Copywriting for flyers

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Examples of flyers for events and other purposes

Flyer copy differs from other copy you would compose for a brochure or newsletter in that you are announcing an event or advertising a product, organization etc. Brochures on the other hand require a style which is  succinct and persuasive at the same time, and newsletters typically inform on things you have done in more of a narrative form.

There are plenty of templates available for free on the Internet. If you do choose to design your own from scratch, you can visit the respective topic in the desktop publishing section.

The scenario we are using throughout this website is that of a fictitious community group, the Seattle Garden Collective. We’ll assume that they have decided to publish three flyers: one announcing a recurring event, and one advertising a special event.

For this exercise we will focus on the process of brainstorming, then writing copy for these flyers. We do not have to put as much intensive thought into the actual copy, because what we are listing is mostly factual information which does not require tweaking (in other words, a date is a date and a place is a place). That being said, whatever you so, it has to fit on ONE page, either letter-size (8.5″ x 11″, preferred), legal (11″ by 14″) or tabloid (11″ x 17″). Technically, anything beyond letter-size would be considered a small poster and cannot be reproduced easily on a regular photo copier.

Step by step

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Step 1: Brainstorm

Who we are – this part doesn’t change – it’s something you should think of at the very beginning before you publish anything (a good exercise here is to try and compose an elevator pitch first:

  • garden collective
  • community group
  • we reclaim abandoned city lots and put gardens on them
  • the gardens provide fruits and vegetables
  • the neighborhoods are usually low-income
  • there is no infrastructure in these neighborhoods to speak of, mostly convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, which contributes to bad eating habits
  • people in these neighborhoods can’t afford long trips to the supermarket
  • there is no easy way to get to a supermarket with public transportation
  • children/families who are poor are also food-insecure
  • even if they get WIC, they still have to be able to get to a supermarket
  • we not only grow the food and distribute it, we also teach people how to use the produce
  • the Seattle Garden Collective was founded in 2017
  • we are a community group and have 25 members; the inaugural group was 5 people (Jim Smith, Sam Doe, Janice Miller, Joe Miller and Mara Myers)
  • we meet twice a month (regular meeting) and from there organize events, activities and more
  • there is no membership fee; people contribute what they can
  • we have some community sponsors (HomeMart and Landscape Depot)

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Step 2: Write

Recurring event:

Join us!

What: Soil block making

When: Every second Saturday of the month at 3 PM

Where: XXX Community Center at ADDRESS

Open to all age groups.

This is literally how you would list the event on the flyer, prominently so people can read it easily and possibly from several feet away. Because there is  a chance that people don’t know what soil block are, consider a drawing or photographs. A caveat, however: photographs do not copy well. Also include what the Collective does and a contact.

Special event:

Harvest Social

What: Harvest Social & Potluck

When: November 4, 2017, 3 PM – until the cows come home

Where: XXX Community Center at ADDRESS

List the fun stuff planned for this evening, mention that this is a family event and that you have invited special guests: Coco the Clown for the kids earlier in the afternoon and that there will be a folk music outfit because you have planned a “barn dance”. If the event is BYOD in addition to the potluck, list that, too. And if you are soliciting donations to cover the cost of the clown and the band, list this as well.

What do we do?

The Seattle Garden Collective reclaims abandoned city lots in order to convert them into community gardens, thereby restoring community in low-income neighborhoods while contributing to a healthier diet and curbing food insecurity in the immediate area.

A big thank you to:

If your sponsors, or for that matter any sponsors, are funding your event(s), you need to list them and thank them publicly. Preferably, they should give you their logos on a disc, but you can also simply write them out in long form:

We would like to thank our sponsors, HomeMart and Landscape Depot, for their continuing support. Without their in-kind and financial help the Seattle Garden Collective would not be able to change people’s lives like we have.

We are also infinitely grateful to our members and volunteers who keep putting in countless hours to dig up beds, build sheds, hold classes and more.

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Step 3: Refine

Note: You can then run what you’ve written by other people and have them make suggestions. Keep an open mind all the way around. Even if you’ve spent quite a bit of time on what you have already written, chances are you have developed a certain tunnel vision with regards to what you have created. Don’t be offended if others see things differently. Editing is, in the end, a gift, and good editors are worth their weight in gold.

A reminder:

When preparing your text, keep it short and sweet. The reader should be able to grasp the main points by simply glancing through the piece. If you bury your messages in dense text, the reader may simply decide that it will be too much work to read your flyer and just throw it away.

  • Speak directly to your audience.
  • Use headings and subheadings to group ideas and help the reader focused on items that are of interest to him or her.
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms, even if you are sending the piece to people who “should get it”. Use clear language that everyone can understand.

And last but not least, make it easy for people to take action.

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Step 4: Finalize

For the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume that what we came up with in Step 2 is the final copy. The challenge is now to include it in a flyer, highlighting your event and get people excited about it in the process. You can find tons of free flyer templates online, and unless you are a designer or have access to one pro-bono, these should do just fine.

Below are two examples of flyers advertising the events we list above. Both can be distributed printed, as a PDF, or you can include the verbiage on your website as part of a “Latest News” or “Newsletter” page. Please refer to the section on desktop publishing regarding designing a flyer from scratch, and to the section on software for questions as to what software to use. And again, keep in mind that photographs don’t copy well if you plan on printing out a prototype and then producing the rest on a photocopier.

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