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BizTrends 2018

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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

How to write a riveting brochure

Don't let the fancy French name fool you, brochures are down-to-earth vehicles for informative promotion. Having said that, a little flair can go a long way.

Here's five tips to make yours a must-read

1. Sell the sizzle not the steak

Often a brochure starts with a statement: Shelley Beach Lodge is a stunning holiday destination on Kwa-Zulu Natal's North Coast. That sounds great.

This sounds better: Let the beach sand push through your toes while you have trouble deciding whether the cocktail tastes like coconut with a hint of vanilla or vanilla with a hint of coconut.

2. Avoid abbreviations

Like the plague. Same goes for words and phrases that can't be found in the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, it's tempting to describe the GTL capability of your Flexo MS printer because you know for a fact GTL technology is the way of the future. Just keep in mind the man on the street does not.

3. Don't make lists

Any sentence with more than three commas is a no-no. Listing services loses its power when you don't have the luxury of counting them on your fingers.

Rather break them up and give each one its fifteen minutes of fame with a little write-up of what makes it special: Mail Lodgement: A computerised service resulting in timely delivery at the minimum cost.

4. Shoot for an idea

Ideas are the currency of advertising. Brochures are advertising. Bring the two together. Say you're Bidvest Data and you happen to like data, go with a Facebook theme.

Now add like-minded (pun intended) copy: We like data. We like to analyse data. We like to process it, enrich it and store it.

5. Use pictures

This may come as a surprise from a copywriter but, with a little humility, I'm willing to admit that a picture does indeed tell a story of a thousand words.

Plus it's a big help since there's only space for 500 or so words in a brochure. Combine high-quality visuals with brilliant writing and, voilà, you're left with a beautifully functional brochure with flair to boot.

About Hansie Smit

JS Smit (@freehance) is a freelance copywriter. He lives for deadlines and enjoys Marie biscuits. Contact him at or visit his website: