Oct 18

Five tips to create effective backgrounders

Backgrounder cover photo

A backgrounder is a wonderful tool to effectively introduce the public, donors, the media and others to your organization, new project or event. Presenting your backgrounder in a concise, visually appealing way while providing appropriate statistics on your products and services allows you to get your key facts in front of stakeholders with minimal effort required on their end.

Often, backgrounders are included in a media kit to accompany a press release, but that’s not the only way you can use them. You can use backgrounders as sell sheets, event handouts and more.

Creating compelling backgrounders is crucial – it’s a tool that represents your brand and informs audiences on the essentials of your organization and why it’s so important.

Following are five tips to help create effective backgrounders.

Keep it short

Backgrounders are designed to provide audiences with a way to get a high-level overview of your organization without reading lengthy brochures or scrolling through an “about us” webpage. They are meant to communicate the essential key facts and act as a complementary document for your press release and other collateral. For this reason, it’s best to keep your backgrounder to a single piece of paper, either single or double-sided. By limiting your backgrounder to this length, you are increasing the likelihood of your audiences reading the entire document and decreasing the room for fluff copy that takes away from the most important points you are trying to communicate.

Include visuals

Weave eye-catching visuals throughout your backgrounder to further engage your audiences. Visuals can be photos, graphics or simple infographic-like statistics that help emphasize your organization’s key messages.

If possible, try to use high-quality photos instead of ones taken by a cell phone – this will help demonstrate the professionalism of your brand.

Make it easy to digest

As I previously mentioned, backgrounders are meant to provide the essentials of your organization, new product or event. By making these essentials easy to digest, you will leave audiences feeling well-informed and avoid any confusion.

Avoid lengthy paragraphs, technical language. Instead, use bullets and short paragraphs to keep audiences’ attention and not overwhelm them. You can also bold key sentences and use headings to help draw audiences’ eyes to your main points.

Draw from your key messages

Just like every other communications tactic your organization creates, your backgrounder should heavily lean on key messages. Because backgrounders often use bullet points, you can actually list your key messages on your backgrounders without making them feel out of place. By doing so, you can ensure your audiences know who you are, how you operate and what makes you different.

End with a call to action

Make sure your backgrounder includes a call to action that points audiences to a source with more information about your organization, product or event. Your CTA can be as simple as visiting a website or social media platform. Although you want to avoid overwhelming audiences with information on your backgrounder, it’s wise to create a custom website landing page with more details.

When creating your source of information, make sure it aligns with the key messages on your backgrounder. Mismatching information on your backgrounder and landing page will cause audiences to scratch their heads and reporters to ask additional follow-up questions.

I hope you will keep these tips in mind the next time you develop a backgrounder for your organization. What are some ways you’ve made your backgrounders more effective?


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