Ivan Levison —
Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting

Six ways to create better brochures

If you're going to create a brochure for your software, here's a an important point to remember.

Unlike a humble flyer that doesn't cost very much and can easily be reprinted, a full-blown brochure represents quite a little investment. Even if you're going two- or three- color, you'll pay plenty after you're finished with photography, illustration, type, printing, binding, and so on. In order to help you get the most for your money, here are some practical brochure tips and techniques that you can put to work next time around:

1 Keep the cover simple. Forget about trying to do too much on the front cover. All you need on that surface is one clean, clear concept that positions the material that's about to follow. Stay away from the clichés that everybody else is cranking out. Please. No more "committed to service", "dedicated to meeting your needs", etc.

2. Consider keeping the inside front cover empty. It gives a brochure a nice, open look. White space never killed anybody. You don't have to jam in a message every chance you get. Besides, since the reader holds that easily-curved cover page at an angle when reading, it's not the place to go into excruciating detail about your product's or service's many benefits.

3. Deal in spreads, not individual pages. With a nice-sized piece you can run your graphics across two pages and make use of the sweeping scale a brochure spread provides.

Why organize your piece around individual pages when you've got a nice big area to work with? Again, don't be afraid of white space. Your designer will love you!

4. Don't forget the subheadlines. They're a great way to break up copy and give the reader a chance to see where you're headed should they not want to read every single word of body copy. A subheadline can make an emphatic statement, ask a question, be playful or serious as the situation requires.

5. You can use a box for added impact. Everything doesn't have to flow in long columns of type. It's often nice to drop some important information (like a Question & Answer section) into a one-point fine-ruled box. It gives the piece some extra visual interest. Use a dropped-in box to highlight material. Maybe it's the perfect place to put your testimonials.

6. Remember the call to action. Shocking to say, but many writers forget to tell the reader what to do! Do you want people to call a sales center, schedule an appointment, fill out and return a tipped-in postage-paid business reply card, make a phone call, or place an order? Hey. You can't make them guess. You have to tell them and provide them with motivating reasons that will get them moving. This is where you have to (tastefully) apply direct selling techniques within a corporate identity environment. When in doubt, err on the side of selling!

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