A fact sheet provides readers from your target audience with compelling information in a clear and concise format. A fact sheet can be presented on a piece of paper or digitally, and it informs people about a business, organization, product, service, campaign, event, or another topic.
Generally, a fact sheet should center around one issue and be no more than one page with a clean, easy-to-read layout. If you've never created one before, then you can follow some of the general guidelines below and use a fact sheet template if necessary.
What to Include In a Fact Sheet
The information you include in a fact sheet will differ depending on its subject and its intended audience. However, most fact sheets should contain the following content:
- Summary of most important information in paragraph form.
- Bullet point list of supporting facts.
- Call to action.
- Sources or attributions.
- Where to go for more information.
In addition to the content, an effective fact sheet should also have design elements that help engage the audience and clearly present the information. These can take the form of charts and graphs with useful information or a compelling image that will catch your audience's attention.
The Structure of a Fact Sheet
When you create a fact sheet, you only have one page to communicate important information. To catch your readers' attention and make it easy for them to understand your message, your facts should be carefully selected and presented in a logical order.
A good structure to follow is journalism's inverted pyramid, which orders information from most important to least important. That way, even if readers don't get to the end of the fact sheet, they are more likely to have seen the key information that you want to communicate.
Start with a headline that summarizes the main takeaway of the fact sheet. A company that provides AI customer service solutions, for example, might use an attention-grabbing headline such as:
X, Y, and Z Companies Saved $Xmillion Per Year When They Switched to AI For Customer Service
Once the headline has caught readers' attention, the first paragraph should summarize the main takeaways of the fact sheet.
Using artificial intelligence is on the rise for both big companies and brand new start-ups. More than X percent of consumers report that they won't wait more than X minutes for help from a customer service representative, and X percent of consumers won't give a company a second chance after bad customer service. Instead of spending $X to hire dozens of new employees, companies can save up to $X per year when they use AI to make customer service both accessible and affordable.
Next, use a combination of facts, charts, and graphs to communicate vital statistics about your business, product, or initiative. These facts should be attention-grabbing, surprising, and focused on your customers. As you put together your fact sheet, ask yourself:
- How does this affect my customers?
- What problem are they having, and what solution am I offering?
- How can I entice them to learn more or take action?
Comparisons are also useful in fact sheet. The press and public want to measure new products, companies, or problems against ones that they're familiar with, which helps them understand the value of the information you are presenting.
Finally, end your fact sheet with a compelling call to action, such as a freebie, introductory offer, discount, or an invitation to learn more or get involved.
Mistakes to Avoid In a Fact Sheet
As you put together your fact sheet, avoid these common mistakes.
- Small font. A fact sheet should be easy to take in. You don't want readers struggling to read your fact sheet because the words are too small. If you're having trouble deciding on font size, it's better to go bigger. Don't use smaller fonts so you can fit more information on the page.
- Too much information. Narrow your fact sheet to the minimum information needed to make your point. It can be easy to get carried away collecting many facts and statistics related to an issue, but too much information will overwhelm your audience. Aim to create a big impact with a small amount of essential information.
- Sources burying the facts. It is important to include sources and attributions for your facts. However, the facts should still be the star of the show. List sources and attributions as footnotes or at the bottom of a fact sheet rather than including them in the main content.
- Outdated information. The information included on your fact sheet must be as current as possible. Don't cite statistics from studies that took place years ago when there are more current ones available. If you're going to use the same fact sheet from year to year, revise it annually to contain the most up to date information available.
- Focusing on your business. Your fact sheet should be part of your marketing toolkit, and it should follow the same principles as the rest of your marketing. Avoid listing facts that are solely about your business or product. Instead, tie those facts back to your audience and show why the information you are presenting is important to their concerns, problems, and needs.