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Creating Effective Flyers for Libraries: Tips For Great Content

Post by Danielle Borasky
Posted May 04, 2015 in

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In this series on effective flyers for libraries, we’ve previously looked at understanding your audience and tips for good design. Now we’re going to explore the idea of content. What makes for great content on a flyer? How do you write it? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Write Strong Headlines

The Strathmore Municipal Library nailed it with this flyer -- talk about clear and clever copy!

Maybe this is an obvious point -- except that I’ve seen too many flyers where the headline is hard to find -- but a headline should be the first thing people see. Design plays a big role here. Make the headline big and bold enough that people in the library can see it from a distance.

And, make the headline words compelling. Create excitement by focusing it on the most compelling patron benefit you’re offering (Join us for storytime). One possible strategy is to form it as a question (Do your kids love stories?).

Write Clear Copy

Copy simply means the words on the page. People respond to words. When creating a flyer, you want your words to entice people to take you up on your offer. A really simple but effective rule to keep in mind is to speak to an individual, not a group. So instead of writing ‘Everyone will choose a story’, you should write to that one person who needs to learn French and make it personal: ‘You will choose a story’.

It also helps to use words that trigger a positive emotional response. Powerful words like achieve, easy, proven, and results tend to get attention (and it’s why advertisers use them!). While you’re adding power words, be sure to get rid of the passive voice. Active voice (‘We will watch a movie”) is much more powerful than passive voice (“A movie will be played”).

Brevity is key. No one really has time to stand around reading long paragraphs on your flyer. So while you might feel like you have a lot to explain, try to pare it down and tell them just enough to take the next step. Which leads us to the next point…

Write to Persuade Your Audience

The purpose of your flyer is to get your patrons to do something – sign up, register, join in, etc. Be clear about that next step and say it as clearly as you possibly can. This is often referred to as the call-to-action. Your call-to-action should be short and snappy.

Part of being persuasive is explaining what you’re offering. If I take the next step, what will I get as a result? Will I learn something, be inspired, get help, or have a problem solved? Persuade me that it’s worth to take that next step of signing up.

To sum up the process, you need to understand who your audience is, persuade them with clear writing and a call-to-action, and catch their attention with attractive design. One final step is distribution. Think about the most relevant places to post your flyer. You can design the greatest poster, but if it is not placed where your audience can see it, chances are you will not have the response you’re seeking.