Copywriting for print

The brochure is dead – long live the brochure

Oh yeah – it’s all digital these days. That’s true, right? No, it’s not really.  If you’re the sort of freak that’s not on Twitter or Facebook and still values the humble brochure, I can see why. But you can always be the freak who does both. While plenty of us walk around obsessing over little screens only waiting to be sold or influenced through social media and digital marketing, many do not. Outside of the digital media sector itself, there are still lots of folk who read brochures and make decisions based on what they see in a glossy or even DL. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

I’m not completely naive and I do have a vested interest in the popularity of the old-fashioned brochure. I know that social media platforms have changed the game and creative digital marketing can make a connection that is unique. As a freelance copywriter, my business is about writing copy to connect with people through print and digital. So, if you’re reading this (thanks for reading) and thinking…  ‘he would say that, wouldn’t he’…. you’re only a little bit right.

But yes, yes I would say that. But not only for selfish reasons. While I do enjoy the clarity of a well researched brief, I also welcome discussion with clients about their target audience and what the best way is to get through to them. Once we know the best way, then we can pitch with a bit more confidence.

Who reads brochures anyway?

And the best way to connect with some people is still through a brochure. If you have not bought a print newspaper in six months or prefer an e-reader to a book, you are probably not one of these people. If you run a business, your customers might well be.These people exist. They sit at meetings with pen and paper. They sometimes even pick up a brochure and pass it on to a colleague if it’s particularly interesting. If they read reports, they print them out and read them on a train or over lunch at their desk. As consumers, they make decisions over the breakfast table as they read their post.

No, they’re not farmers, builders, lawyers or the usual tech-phobic, digital-free stereotypes that are thrown out there. With handheld devices and souped-up mobile phones now readily available and easy to use while on the move, it’s just not that cut and dried.

Perhaps brochures can complement their digital contemporaries. Just like radio can drive campaigns with other media, brochures should be used to execute a multiplatform campaign. It’s how we integrate these tools with each other that will enable us to get the best from them.

Digital marketing is a young business. It is not just for young people but it just has not been around for too long. It takes a while for people to get used to new things. The right place for the humble brochure is not instead of digital media but in tandem with it.

Most of my clients are Irish SMEs. If you’re having trouble writing a brochure for your business, email me, an experienced Irish copywriter and tell me what you’re finding to be the hardest part.

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