Archive for April, 2010

Writing Great Headlines

April 30, 2010

In a previous issue of Printips we discussed the importance of headlines for establishing interest in sales-related copy. As we mentioned then, advertising legend David Ogilvy is often quoted about the importance of headlines:

“On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 per cent of your money.

The headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit—like a whiter wash, more miles per gallon, freedom from pimples, fewer cavities. Rifle through a magazine and count the number of ads whose headlines promise a benefit of any kind.

Headlines which contain news are sure-fire. The news can be the announcement of a new product, an improvement in an old product, or a new way to use an old product—like serving Campbell’s Soup on the rocks. On the average, ads with news are recalled by 22% more people than ads without news.”

From Ogilvy on Advertising, 1985

Claude Hopkins, another advertising industry legend and author of Scientific Advertising (originally published in 1923), said, “We pick out what we wish to read by headlines.”

Writing That Sells

April 29, 2010

The term marketing communications, sometimes abbreviated as marcom, describes messages used to communicate with a market. Marketing communications focus on the products or services of a business or organization rather than on the company or organization itself, and are used to create demand or position a company’s product or service.

The task of generating marketing communications often is the responsibility of the business owner, sales manager, or development professional. Once written, marcom can be used to create a variety of sales collateral material – flyers and brochures, direct mail marketing packages, newsletters, press releases – and can also be used on company web pages.

Think of marketing communications as salesmanship in print. And just as you carefully prepare and plan for a sales call, you should prepare and plan for salesmanship in print.

Using Graphic Elements

April 28, 2010

You are likely familiar with the proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Those seven words succinctly convey how powerfully a graphic image enhances our understanding of a concept or idea. Interestingly, the modern use of the proverb is attributed to an article by Fred R. Barnard in an advertising trade journal called Printer’s Ink. In his 1921 article, Barnard promoted the use of images to augment advertisements on streetcars. What was true in 1921 remains true today – graphic images enliven the appearance, impact and reader comprehension of a printed piece.

However, to get the greatest benefit, the images must be of sufficient quality to blend in with the design. Think of the last time you saw a color photograph in a newspaper that was very blurry – the result of the image being out of register. Did you notice the content of the photograph, or just the fact that it was out of register?

Marketing and Branding: A Winning Combination

April 27, 2010

According to Robert Bartels in his book The History of Marketing Thought, marketing is “essentially a means of meeting and satisfying certain needs of people. It is a highly developed and refined system of thought and practice characteristic of a period in the development of a market economy.” Marketing is a comprehensive term that includes market research, advertising, salesmanship, wholesale and retail selling, extension of credit, and other activities designed to help people buy.

Marketing provides a framework for selling activities and for the materials needed to support sales — a theme that is consistently applied both visually and in content for all sales collateral and advertising. From this consistency it is possible to establish a brand — a combination of attributes that customers and prospects come to associate with a product or a business.

We are all familiar with branding as applied to large national and international businesses and organizations and their products. But what about smaller, local businesses and organizations? Does the concept of branding work for them? We believe it does, and that we, as your printer, can help you achieve brand identity on an appropriate scale.

Page Layout Development

April 26, 2010

Regular readers of Printips know that we are proud to be part of a centuries old industry that has contributed significantly to the development of human enterprise. Printing as a profession dates back to the mid-1400s when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type, a breakthrough technology of the day. When combined with a printing press, movable type changed forever both the content and quantity of what could be printed.

Gutenberg’s invention gave rise to typography – the art of designing type and also of arranging or setting type. Until the invention of digital type, typography required either the manufacturing of individual letters in character sets called fonts or a machine to transform molten lead into lines of type. In both cases, type had a physical form and could not be easily used outside of printing and publishing businesses.

More than 500 years after Gutenberg’s contribution, the confluence of three new developments – the personal computer, page layout software, and digital type – moved typography to the desktop, making it accessible outside of the printing and publishing industry.

Let’s Keep in Touch… Lessons for Business Writing

April 25, 2010

A fundamental task of every business is to communicate with customers and prospects. This may take the form of educational or sales information (newsletter, brochure, direct mail marketing material, advertising, sales letter) or may be central to the business’s products and services (technical manual, instructions for use, specifications sheet). In either case, the effectiveness of the writing is crucial in persuading people to buy or helping people understand.

In this issue of Printips we will present some methods for improving your business writing skills so your information will be read and kept. We’ll be emphasizing general writing skills, including grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style, as this is applicable no matter what your writing task.

Recycled Papers… What Was Old is Now New

April 24, 2010

Have you ever considered the profound effect the invention of paper has had on society? Paper made ideas portable, enabled the sharing of discoveries and inventions, and changed human history from oral to written. Literature, art, education, and communication were all accelerated by the invention of paper.

The technology for making paper as we know it today from the cellulose fibers of wood wasn’t developed until the mid-1800s. Originally natural materials like silk, parchment (the skin of a sheep or goat), or vellum (fine parchment made from the skins of calves, lambs or kids) was used as paper.

Following Gutenberg’s invention of movable type and improvement of the printing press, new papermaking technology was developed based on the fibers from linen rags. The appearance of newspapers in the late 1600s and early 1700s created a severe shortage of rags that led eventually to substituting wood for the fibers in paper. The process was fully developed toward the end of the 19th century.

The Desktop Toolbox

April 23, 2010

The term desktop publishing is generally agreed to have been coined in 1985 by Paul Brainerd, founder of Aldus Corporation, following the development of Aldus PageMaker (later purchased by Adobe). In its original usage, desktop publishing meant the ability of one person to use a computer to perform what had previously been many separate functions – design, typesetting, pasteup, and preparation of camera ready artwork. Thus desktop publishing combined several disciplines (graphic design, writing, editing, typography, and page composition) into one.

Word processing, a term invented by IBM in the 1960s, predates desktop publishing by more than a decade. Early word processors were typewriters with some form of electronic editing and correction capability; later machines incorporated CRT screens (as exemplified by the Wang word processor). Eventually, dedicated word processing equipment was replaced by software applications running on personal computers. The most popular word processing program in use today is Microsoft Word.

Updating Brochures with Clever Production Tips

April 22, 2010

Your company’s brochure is a great sales tool. It conveys much more information than can be put on a business card, a display advertisement, or even a flyer. And when someone asks you for your company’s brochure, it could be a signal of real interest in your product or service.

Examine a variety of brochures, and you’ll find they share certain characteristics: all have text mixed with visual elements such as photographs, illustrations, diagrams, charts, and graphs; all have an underlying organization; and all provide the identity and contact information of the company that published the brochure.

Simplifing Print Ordering

April 21, 2010

Which kind of print buyer are you?

Print buyer #1: your job description includes buying printing; printing is an integral part of your company’s product or service; printed materials facilitate your company’s processes; printed materials are essential to sales and marketing; part of your annual performance evaluation includes how well you manage the printing.

Print buyer #2: your job description doesn’t have anything to do with printing; buying printing is a nuisance, an annoyance, or both; your company always seems to be running out of things, forcing you to place rush orders or beg for fast delivery; you were designated the print buyer for no particular reason.

As different as these descriptions are, they do have something in common: when the printing doesn’t show up at the right time, or if there’s a problem with it, the print buyer suffers.

If you’ve been our customer for a while, you know that we are unusually sensitive to your situation and have designed our entire company around being dependable – delivering what you order on time, without error, and at the agreed upon price. You also know that we can’t do our job properly without your help. So in this issue of Printips we will cover some ways to make print buying easier for you.