How to write product descriptions that actually get read

If I may ask, when was the last time you went to the grocery?

I’m sure it was quite recent, since convenience stores pretty much count as mini-groceries as well. For some reason, whatever consumables we have at home seem to be running out faster than expected and all that.

But when you make your purchases, do you really read what’s on the label? I’m thinking unless you’re the type who counts calories, or have a severe allergic reaction to some ingredients, you’d only pay the product description a passing glance.

HOWEVER.

I must say that from what I observed, there is a greater tendency for people to actually read the product descriptions they see on the Internet, rather than those readily found on the packaging of a product in a store.

So I ask: why is that? Does that mean that those marketing on the Internet know how to write product descriptions better?

 

Probably.

 

I know for a fact that every bit of information that goes into the product description on the packaging goes through a good amount of scrutiny. Add to that the fact that if the packaging happens to be small, space constraints apply when writing, so all you get are scant details and mostly just ingredients and their quantities.

The problem is people would mostly hardly read this at all.

When writing for online purposes, however, there is a greater freedom to say a bit more than just ingredients or materials and their quantity. Writing for online purposes actually gives your product descriptions a chance to be READ.

But how do you write a product description that make people read them? Glad you asked, cuz.

 

Unique information

A product is a product is a product, I get that. This means that you can only write what materials or ingredients there are in a number of ways, and most of these ways will make what you write similar to others, so where’s the uniqueness in that? You actually don’t have a choice but to write uniquely, because if you don’t, you fall to the much-dreaded Google “Farmer algorithm‘”. which seeks out content farms that either rip off content from others or produce low-quality material that’s designed to fool search engines but have no intellectual value whatsoever. No, seriously, Google has that now, and seriously, copying content? For shame! Think about it this way: There will always be another way of describing stuff other than the way someone else did it. Let’s say you’re describing belts, right? And let’s say the belts are made of Kevlar. Everyone and their kid brother knows Kevlar is bullet proofing material, so everyone will pretty much say that. Now STOP for a while. You’re describing a belt, right? Regardless if it’s bullet proof or not, a belt will NOT save you from a bullet (unless it covers you from forehead to ankles), so DON’T USE THAT DESCRIPTION. Maybe you could say that the weave is X times stronger than steel but is just a fraction of the weight, stuff like that, where the reader will see a benefit derived from the same thing everyone else is describing.

 

Product intimacy

Yes I said INTIMACY, not familiarity, not run-of-the-mill knowledge. You have to know everything you can possibly know about the product you are describing. Why? In order to make a description that is decidedly different from other similar products, you have to know more about what you are describing. What is it made of? What other things are made of that material? What is the best quality of that material which it imparts on the product you are describing? These are the things you need to know rather than just saying “made of bulletproof, durable material”, which is maybe the same description in 500 other similar products. If you know more about the product, you can make more and better descriptions about it.

 

Write like you mean it

So now you’ve made a fantastic effort to get to know the product you are describing, and your brain is full to bursting. Great, now you’re ready to write your descriptions. Hang on there, cuz. Just because you know everything there is to know about the product, it DOESN’T mean you NEED to write everything there is to know about it. Remember, it’s online, where the average attention span of a person is anywhere between 3 and 5 seconds. If you write a description that takes an hour to read, you’ve defeated your purpose as well. Write uniquely, but write just enough to keep the consumers informed about what you’re selling AND why they should buy it. Keep it at that. So, a good way to go would be to (1) tell them what’s in the product, (2) tell them what it does or what problem(s) the product is a solution for, and (3) tell them why they should buy your product. Stick to that, and you have a great combination of informative and convincing content for your product descriptions. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

 

I won’t say “try it out and tell me how it works” because I KNOW it will work, so I’ll just say good luck with the research and the writing.

 

Later.

 

Andy “describe-me-like-one-of-your-products” Jenkins

  • Fernando Arbex

    Thanks for sharing Andy.

  • Charalampos

    Thanks Man.

  • Dutch

    Nice Read.

  • Chris

    I always use the ‘so what’ approach to product description copywriting to turn features into benefits. Example, “100% cotton” (feature) – so what? – ‘cool and breathable against your skin, warm and cozy in winter’.

  • dee

    awesom stuff