What’s bigger than a business card, and smaller than a brochure? A tip sheet.
A tip sheet is a list of five to twenty tips telling readers how to solve a problem, do something better, get something they want, or avoid something they don’t want. It starts with a descriptive title that promises a benefit, such as, “8 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft,” “6 Things You Need to Know about Building a Great Credit Rating,” or “How to Look 10 Years Younger than You Are–Without Surgery.”
Did you notice that two of these titles start with numbers? Numbers are effective in titles. Take a look at women’s magazines, and you will see headlines such as, “17 Ways to Get Organized–Today!” (Hey, that’s not a bad title for a tip sheet.) It is even more important that your title promise a benefit. What will the information do for readers?
Although you will use your tip sheet to promote yourself and your business, the tips should be informative and not promotional. So your topic should not be, “10 Reasons Why Acme Widgets Are Better than Others.”
Introduce the tips with a paragraph or so, followed by the tips in a numbered or bulleted list. You might find it easiest to write the tips first, then write the introductory paragraphs.
Format your tip sheet in two or three columns to fit on one side of an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper. End with a short paragraph about you and your business, including contact information. You might want to hire a professional editor to review the content, and a designer to lay out the page attractively. The tip sheet can be printed in black on white paper, on your letterhead, or in color if you want to splurge.
Use your tip sheet as a handout when you speak or present a seminar. Give it out at meetings and conferences. Use it as a “leave-behind” with clients and prospects.
Post the tip sheet at your Web site. Make it available as a PDF to preserve the format, and offer an HTML version for faster download. Visitors will appreciate having a choice. You may want to require that visitors enter their e-mail addresses to register before they download the tip sheet. Although that will reduce the number of downloads, you will build your e-mail list.
Send the tip sheet as a press release. Media may reprint your tips, or use them as the basis for a broadcast story. Or, they may file the information away until they need an expert to comment on a story.
Submit the tip sheet for publication. Offer it at no charge (but require that your contact information is included) and many Web sites, newsletters, trade magazines and other publications will use it.
A tip sheet can be put together in less than a day, but recipients will keep it on hand and refer to it for years to come. Each time they do, your tip sheet is marketing for you.