10 Surefire Ways to Add Sizzle to Your Brochures

by : Shannon Cherry, APR, MA

Businesses rely on brochures as their front line in communicating their products or services. Yet according to Shannon Cherry, APR, many find them not as successful because they underestimate the skills and resources necessary to publish attractive and effective materials.

“Most people forget a brochure is important because it represents you to the world and reflects your image," says Cherry, president of Cherry Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that helps businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations be heard.

“But the best brochures do more than impress," she says. “Effective copy and design can intrigue, inform, convince and capture customer business just as an effective salesperson does. Brochure effectiveness is linked to an audience-appropriate marketing strategy that drives the design process."

Cherry shares the following top ten list of hints can help your brochure put its best foot forward:

1. Keep headlines short. According to studies, headlines with fewer than ten words get more readership.

2. Focus your headline on your target audience. Show a picture of your target group and make sure the headline has the groups description in it. For example: If you are targeting moms, uses a headline like, “Moms Know Best."

3. Keep text lines at a comfortable length. Body copy lines should never be shorter than the font size or longer than double the font size.

4. Keep paragraphs - especially lead paragraphs - short. Perhaps even one sentence.

5. Use graphical dingbats including bullets, hyphens, and asterisks, to break up text.

6. Use captions to draw the reader in. Next to the cover, captions are the most read items in a brochure.

7. Set captions in a different style.

8. Avoid typographic overkill by using too many CAPS, italics and bolds.

9. Stick to no more than three different fonts in a brochure.

10. If you use photos with people in them, make sure their heads are at least the size of a dime.