors.
(Also, basic brochure design principles (with some variation) apply whether you intend to print or post online.)
Modern technology and software bring the tools needed to create high-quality brochures to your office, even your home. However, the skills to make the magic happen do not come included with the purchase price.
Graphic design and content knowledge are required to get the best results. While a professional brochure copywriter spins great content for you, the cost and other factors may deter you from hiring for this purpose.
If you are determined to do it on your own, I have a few tips to get you started.
Your thought process before putting pen to paper or fingertips to keys play a vital role in producing an attention-getting brochure. As with most work, pre-planning your strategy and considering your audience focuses your creation efforts and saves time in the long run.
In your excitement to get started and with all those great ideas buzzing about your brain, do not forgo this step. An excited flow of ideas tends to get tangled right about halfway through the project. And, sorting out the mess breeds frustration and a sense of being stuck.
Know Your Audience
Just as with online marketing, you must understand what your reader wants before creating a brochure. First, identify your audience demographics. Consider their age, economic status, education level, interests and such. Knowing who you are speaking to focuses your design.
Second, learn what interests your reader in a brochure. Is this population looking for information? Would product pricing be a reason to pick up a pamphlet? Effective brochures answer the needs of your target market.
Define Your Purpose
Once you establish a clear understanding of your audience, write down the purpose and strategy of the brochure you intend to create. Keeping the needs of your target in mind helps focus the brochure. Think about if you want the pamphlet to:
- Tell the story of your product or service.
- Promote a particular product or line of products.
- Represent your overall business.
- Draw people to attend an event.
- Highlight specials and promotions.
If you find your focus too broad, consider printing separate brochures to address each purpose. Or, move some of the content to other marketing formats such as a website or ebook. Whether using a brochure, pamphlet or mini-catalog format, the focus should be singular.
When laying out strategy, also consider:
- Print or online usage.
- Print quality.
A balancing these factors produces a product that fits your company’s needs as well as those of the consumers. Plus, you and your team land on the same page which boosts collaboration efforts.
Set the Pace
The flow of content and images in design is referred to as pace. Developing the right flow encourages readers to flip to the next page. In other words, think of your brochure as a story.
Likely, you have closed the cover on at least one all-too-slow novel. Use story elements to create your pace and avoid this response. For instance, the cover is your hook or attention grabber. And, variety (without chaos) of content, images, oversized quotes and more leads the reader through the rest of the tale (or brochure).
Capture Reader Attention
While this point is made throughout these tips, focusing on the reader is worth a brief but separate mention. Keep in mind throughout the design and content process what you know of your audience. You are creating for them.
Be certain your brochure interests and appeals to their senses. This includes all aspects of the brochure from content to images, from color choice to font style and size. You may be impressed with the final print, but if your audience is not, unfortunately, the work is in vain.
Make It Save-Worthy
Helpful information, practical tips and even intriguing facts make readers hold onto brochures or pass them to interested friends. When planning your design and content, think about the information your audience keeps. Attractive, informative brochures are hard to throw out.
How-to briefs, lists of hints, pro tips or creative product uses grab attention. Consumers tuck these knowledge builders into purses and keep them on the counter to look at again. Plus, when they do, your company information comes flooding back as well.
While design jumps to mind in the layout of a brochure, content still reigns king. A beautiful but empty marketing piece holds attention for as long as it takes something else to catch the eye (which is not long in our distracted culture).
But, quality content engages readers. The text is what puts a consumer into the images personally. In other words, copy enables a reader to envision his or herself using your product or taking advantage or your service.
Jargon and fancy language distance consumers from your product. Including such elements makes your reader feel inferior, spoken down to, unintelligent, perhaps even unworthy of your product or service. Not the impression you are going for if you want sales.
Instead, stick with clear, understandable language. Conversational text proves easy to read, easy to get and easy to digest. Plus, it does not distract from your message. Consumers appreciate being spoken to on this level. (Again, know your audience!)
Get to the Point
In support of being clear, brochures require short, simple statements. Cliched phrases and figurative language fail to achieve your goals. Instead, make literal statements which get to the point. And, inform with every sentence or bullet.
Furthermore, too much information overwhelms readers and muddies your message. To keep consumers focused on the objective, give only the necessary information in the fewest words. Combining text with relevant, well-chosen images helps clarify this as well.
Consider the last time you heard an influential speaker. Likely, you felt as if the message was directed at you alone. Perhaps even the points felt derived from your personal experience. Did it not empower or convict you to make changes in your life?
Capitalizing on the writing style which conveys the idea, “I am talking only to you” increases response. To do this, return to your audience knowledge (See how helpful that work is?) and imagine you are speaking to one solitary member of the group. Write only to him or her.
