A “one-sheet” is a glorified resume that marketing and creative types use to a) summarize their skills; and b) demonstrate their marketing chops by marketing themselves.

One Sheet for Verb Nerd Industries, PDF download

Screen grab of a section of my One-Sheet targeting the Specialty Outdoor Industry. Click on the image to download the whole PDF.

I built mine in Microsoft Word in Publishing Layout mode — which pales considerably in comparison to InDesign or Quark XPress but gets the job for a quick document like this.

I had four goals for my one-sheet:

  • Target people I plan to meet at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 convention in August.
  • Lay out the case for why they should hire me to write for their websites.
  • Describe my track record and accomplishments.
  • Demonstrate my knack for personalized, stream-of-consciousness copy that’s popular with a lot of outdoor brands and web stores.

Let’s look at each in more detail.

Target audience

Outdoor Retailer brings over 1,400 brands to Salt Lake City in the largest gathering of specialty outdoor industry pros in the United States. With the entire industry under one roof at the Salt Palace it’s the just the place for a professional hiking blogger to scout for potential clients. They’ve all got websites and at some point they’ll have to hire a writer. Might as well be me, right?

Why I’m the right guy

After my simple, declarative headline in big, bold type, I used a few paragraphs with bold-faced lead-ins showing why they’re better off hiring somebody who’s hiked a few miles and lived to tell.

Passion for the outdoors:
I’ve hiked every weekend for the past five years on both coasts of the United States. I’ve trekked through Yosemite and camped out along on the Appalachian Trail.

And I didn’t leave out the small detail that I have 20 years of experience making deadlines in newspaper newsrooms.

Track record and accomplishments

Here I list my four most recent outdoor-related clients. It’s good to have done stuff like:

Authored more than 100 GPS-enabled hiking guides for trails across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Key product copywriting (Patagonia, Vibram FiveFingers, Merrell) and blogging on outdoor-related topics.

In a future draft I’m going to tweak this so that beyond simply saying I did these things, I’ll list what I accomplished — clients want to know specifically how I can improve their business.

Personalized copy

I had some fun here with a smattering of autobiographical details.

My pack looks like it’s been through hell and half of Georgia. You don’t want to know about my socks.

I’ve bent trekking poles. I’ve learned digital cameras die on impact.

I bold-faced certain words where it just felt like it worked.

Design and typography

Here’s where all those nights in the newsroom paid off. Having worked with some of the best designers in the business, I knew to limit my font usage (these are all variants of Helvetica Neue) and to use clean design that’s easy to navigate.

I also made sure my contact info was prominent – in the upper right-hand corner of the page. I grabbed a nice picture from my hiking blog for lead art and dropped a mugshot right below that leads into my “what it’s like to be me” section.

Production note

You’ll need high-res and low-res versions of your one-sheet if you plan to have it printed professionally. Images need to be 300dpi for four-color offset printing, but 72dpi is better for Web and mail.