Monday, July 25, 2011

What should a freelance copywriter know about folds? --"Always Flat "

Dear Always Flat:
If you're working with a ho-hum designer or looking for a way to impress your client, knowing how to fold a brochure can add a WOW factor to the project. 

Copyright © 2011 Blockbuster Print, Inc. All rights reserved.

Forget the conventional tri-fold; it's boring. Go for a gate fold. Or a double gate fold (my personal favorite). With a double gate fold, your piece can have two reveals (1 on the cover + 1 on the folded inside gates) and four inside panels for text. For more on reveals click here.

Another favorite is a Z-fold cover. It gives you two separate
front covers, (you turn the book upside down) which provide two separate signature (groups of four pages) areas. Just like a certain breath mint, this gives you two brochures in one. Great for playing two ideas off of each other. For example, let's say you are a custom tailor that also sells prete-a-porter suits. Your custom line goes inside one cover, your ready to wear inside the other.  

A handy folding guide is available at:


Monday, July 18, 2011

The deadline is looming. I'm tired. Is there a tool to help me think? --"Out of Ideas"

Dear Out of Ideas--

You're in luck.  Just head over to

It's called the Wheel of Concept, from Tribal DBD New York. Just enter your client's name, spin the wheel, and up pops an idea. Even better, you can download a PDF presentation of the idea, personalized with your client's name and logo.

Actually, there are now two wheels: the original for digital tactics and a recently added one for PR tactics.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Is there a recipe I can follow to become a better freelance copywriter? --"Alone in the Kitchen"

Dear Alone:
Yes. In French cooking, many recipes begin with the phrase: “Make a roux” (butter and flour cooked together). In creating annual reports, rack brochures, direct mail pieces, and other forms of marketing communications, we often begin with the phrase: “Make a reveal.”

What is a “reveal?” If you’ve ever read a humorous greeting card, then you’ve experienced a reveal. The format is generally the same: a setup on the cover—a question or something that piques the reader’s curiosity or is intriguing—followed by a strategic payoff on the inside.

How does a “reveal” work? Here are three examples:

Example 1: A regional power company was expanding into new forms of energy and needed a way to tell that story to investors. On the cover of their annual report was the phrase, A word about our future. On the first text page inside was the payoff— the single bold word, Energy.

Example 2: A national exterminating company launched a new commercial service and needed a direct mail piece to send to potential clients. On the cover was the statement, Now the technology to eliminate bugs fits in the palm of your hand. A visual payoff—a telephone handset—was used on the inside along with a call to action to call the company for a free inspection. This promotion was a self-mailer. (For more about using post cards, see June 6th post)

Example 3: One of my old self-promotion pieces was targeted to advertising agencies with agri-business clients. The cover asked the question, What could a nice Jewish boy from Miami Beach possibly know about farming? The one-word payoff on the inside: Plenty. The question-answer format is a popular way to create a reveal. A question on the cover piques readers’ curiosity—hopefully enough to cause them to open the piece. This promotion fit in a catalog 

Now it’s your turn…


Who am I?
ROTH copywriting is Robert Roth---expert Atlanta freelance copywriter.

What I'm working on now
Just finished writing content articles for a global crop science company. Starting on a monthly newsletter for the CDC.