You may want to produce a range of publications as part of your strategy. The key to successful publications is good copywriting, careful editing and proof reading, creative design and high quality printing. You will find advice elsewhere in this section and in the section on branding on producing effective publications.
Leaflets are useful for promoting activities and events. They have a short shelf life, so use them for marketing specific activities such as conferences or publications rather than conveying information you want readers to retain long term. Remember that leaflets inserted into other publications may never get any further than the person who first opens the envelope. Make sure you always include contact details and reply slips on leaflets and code them so you can evaluate who is responding.
Booklets are a good alternative to larger publications, particularly if you want to provide summary information. The same rules apply to the production of booklets as any other publication – they need to be well written and designed and appropriate to the target audience. Avoid the temptation to cram too much information into a booklet or to lower the production values – this often results in the booklet being difficult to read and can convey a negative image.
Use brochures to promote the overall aims of your project or to highlight a specific initiative. They can be particularly useful when launching a new research programme. Include enough information to make the brochure something a reader might want to keep, but don't overload it with detail. It is particularly important to include key contacts. Ensure production values are high.
Keep a supply of general purpose, branded folders available for publicity. You can use them for events or to send out packages of specific information, for example briefings, to key audiences. Remember that you can use the space available on the folder itself to communicate key messages and facts and figures about your research. Some folders also include a space for a business card to be inserted to follow up any contacts.
Stationery and business cards
You will need basic stationery – letterheads, fax sheets and compliment slips – and business cards for key people. Again, remember that you have some space (for example on the reverse of business cards) to communicate key messages and facts and figures about your research. Remember that you should follow the ESRC guidelines on the design of programme and centre stationery.
Many projects produce newsletters to keep internal and external audiences informed about their activities. Think about the frequency of any newsletter and whether you actually have enough interesting material to fill it regularly. It is better to produce a more infrequent but highly relevant newsletter than to send out monthly updates which contain little real news.
Production values are important. Avoid self-generated newsletters with poor layout and images that can look like school magazines. If newsletters are an important part of your impact plan, employ professional designers and writers to produce them.
Electronic newsletters are cheaper to produce but the same principles about the quality of the content and production apply. You can find more on the appropriateness of electronic formats in the section on choosing a format.
Research summaries and briefings
You may want to produce regular briefings and summaries of your research. If so, develop a standard format for these and employ the services of a professional copywriter to ensure that complex technical information is communicated in the most accessible way. Establish agreed terminology and a consistent approach to charts and graphics so that the briefings have a common 'look and feel'. If you plan to produce a series of briefings, send your target audience a simple, branded binder for filing them.
Next step, scheduling.