Craft Clear Headlines
Marketing research and journalism practices prove that headlines impact readers. With the fast pace of our lives, these titles sometimes become the only content we read, the only information we digest. They are that important. But, they also pull us into the greater content.
In the same vein, brochure headlines engage consumers and help with the flow of the content (Remember pace?). They also make content skimmable and offer varying entry points into the information which increase readership. After all, the pace of modern life decreases consumer reading time.
Keep these tips in mind as you brainstorm headlines:
- Avoid vague company information.
- Focus the title text on your primary objective.
- Convey what you are offering the reader.
- Use a free headline creator.
Always Include a Call to Action
The truth of the matter is that if you want consumers to take action, you need to be clear on what they are to do. Keep the wording of your call to action (CTA) succinct and clear. Make it stand out in design. And, include it on each page of the brochure.
For instance, you may want brochure readers to:
- Visit your website or store.
- Follow you on social media.
- Use your QR code.
- Purchase a product.
- Attend an event.
- Take advantage of a promotion.
Let your purpose and strategy craft your CTA. But, above all, include one. Without a strong CTA, your brochure objective fails no matter how amazing the design or content.
While content is king, combining copy with excellent design draws the eye. After all, a body of text printed across a tri-fold does little to inspire readers to engage. In part, your brand informs choices in this area. Brochure elements need to be consistent with your image.
Also, as you plan the graphic elements of your brochure, again, keep your audience’s preferences in mind. For example, if you target creatives, a standard rectangle format proves uninspiring. Or, if traditional colors represent trust to your readers, neon options fail to send the right message.
Take Stock of Paper
Details matter in marketing. Paper and print quality fall within these details. The choice of stock to print on easily overwhelms. Just one walk down the aisle at Staples reveals a variety of weights, colors, finishes and brightness ratings. (And, this supply is a limited sampling!)
However, this choice is worth the time investment. Paper choice impacts the print quality and overall appearance of printed materials. Plus, how a brochure feels in the hand of a consumer matters. It portrays trust, professionalism and a good first impression when done right.
(For a comprehensive post on paper choice, check out The Art of Choosing the Right Paper.)
Watch the Fonts
And, if you think paper choice overwhelms, just one look at a lists of fonts just might bury you. Good news! Limiting the fonts used in a brochure offers a more aesthetically pleasing, effective product.
Consider these hints to narrow the wide list of fonts:
- Look to your brand or corporate identity to find similar styles and feels.
- Use fonts which prove to work in other projects.
- Choose no more than a heading, subheading and body copy font (though two are sufficient).
- Make sure fonts are readable in typeface and size (9 to 10.5-point recommended).
- Reserve display fonts for headlines and other special purposes.
- Select fonts compatible with one another.
Choose Colors Wisely
The hues of your brochure again rest on two considerations. One, your brand. And, two, your target audience. If the leaflet is business oriented, keeping colors in line with your brand is recommended. This design choice eliminates confusion and breeds familiarity.
For nonbusiness brochures, do your research. Color elicits emotion. Use hues which have meaning to your audience and draw the desired response. Or, select colors which promote the vibe of the event you are promoting.
Use High-Quality Images
The variety of combining font, color and layout with imagery builds a brochure which attracts consumers. Stock images (or custom photography if you have the budget) relevant to the copy, primary objective and your audience raise the level of professionalism and interest.
Resolution plays a vital role in quality. If the brochure is to be printed, image resolutions of 300 dpi or greater maintain print quality. However, if the end product is for online use, lower resolutions keep file sizes small for easy downloading, emailing and mobile friendliness.
A few other considerations include:
- Keep images consistent in both style and image.
- Choose unique photos which do not look stock.
- Avoid clip art.
- Honor white space by wisely limiting text or images.
- Check copyright status of all photos used.
Thinking outside the box of the standard trifold brochure intrigues readers and gets you noticed. Creativity sets you apart from the sea of competitors.
For instance, the cover of a brochure is your main hook. If this component of your design fails to engage consumers, the inside goes unseen. Think creatively along these lines:
- Mix up the shape with die cutting.
- Add a thought-provoking statement.
- State a benefit in less than five words.
- Include a flash on a special discount.
- Promise a free report.
- Hint at a trade secret.
- Extend an exclusive invitation.
Talking with a Brochure Copywriter
For the reasons of establishing credibility and sales, creating quality brochures is worth your investment. Whether used to back other advertising efforts such as direct mail and online promotions or to present a professional image to consumers, brochures are the answer.
But, again (as with all marketing content), they must be done well.
If you need quality brochure copywriter services, we come to your aid. Let’s talk. Contact us today for a free consultation to get your content ready to print or post digitally.
P.S. Comment below on your most effective use of brochures.