3 min read
min read
March 13, 2024

How to Write a One-Pager: A Handy Guide

How to Write a One-Pager: A Handy Guide

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What’s harder than writing long? Writing short. And if you’re trying to write a one-pager, you know this from experience.

It’s not easy to quickly sum up a company or its offerings in a digestible way for readers who’ve never heard of the company before. It’s not easy to take overwritten corporate language and trim it into accessible, punchy copy that catches attention and clearly communicates its point.

It’s not easy, but someone has to do it. And that someone is you.

So where do you even start with writing a one-pager? Do you envision its design and craft the content with that in mind? Do you write long and, over multiple iterations, trim it down shorter and shorter, until it fits on a standard sheet of letterhead? Is there anything special about one-pagers that you should know before you get started?

If you’re asking a version of any of these questions, you’ve landed on the right blog. Here, we cover the different elements that go into a one-pager, how to approach the writing process, and lessons you can take from real one-pagers out in the wild.

To begin, let’s make sure we’re on, well, the same page.

What Is a One-Pager?

One-pagers. One-sheets. Fliers. Handouts. Any of these terms might be used to refer to a single-page printout that is used by a company for any number of purposes.

In business, one-pagers are often used as sales and marketing tools, but they can also be used internally to inform staff of product updates, new offerings, recent report findings, or new procedures.

Sales and marketing one-pagers are typically written to quickly introduce prospects to a company, product, or service. Salespeople or marketers may distribute them at conferences or digitally as PDFs.

A one-pager’s audience is based on the one-pager’s goal:

  • Is the one-pager aiming to secure investors for a new startup? Those investors are the target audience.
  • Is the one-pager part of a campaign to increase sales of a particular product? The prospective customer is the audience.
  • Is the one-pager supposed to give staff a well-rounded understanding of a new offering? You’ll be writing to those staff, whether salespeople, marketers, or other roles.
  • Does the one-pager provide an update on profit-and-loss, new product development, or some type of internal report to higher ups? Those executives or managers are the target audience.

The myriad purposes of a one-pager mean they can be written in a variety of ways, but they always have one thing in common: they don’t take up more than a single page. That single page may be printed on front and back, but there’s only one sheet, not staples, no folds. This makes one-pagers a cost-effective, easy-to-transport piece of marketing collateral — perfect for your traveling sales team.

Are there one-pagers outside of the business world?

Yes. Educators may assign students to write up “one-pagers” — single-page reports on a book or subject — as a homework assignment. In certain industries like screenwriting, individuals create one-pagers to introduce themselves and their work. In both of these cases, the written product is contained on a single sheet of paper, but these types of one-pagers are distinct from what’s used in business.

This article is about one-pagers for business.

The Writing Process: From 60 to One.

Don’t let the length deceive you. Writing a single (designed) page of snappy, to-the-point copy isn’t as easy as firing up Google Docs and pouring your heart into 500 words (if that’s even easy). 

Every well-crafted one-pager starts with more information than can possibly fit on a single page. It’s up to the writer to prioritize that information, eliminate what the audience doesn’t need, and shape the rest into coherent, digestible bites.

This multi-step process will help you pen a one-pager out of a ream — or maybe just 60 pages — of notes.

1. Define the purpose/goal.

You’ve been tasked with writing this particular one-pager for a reason, so take the time to clarify and understand that reason. 

  • Will the one-pager be used as training material for new staff? 
  • Does it school existing staff on a new product — or new features that have been added to an existing product?
  • Will the piece summarize internal research or report findings for mid-level managers to help them better support their team?
  • Is it summing up management changes and their effect on productivity for C-suite executives?
  • Does it highlight a brand-new service for new or existing customers?
  • Will it be in a booth at an upcoming industry conference, where potential partners or customers will be in attendance?

Speak with the person who decided a one-pager was needed and ask questions to clarify what they want to use the one-pager for. What purpose do they see it serving? What step do they want their audience to take after reading the one-pager?

Once you have a clear idea of the one-pager’s goal, you’re ready for step 2.

2. Define the audience.

As discussed earlier, the audience is directly related to the one-pager’s goal. If you understand the goal, you should know — at least broadly — who the audience is.

But knowing the basic audience identity isn’t quite enough. You also need to know:

  • How familiar the audience is with the one-pager’s subject matter
  • If they have an existing relationship with the company/product/service/etc.
  • Why they might be interested in the company/product/service/etc.
  • What they need to know about the subject matter in order to take the next step
  • What their pain points or concerns are that the company/product/service addresses

Let’s say you’re writing a one-pager about a new attachment for a KitchenAid mixer. You’d want to consider these specific questions:

  • Does my audience already own a KitchenAid mixer? Or is this contraption a way to sell them on the mixer as well?
  • What is the baking/mixing problem that this new attachment solves? What sort of things does the audience make that brings them up against this problem?
  • Are these advanced bakers who use a mixer in an industrial kitchen? Or are these hobby bakers who mainly bake for their friends and family at home?

