Product descriptions can be a great opportunity for copywriters: They offer a lot of work that can be fairly steady and may also be done remotely. But if you want to wow potential employers and land the job, there’s one key you’ve got to know. Read to learn it? Read on…
Today’s question comes from Pete W. who asks, “I have a potential opportunity to work for a company and write their product descriptions. I’m writing two as kind of a copy test. Are there any tips you can give me to write them better?”
Despite the fact that some companies put in the bare minimum of effort on product descriptions, they’re actually some of the most important pieces of copy out there. Think about it: Someone has gotten to the sale page, they’re pretty close to the point of purchase and that copy can make or break the sale.
But, of course, if the copy isn’t written the right way, it just takes up space—or worse, it distracts from the product!
So let’s make sure you write them the right way, shall we? The key to writing great product descriptions is: Write to the right audience.
Okay, I know, that sounds very basic. Stick with me.
The operative word in that advice is “right.” Many product descriptions are written to the entirely wrong audience. What do I mean? Well, first, who’s the target audience for, say, an X-Men action figure? It’s going to be played with by a child…but the product description is more likely to be read by a parent!
Here’s the thing: Primarily, the audience you’re writing to is the person who’s going to make the purchase, not necessarily the person who’ll use it. You need to write what that purchaser needs to hear!
It’s not always immediately easy to figure out who the purchaser will be. For example, in the case of a piece of jewelry, say a pendant with a birthstone for each child in a family, who do you think the purchaser will be? It’s a necklace that’s clearly designed for a mother…but it’s very unlikely the mother will be doing the purchasing. It’s much more likely that the necklace will be purchased by a grown child, a spouse, or even a friend.
And, since you know that the purchaser will fall into one of those audiences but you don’t know which one, you need to write to all of them! You need to convey the benefits of giving this necklace, which should also align with the benefits for the recipient of receiving it.
Because you don’t know the audience, you need to be careful how you write it. You can’t say, “Give mom this pendant” because you don’t know for sure that you’re addressing the child. Instead, you need to speak more broadly and say something like, “Celebrate a mother’s love with this necklace…”
Product descriptions are so much more than just “descriptions of a product.” They’re a company’s opportunity to really romance a product; to help convey the experience of owning or giving this item. Putting people in the frame of mind of owning/giving and the benefits of that is the most powerful way to convince them to make the purchase.
But, as I said, the key to doing this right is to know who you’re talking to. Don’t make assumptions—take the time to figure it out.
Your turn! Where have you seen great product descriptions? Let us know in the comments below!