Ease in Writing
Writing Tips from Full Circle Communications
November 2009
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Ease in Writing?

"Ease in writing" comes from a poem by Alexander Pope, the British poet:

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.

Foot step chartNote he (and I) didn't say "easy writing." But just as dance lessons can help get you around the floor with your partner more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two to improve how you and your organization communicate in writing.
Building a Better Brochure
Brochure folding machineDo we even need brochures in this day of websites, Facebook pages, and phone apps?

"Brochures aren't going away," says Sally Behnam, president of the marketing and branding firm Design 4 Future LLC. "There are times--a trade show, a visit to their office, a follow-up mailing--when your target market needs to see something tangible about your company."

If that's the case, how can we create brochures that work? Here's her advice:
  • Think small runs, refreshed frequently: Digital printing allows you to print small quantities (up to 2,000 copies) economically. You can update the brochure more often, or have different versions for different purposes. (Caveat: Digital printing cannot handle embossing, die-cuts, and other touches of more high-end pieces.)
  • Coordinate print and online messaging: Besides hard copy, post the brochure as a PDF. The brochure's content (headlines and text) and design should go hand-in-hand, as well as stay consistent with other marketing materials.
  • Use the space efficiently: "Negative" space for easy reading, clean design, and photographs help the reader. (In contrast, a large generic photo of a computer doesn't say anything and just diverts focus from the main message.)
  • Give a call to action: The purpose of the brochure should be easy to figure out. Include an easy way to contact you (not just go to your website) for more information.

And here are a few ideas that I find improve the writing:
  • Don't keep the target audience a secret: Whether you ask someone else to write the content or you do it yourself, be very clear about who is the target reader. This knowledge helps determine the main point of the brochure, the tone to use, and the language. It is really basic, necessary information.
  • Grab 'em: Headlines guide the reader through the brochure. Heads and subheads like "Background" and "Services" are a wasted opportunity. On the front cover, what about something more enticing than just the name of your organization?
  • Bring in a fresh eye: Readers notice mistakes. Ask a sharp-eyed colleague to look at every word and image before printing. After a while, your own eyes glaze over and you can miss something.
Check out some of Design 4 Future's samples or contact me with your own "lessons learned" or questions.

No One Path
No One Path book coverNaval officers, start-up entrepreneurs, senior-level corporate execs: these and other women are profiled in No One Path, a book published in mid-October by Women in Technology.

The 48 women, all of whom had won a WIT award in the last decade, describe their own often circuitous careers and give practical advice.

I was fortunate to interview and write about two of the women in the book. As the title suggests, they have taken very different paths: Linda Keene Solomon is a partner at Deloitte and Kelly Harman is the CEO of her own smaller company. 
Attention, Authors!
Have you written a book or article? Do you have a communications-related blog or newsletter? I would love to share the information with others. Let me know what you have created. I'll write about it (and link to it) in another issue of this newsletter.