All of these questions will help you better understand your audience, and ultimately write to them in a compelling way.

3. Gather information.

You’ve already gathered a bit of information about the one-pager and its audience. Now you need to gather information about the one-pager’s subject matter.

Your information-gathering process should be guided by what you know about the one-pager’s purpose and audience, but it’s better to cast a wide net and gather as much information as possible than to be too narrow in your research.

Here are a few lists to guide you:

Company One-Pager

Introduces investors to the company, its mission, the problems it seeks to solve, and its products and services from a bird’s-eye view.

  • Any existing marketing collateral for the company
  • About page copy from the website (and any notes from when that copy was being crafted)
  • Interviews with executives/founders about why they started the company, what they’re seeking to accomplish
  • Relevant facts and statistics about the company’s industry, the gaps it intends to fill
  • Existing mission/value statements
  • Product/services pages from the website (and any notes)

Product/Services One-Pager

For external sales and marketing use, introduces prospective customers to the product/services.

  • Any existing marketing collateral for the product/services
  • Product/services pages from the website (and any notes)
  • Information on competitor product/services to help identify differentiators
  • Relevant facts and statistics about the industry, gaps filled by product/services
  • Customer pain points and how the product/services address them

Report Fact Sheet

Summarizes major findings of internal reports for higher-ups.

  • Full report
  • Documentation on why the report was conducted, why it was needed
  • Interviews with report researchers and analysts for further insight on major findings
Pro Tip: Once you’ve gathered all of these materials, upload them into Wordtune. The tool will summarize your materials and help you pick out important facts and content.
You can upload PDFs or paste weblinks into Wordtune for quick summaries of the content.

Gather as many existing materials as possible to inform your one-pager. Then supplement those with live interviews to provide more context, address any gaps, answer your lingering questions, and make sure you’ve properly understood the other materials.

Chances are, your one-pager is a short version of something that already exists, so make sure  you closely read whatever that is — whether it’s a website, single webpage, lengthy report, or something else.

4. Boil it down.

Now that you’re positively overloaded with information, it’s time to start cutting things out and summarizing what’s important. Whether you have 5 pages of notes or 10 or 60, you need to finish with a single page — max 1.5 pages — of concise copy. 

What does the audience need to know? What are the most important and most compelling pieces of information based on your audience’s interests and needs?

Use your understanding of your audience and the one-pager’s goal to cut out the information you don’t need. Then, make a list of the information you absolutely do need. 

Start playing with how you can convey that information in concise, direct ways. Maybe some facts can be grouped together or described with a single statement. Others may need to stand on their own.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve written out some of the facts and narrative of your one-pager, plug the content into the Wordtune Editor and use the rewrite or tighten functions to cut the fluff.
Wordtune Editor can help you smooth stiff sentences and get to the point.

5. Determine the structure.

There’s a lot of room for variation and creativity in one-pagers, but your structure should be determined — first and foremost — by your audience’s needs and your one-pager’s goal. 

You’ll want foundational information to be prominently displayed, with supportive facts and fleshed out narrative falling below in the design hierarchy.

Go through your list of needed information and arrange it according to importance. Use that list to sketch an outline. You can start thinking about design at this step as well.

Here’s a working outline for example:

Company Name

[basic description of company, highlighting the needs it’s meeting locally] 

  • Bullet points: Year-over-year growth in geographic reach, profitability, and overall customer base
  • Quote from positive review
  • Graphic illustrating number of repeat customers
  • Statement about how we show up for our customers
  • Call to action
  • Website & contact info

6. Go beyond sentences.

The best one-pagers utilize design and copywriting in tandem to make an engaging, interesting piece. Instead of being filled with text from top to bottom, you’ll want your one-pager to have a mix of narrative and short-form copy.

Here are a few different types of content you can play with:

  • Bullet points
  • Mini infographics
  • Pull quotes
  • Headings/subheadings
  • Blurbs
  • FAQs/Q&A
  • Annotated illustrations (especially helpful for product one-pagers)

As you sort through your info list, brainstorm the best ways to convey each piece of information. Could multiple facts be combined into a single statement or claim? Could some be represented through a designed infographic section? What approach will make the most sense to your audience while also engaging their attention?

Pro Tip: Wordtune Editor can help you find alternate phrasings to unnecessarily long copy. Just highlight the text you want to refine and click on the “shorten” arrows.

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