Article Contest Review: Silver Medal Winner

Placing second in our first writing contest is H.M. Judges were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of detailed suggestions in the body of the article, though they found room for improvement (and some typos – please read your articles before submitting) throughout. The full article appears below in bold, with our comments in plain text following the segment being critiqued.

Title: Improving Upon the Traditional Marketing Materials: Booklets, Brochures and Flyers

Our silver medalist did not do her article any favors with this title. Long, extendo-titles with colons or semicolons don’t pop out and grab readers. Without adding anything qualitative, the title could read, “How to Improve Traditional Marketing Materials” or “How to Improve Boring Brochures, Booklets and Banners” (alliteration added for excitement. Aren’t you excited?). Better still, try to quantify the tips. “Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Marketing Materials.” Titles like this earn more views by publishers and are consequently more likely to be published.

Synopsis: Simple tips for improving the quality of booklets, brochures and flyers for more effective marketing materials.

Decent synopsis, but again, the quantity of tips can make a difference for a publisher. Also, try to qualify the type of tips and who is sharing them. “Marketing pro. shares ten key attributes of effective modern marketing collateral, covering design, construction, materials and more.”

Businesses have been using booklets, brochures and flyers to get their company image and information out to consumers for decades because they are an effective form of marketing device.  (We’d suggest rephrasing a bit for clarity.) The problem lays as more companies come into the arena and the competition builds on how to stand out in the crowd.  Consumers have also become immune to many forms of marketing, making it harder for businesses to find new ideas to make them stand out.

The intro paragraph isn’t the strongest. It’s got a few typographical errors. But it also lays out the idea of the article, making a case for the problem the article will attempt to solve.

Booklets, brochures and flyers highlight your products and services and represent your company and corporate branding.  Design is extremely important because it needs to grab consumer’s attention while encouraging them to remember your company’s products and services for future purchases.  Here are a few tips to helping you to improve on the quality of your businesses marketing flyers, brochures and booklets.

This second paragraph introduces the bullet-point tips section well. It’s the start of the promised solutions, contextualized with a bit of detail on the issues to be focused upon. Web Copy Kevin is frowning a bit due to two spaces after each period. Please use just one! Here is why.

  • Be creative – consider unusual shapes, sizes and colors for your brochures, booklets or flyers.  You are trying to get consumer’s interest and keep it, give them a reason to keep your marketing material over a competitor. Last sentence needs reworked or repunctuated. Repunctuated is now a word, I do declare.
  • Improve layout – Fresh and new information and materials are a key component.  Never reuse old information such as pictures, information, etc. when designing a new layout, always give new ideas and materials to keep consumers looking for more.  When you reuse, people tend to start ignoring your printed materials because they believe they have seen it already. Great tip and great job delivering the rationale behind the tip.
  • Use original images – Never use clip art or images you purchase online for your marketing materials.  Once again, people begin to recognize that kind of stuff and unique is the way to gain attention.  Use someone on your staff with camera abilities or hire a professional photographer or graphics designer to create new photos or graphics for your booklets, brochures and flyers.  Do not be afraid to use unusual settings or ideas to create unusual photos. Just this morning, our team was chuckling about the latest seemingly omnipresent stock photo celebrity. We’ve seen him on at least four sites in the past month – which makes us highly skeptical of the quality of those sites. It’s the same for print.
  • Stream line – Make content straight and to the point.  While not a new concept, it is one people tend to forget.  Give consumers the important facts and details without losing them in too much information. It’s tough to distill a sales pitch into a succinct message for marketing collateral. Good reminder. (Idea also applies to blog articles!
  • Balance – Find balance between the Graphics, photos and writing in the layout.  Use images to the max potential to draw people through your marketing materials.  Do not place all the images in one location, example the middle; instead put them in places to draw people’s attention to important information about your company you are trying to pass along. This bullet point isn’t as clearly stated as some others, which could detract from reader take-away.
  • “Call to action” – Always give the consumer a reminder to take action upon what they are looking at.  Give them a reason to contact your company. Crucial tip.
  • Size Does Matter – The size of your brochures, booklets and flyers depends on the size of the events.  The size also has an effect on your bank account as well, so plan consciously.  Consider using larger material for large special PR events such as those planned by your company and smaller ones for keeping in the office or for open events such as trade shows. This concept escapes many pros. In a past life, I watched a company marketing department produce a great catalog in an unusual size. The result was double the postage expenses, which blew the marketing budget for the entire year.
  • Printing – Everything comes down to the printing in the end.  You can design the best layout, have the best photos and graphics and great information but if you go cheap on the printing, it shows.  Use the best printer you can afford but also hire one who spends your money well without wasting it.  Always use high quality papers and inks.  Do not print your marketing materials on the office printer. Very good insight, and one that many small businesses don’t understand.
  • Hire a professional – Do not be afraid to hire a professional company to design, layout and create your booklets, brochures and flyers; these are expensive, important pieces of marketing materials that represent you and your company.  If you or someone in your office cannot produce high-quality materials, get someone who can because this is about producing the best possible image for your company and products with consumers. First impressions matter.
  • Show you care – Use recycled or sustainable produced papers and soy inks for printing purposes.  Companies who care about the environment and improving the world impress many consumers. Some constituencies also strongly prefer to see union print shop “bugs” on the page. Knowing your audience will help make good choices here.

While these tips may not be completely unconventional or new marketing ideas, they do tend to be the ones businesses forget when designing their marketing materials.  By following these simple tips, you can help put your business ahead of the pack, reminding consumers why they should use your services and products.

Nice conclusion! It redefines the issues and confirms that the article has the answers.

Good job to H.M. in delivering the solid, meaty details. It’s no surprise that the article was picked up and awarded to a publisher in just one day! Stay tuned for our critique of the M.K.’s Gold Medal article soon.

Yes That Kevin Hunt Writing / Marketing / Creative Connect with Kevin on Google+

Posted in Creating Content, Writing Better Content

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