Full Circle Communications

July 2013
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past issues on such topics as design tips for writers and speechwriting.

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. 
Note he (and I) didn't say "easy writing." But just as dance lessons can help get you around the floor more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two to improve your writing.

Recipient of 2011 and 2012 Constant Contact All Star Awards.
Five Things to Know about Slip Sheets
1. What are they?

One- or two-page marketing pieces that provide highlights of a product, program, or other piece of a whole. Generally, an organization produces a set of sheets, consistently branded, that can be placed inside a folder or on an exhibit table.

By the way, "googling" the term results in lots of links to slip sheets that are used to separate packaging pallets in warehouses. Yet, in the past year or so, several different clients have used the term in a marketing context--perhaps a good SEO opportunity for a marketing slip-sheet creator?

2. Do we need them?

Maybe. One colleague told me she avoids projects in print unless they are for a "paper-first crowd" (I think she meant older) because, otherwise, they end up in the trash.

Point taken. For a different view, I talked to printer Jay Thomas of Alphagraphics and designer Claire Liston. Granted, they work in print on a daily basis (Claire works online, too), but both stressed the value of "having something in people's hands."

Claire also noted slip sheets are cost-effective ways to target a message to different audiences and to bring attention to different products and services. As she said, "When the information is presented separately, the reader is urged to consider that the content of each slip sheet is a separate focus and not just an ancillary message."

3. How do we create them?

Writer and designer should work together closely. You want a sheet that is easy to scan, with lots of white space and no long paragraph blocks of type.

Slip sheets need to be brief and clear, with a way for those interested to get more information online or via a phone call. For example, you may create one "cover" sheet with an overview of the organization and others that each describe a specific research area or product line.

4. How can we keep them current?

Jay and Claire had two suggestions:
  • While doing a larger offset run with your other branded materials, print a blank template that can later go through your own laser or inkjet printer. Write and print out small quantities as you need them, updating as needed. They noted this is a great option if highly consistent color is important for your organization. 
  • Print small quantities on a digital press. Update and re-run them without worrying about wasting older versions. 

5. How can we distribute them effectively?

  • Pick and choose which slip sheets a particular person receives, tailored to his or her interests.
  • Use the sheet to start a conversation, not just as a hand-out with no context. 
  • Track the follow-up requests or questions generated by the sheets, if any.
  • Repurpose for online distribution.
Do you have other ways that slip sheets have worked for you? If so, please let me know.
A Few More Printing Tips
Brochure folding machine When I met with Jay Thomas (Alphagraphics) and Claire Liston (C. Liston Communications), our conversation went from slip sheets to other printing topics. Here are a few more highlights that, as a writer, I found useful:
  • Digital printing means that we can create small quantity, full-color runs--if we are okay with the fact that the color from one print run to another might change slightly. If the exact color is critical, we need to stick with offset printing and PANTONE colors.
  • Digital photography provides opportunities but challenges. Photos that are acceptable online (72 dots per inch needed) are not of high enough quality for print (at least 150 dpi but more often 300 dpi). Designers and printers have some tricks to boost quality, but they can't work miracles. If you have an event or story that needs good photographs, invest in a good photographer.
  • Any marketing piece should strike a balance between giving people what they are looking for and what you need them to see (your messaging). A designer can help by creating elements that draw in the eyes (headlines, pull quotes, etc.) and a printer can provide a crisp, professional piece, but the writer needs to provide the right words.

New Full Circle Phone Number

Full Circle Communications now has a slightly different phone number: 703-212-0350.

I eliminated one of my two land lines when I realized how less often I use either one these days.

That said, give a call to say hello!

April 2013 marked the 5th anniversary of this newsletter.

Check out the archive of the issues I've sent out since then.

Also, in late 2EaseinWritingCover012, I compiled many of the articles first published in this newsletter into an ebook. If you haven't seen it yet, view or download a complimentary copy on my website.

Have an idea for a future issue of the newsletter? Please let me know.
Full Circle Communications, LLC / Alexandria, VA / 703.212.0350