1-2-3 © by Pimlico Badger

An IT firm wanted to know how to write a brochure.  They had even come up with some preliminary text:

ABC Company is a professional IT consulting firm specializing in strategic information technology services that help you drive business results. Our principals are experienced consultants with an average of 15 years’ experience. Our clients range from small firms to Fortune 500 companies.

Everything they wrote was factual and important.  Unfortunately, it was also boring and would never get read.

I take a strategic approach when writing a brochure, to grab and hold my reader’s attention and, more importantly, get my reader to do something.

Luckily, it’s simple – just 3 easy steps:

 

  1. Identify your reader’s problem.
  2. Show your reader how you solve the problem.
  3. Tell the reader what to do next.

 

1. Identify your reader’s problem.

What big issue is your customer facing?  What problem does he need your help to solve?

Start off your brochure by stating this problem, even if you think it’s obvious.  Why?  It will make you frame your entire message in terms that matter to your customer – which I guarantee will catch his attention.

For my IT client, after a little research I determined that their customers were business owners who’d grown their companies into multi-million dollar ventures, and they were worried about being able to still making smart strategic decisions.  So I scrapped what my client had written and instead started out their brochure like this:

Gut instincts alone aren’t enough to manage a growing enterprise. You need strong analytics to make the quantifiable strategic decisions that will drive your continued success.

But can you trust the data you’re using?

ABC Company helps you implement the technology that will get you to sound, reliable, profitable business decisions.

Made you want to read a little more, didn’t it?

 

2.  Show your reader how you solve the problem.

Once you’ve caught your customer’s attention and framed the issue from his point of view, now tell him how you can help him fix the issue.

But remember, ALWAYS focus on the customer.  Don’t tell him what you do and why you’re great.  Tell him what you do and what benefit he can expect.

In this case, as I was writing the brochure I systematically walked the reader through the various services my client offers, and I described my client’s experienced staff and amazing portfolio.  But these weren’t just accolades for the sake of thumping my client’s chest; I explained everything in terms of the quality of work that their customer could expect, and I continually tied it back to the ultimate benefit of generating quality data that would lead to smart business decisions.

 

3.  Tell the reader what to do next.

This is easy to forget.  But it’s the whole reason you create a brochure or any marketing piece in the first place, right?  To get the reader to do something?

In my client’s case, we used a simple but prominently placed call to action:

 Call (555) 555-5555 today to learn more!

Short, sweet, to the point…and the most important sentence in the entire brochure.

 

4.  BONUS:  Delete as much as you can, to say only what’s most important.

I’ll give you a bonus tip, just because I like you.  (Actually, if you’ve read my other articles, you’ve probably heard me say this already!)

Brevity is mission critical.  I know it can be tempting to include every last detail, but trust me, resist that urge.  Write only what you absolutely have to – no more, no less.  If you can delete a word, a phrase or even a sentence, and it won’t materially impact the message, DO IT!

Here’s my secret:  I play a little writing game with my work sometimes.  I’ll write out a half-way decent first draft.  I’ll note the word count.  And then I’ll pretend I’m under orders to cut that word count by 30%.  Sometimes it’s a struggle; I’ll have to play around with phrasings to see if I can make the same point with fewer words.  But it always results in stronger writing.  Try it; you’ll be amazed.

The next time you need to write a brochure, with these tips you’ll find it easier to capture your reader’s attention and get them to take the action that gets you new clients.  Of course, feel free to run your brochure writing questions by me.  I’m always happy to help!