If you are like me, you probably never intended to write product descriptions. But if you are reading this I assume you have found a need to do so.
I originally started writing for myself, and then found I could help others by writing software and tips to be helpful. While there is a lot of creativity involved with writing descriptions there are a few steps I follow to try and streamline the process as much as possible.
Think about your reader
You don’t need to do an in-depth analysis of who your customer is, but you should have a rough idea. If you are selling children’s clothing it will be a safe bet that your reader will be an adult woman who is a mother. Get a picture in your mind of who she is and write to her. Think about what she might want to know and hear. Also, keep in mind what your audience might not want to hear and try to keep yourself from straying. For example, a mother shopping for children’s clothing may not be interested in the same things that she would when shopping for herself. Fashion trends will take a backseat to durability or how cute an outfit looks.
Do some research
Sometimes we will need to write about a product with which we may not have direct experience. As a man, I have not had a lot of experience in women’s fashion. Fortunately, we live in an age where information is easy to come by. To research a subject I like to break it down into attributes and benefits. For example, if you need to find out about dresses, you’ll also want to research about collars, material, hemlines. I find I’ll spend more time researching that I do writing, but it pays off. This works well if you are writing multiple product descriptions on the same subject.
Don’t just stick to the facts, look at blog posts and opinions of several different writers. Don’t just copy the information. This is important! Digest the information so you can tell it in your own way.
At times you’ll need to write about products that are not exactly your cup of tea. This occurs a lot if you are writing for someone else’s shop. You may think that you can’t possibly get excited about fishing tackle or crocheted tea cozies. The people who will read your descriptions are excited about the products. They want to be excited and want your descriptions to pique their interests even further. Even if you are not excited about the product, get excited about the storytelling. The most effective product descriptions will bring the reader into the story.
Write your opening statement
The opening statement is the introduction to the reader. If you write a boring opening sentence you risk losing the reader right away. You want to engage either imagination or emotions right at the start. Some of my favorite opening phrases are
“The right dress will” – This gives the reader confidence
“If you are like me” – Provides empathy and an emotional connection
“This dress will make you feel like” – Invokes emotion and imagination
“Just imagine yourself” – Brings the reader into the story as the main character
Just imagine yourself standing out and turning heads, wearing this beautiful summer dress while walking your favorite beach, as the waves dart between your feet as the sound of the waves and seagulls delight your ears.
Write benefits instead of features
Once you set the scene with the opening statement you then just need to keep their attention. Move on to the details and features of the product. Resist the urge to list the features and instead give the benefits of each feature.
For example instead of saying “These clothes are durable and long-lasting” say something like “The durable material means that even with your active lifestyle, you’ll be able to enjoy this wonderful outfit for years to come” or “The low neckline will be sure to turn heads and make you the center of attention.”
Write to the future
If you write to the future you can put into the reader’s mind the possibility of buying the product. In a way, we are holding back the feeling unless the reader is committed to buying.
“This dress looks great for any occasion”
“You will look great in this dress no matter the occasion”
This puts into the reader’s mind the future where they own the dress and it also brings the reader into the story.
Write a closing
After several rounds of writing the benefits part of your story, it is time to wrap it up. In the last sentence, you want to give the reader permission to buy. It will depend heavily on the product you are selling, but some of my favorite phrases are:
“You can’t go wrong with..”
“Treat yourself with the dress you deserve”
“You’ll never regret the way you will look in this dress”
While there will be a lot of work involved in writing your product descriptions, I hope that these steps will help get you started. In time, you’ll find your own tips and tricks, and your work will get easier with every new description.