Brochure Overhaul for School Visit Promotion

This summer, suggest to your writers’ group that you devote one session to critiquing each others’ school visit brochures. If you’re like me, you keep cranking them out (or, if you’ve had them done at a printer, using them up) without giving them a second glance.  But is your brochure really doing the trick?  Is it outdated?  Is it convincing a potential host that the benefits of bringing you in will justify the cost?

Here are some elements that you should consider when you do brochure revisions.

Purpose: Your brochure is a school visit sales tool.  It should give potential hosts a taste of your personality, your program format and your presentation objectives as they relate to the curriculum. It should also clearly identify you as the author of your most recent or most popular books.

Bio:  Make the text fun. Use a family photo.

Program: Describe your program including what you will do, how you will do it, and how your content links with the curriculum.  Tell how much time you need for school assemblies. Mention if they can select any add-ons such as workshops, and send them to your website for details. 

Fees: I don’t suggest putting your fees in the brochure as this will date it quickly.  Have readers contact you or go to your website for details. 

Books: Include images of one or more of your most recent – or most popular – books.

Testimonials: Won any awards? Have a terrific quotable quote about a dynamite school visit? Include them. (Warning: be selective!)

Layout. Brochures are usually on 8.5” x 11” paper, printed on both sides and folded in thirds. This makes them easy to display or mail. White space is inviting to the eye. When designing the layout, leave lots of white space. I do all my layouts using Microsoft Publisher, a very simple and flexible program to learn.

Current headshot: People want to know what you look like today.

Contact information: Be sure to include your website and/or email address

 Remember – whatever you can’t fit in your brochure can be described at your website.

Do you have a school visit brochure that really works for you?  Send me a pdf at info2@schoolvisitexperts.com so I can see it, too!

6 Comments on “Brochure Overhaul for School Visit Promotion”

  • Wow. Terrific post. And it’s also a good guideline re updating that portion of my website devoted to school visits. Thanks, School Visit Experts!

  • Me, again! I’ve just spent a happy 90 minutes plus going through your terrific blog from beginning to “end”. It’s fabulous. I’ve been away from school visits for a while and I’m so excited to get back to them…your blog has been so helpful! I’m planning to buy a projector for my Mac soon. Any advice for Mac users re this? Is there any new stuff to add to the article you wrote last summer about projectors in general? Thanks for EVERYTHING Alexis. You are the Queen of Author Friends. xo Joanne

  • Joanne – Glad to have you back in the school visit arena with your new books! As you’ll find out, kids haven’t changed, but the equipment has as has the need for hosts to “over-justify” their requests for your author assemblies. This is why being specific in your brochure about how your visit will link to the curriculm is helpful for planners. (In the meantime, I’ll see what I can find out about Mac-related equipment.)

  • Hi Alexis! I’m flattered to see my brochure pictured in your image, above. Thanks! I have done one thing in my brochure that you advise against: listing prices. The reason I do this is that I know my OWN fickle habits: When I receive handouts at conferences, I always MEAN to follow-up (visit their website, research the product, whatever)… but, truth be told, that brochure may be the only thing I ever see. So I want folks to have as much information as possible, from the get-go. I do boldly state the current school year’s date over the fees, so they’ll know fees may have changed.

    My other reason for stating fees is again based on my own buying habits. During the years I worked in the art department of a newspaper, I always enjoyed making up real estate ads, but found that I just wasn’t as interested, as a potential buyer, when the price of the property wasn’t listed. Based on my own shopping habits, I knew I’d be less likely to contact that seller if I didn’t know that info, up front. Some folks are just shy about that kind of thing, and a little embarrassed to discuss money. So listing my prices gets that awkwardness out of the way.

    But, you’re right: it does date the brochure. So right now, I’m limping along with last year’s brochures, waiting for the cover art for my 2012 books before I reprint. It’s a little tacky, but I’ve simply put a mailing sticker over the price list, telling folks to visit my website for current fees. Since my brochure is fairly slick, I think teachers forgive me that low-budget, stop-gap solution — especially since they’re frugal recyclers, themselves!

    Great article as always, you school visit guru, you!

  • Thanks for weighing in on this, Kim! While I totally agree that I like to see prices posted too, it’s a trade-off. Do I want to have out-dated slick brochures that I paid good money for left over at the end of a season? One way to get around this is to invest in a good color printer and presentation weight, glossy paper and print your own brochures in small batches as needed. This way, it’s easy to update as you go along. But as I said, it’s a trade-off. It may be worth the print over-run if it means that brochure looks more professional.

    Cheers,
    ALEXIS

  • Funny thing is, I seldom have many left over. Occasionally as many as a couple hundred, but that’s not very many when considered as part of the overall cost of the print-run. I used to have a color printer, but the ink costs were eating me alive. I finally bought a little B&W laser printer from Brother — only about 99 bucks. Gosh, I remember when laser printers were over a thousand dollars. Amazing, the way prices come down.

    Love that little laser printer. Never jams (knock on wood!), $30 cartridges last forever. (Well, almost.) Last I looked, that model was down to 69 bucks on Amazon — if you can still get it. That was a year or so ago.

    I usually only spend about $120 to print a thousand full-color brochures, so it has felt more cost effective to let gotprint.com do the printing for me. Of course, everyone has to assess what works for them, and how many they’re likely to need. I’m fairly prodigal with my brochures; handing them out by the handful, tucking them into books, etc.

    I even found a use for obsolete brochures: I cut off just the front panel and affix it to the packets (folders) I mail out. Adds an extra splash of color to the cover and might make it easier for the recipient to keep track of it… although my hairstyle is out of date. Ha!