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The Seven Commandments of Brochure Creation

Hotels have them, tour companies often stock them and hospitals almost always have them. I’m talking, of course, about brochures – Those portable, tri-fold sheaves of paper that come packed with information, a bucket load of graphics and vibrant colors. It’s tempting to pick them up and skim through the contents. Actually, that’s the point of a brochure: It’s supposed to have information that you can carry around and read at your own spare time.

Brochures not only save a reader’s time by making information readily available (reading information on paper is less of a hassle than going online and searching for it), but it also establishes credibility of a company. Moreover, those rich sheets of brightly colored glossy paper can be used in direct mail or given to distributors to improve sales. It can also be a part of an existing ad campaign.

So, how can you write a good brochure – one that you know a potential customer will pick up and slide inside their purse? Here are some golden rules to get you started:

Photograph by OBprod via Bigstock

Thou Shalt Provide Value to Readers

Sure, you’re writing a brochure for your client’s products or services, but your first priority is to provide valuable information to your readers. No one wants to read a pamphlet about a company’s achievements or its history. As yourself this question: Will reading this leaflet enhance your audience’s lives or solve a pressing problem? Usually, brochures answer frequently asked questions, lay down a step-by-step guide of a process (how-tos) or list down pros and cons (or advantages and disadvantages).

Thou Shalt Never Be Boring

A brochure is supposed to catch a prospect’s attention. You can’t do that by writing mechanically. Use active voice to sound more clear and authoritative, list down key points in bullets or numbers and write short and crisp sentences. Furthermore, your cover page should include a catchy phrase or intriguing question in order to pique their interest.

Thou Shalt Have a Contents Page for Long Brochures

If you have a long brochure to write – say eight pages or more – it’s a good idea to create an index or contents page at the beginning. A list of contents helps readers navigate the text and provides a structure to your brochure. It makes it look more professional and well-written. Furthermore, use your imagination when listing down the contents. Instead of introduction, the headings and conclusion, think out of the box for witty labels.

Thor Shalt Add Design and Colors – and Keep Some White Space

Pamphlets are meant to have designs and rich colors. However, don’t overcrowd the pages by stuffing them with visuals. Find a good balance between text and visuals. Most importantly, don’t forget to keep some white space. Ample research shows that white space is a great tool to draw a reader’s attention to certain points and relaxes their eyes when their drinking up lots of information.

Thou Shalt Experiment with the Brochure’s Shape

Yes, a majority of the brochures made today are shaped in A4 size. But you want to stand out from the crowd, right? If your budget and client allow it, experiment with the leaflet’s shape. If you’re writing for a store, make it an apple shape. If you’re writing for a beverage company, shape it like a bottle. Get creative!

Thou Shalt Steer Clear of Generic Stock Images

You won’t be fooling anyone by using stock images of people in general situation. Put some effort in your brochure and use customized photos, illustrations and make your own diagrams. Hire a graphic designer if it’s necessary.

Thou Shalt Always Include Call to Action at the End

This is perhaps the most important golden rule listed here and one that gets ignored most often. Always, always include a call to action at the end of your brochure. Include the link to a website for more information, a phone number they can call, a sample of your product (if possible) or an email address they can use to contact someone. After pages of providing information and persuading them to use a product or service, it’s imperative to follow through and motivate them to act. Think of it like your final act in a play.

Although most of a company’s marketing now takes place on the Internet, there is no denying the fact that reading information on paper still holds its charm. It decidedly takes away the effort needed to conduct a Google search on a laptop or go online on your mobile phone. Take the above golden rules and write an amazing brochure – one that you know will be picked up, read and kept in a purse for safekeeping.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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