You’ve got a product on your site that needs a product description. No problem. You do some keyword research, check out how your competitor’s descriptions look, read the manufacturer’s manual, gather comments from your customers. You format a beautiful description with a paragraph, some bullet points, and even a video. It’s thorough, complete, and well written. Phew, now you can move on to the next thing on your to-do list.
But, what if you don’t just have one description to write? What if you sell lots and lots of similar products? You want to write a thorough and unique description for each, right? You already described your first product as “visually stunning”. Maybe the next could be “aesthetically pleasing”. But by the 20th description, you are feeling some serious writer’s block (how many ways can you say that it looks nice?!) and this sure is starting to take a long time.
I’ve been there. Writing a lot of descriptions for very similar items can be daunting, but I’ve found a few ways to make it work. Read on.
Create A Format
It might feel like a lot of pressure to write a compelling and unique product description for each product, but cut yourself some slack. Your customers aren’t reading your product description for the literary value.Even if your brand includes interesting copy for descriptions, that’s secondary to the main purpose of a product description. Your customers are primarily here to find out if this product will meet their needs, whatever those might be. So, create a format that will make it easy for the customer to find what they need.
Once you have a format, it’s more or less fill in the blank. This makes it much easier to write a series of descriptions for very similar products. You don’t have to burden yourself with creating 20 (or 100 or 1,000) masterpieces. You just have tell your customer the features and benefits that they should know. If your customer doesn’t already know what they want and is making comparisons, they’ll appreciate the consistency. And, sadly, though many of your customers will never read your descriptions, consistent descriptive information can also become a tool for you and your staff to reference.
User first, SEO second
SEO is important (duh). But, in the context of a product description, it’s not your first consideration. Your description should be geared towards your prospective customer. When they end up on a product page you should be giving them the info that they need to make a purchasing decision in the most compelling way possible. Once you’ve done that, you can tweak for SEO.
Avoid Vapid, Useless Sentences
When you run out of new things to say, the temptation to write meaningless sentences will be strong. Things like:
- Really great quality…
- A must have…
- A very good service…
These sentences don’t further your brand voice or tell the customer any real info. Worse, they may be a turnoff if your customer gets the sense that this description is just fluff. They may not read further and move onto another site that has the info they need. This could happen even if your description did contain the needed info after the “fluff”.
If your brand involves humor, grit, nostalgia, or some other descriptor that calls for extra language and you think your audience will enjoy it (aka won’t leave because of it, or may even come because of it), go ahead. Otherwise, ruthlessly edit it out.
When you hit the wall, take a break. Work on something else, make some coffee, go for a walk. You don’t have to finish in one sitting. In fact, forcing yourself to push through may make the descriptions come out worse. Your descriptions are important. If you aren’t feeling it, take some time off so that you can come back with your best effort later.
Examples Of Repetitive Product Description Writing
You don’t have to look far to find e-commerce sites with tons of similar products doing a great job with descriptions.
B&H has a killer site selling photography equipment and other electronics. They do a great job creating consistency in their descriptions. For high end products, they have very thorough descriptions. This is especially helpful for those considering a large purchase for something like a camera. They are likely more thorough that most sites will need to be, but it makes sense for products that are so expensive and technical.
Even though their descriptions are quite long, they are organized well, broken up with headers, and consistent. Consistent is key. If I’m comparing several cameras, I can predictably find the piece of info I’m looking for at a certain part of their product description.
The way they break down the content on their watch pages is impressive. It’s concise and easily digestible. The format they’ve chose only requires short sentences or paragraphs about each topic. If they add a new watch, it must be easy to create the new description based on the existing content.
I love it when stores create visual indicators to signify important things about their products. Dials, charts, graphs, anything to visually represent info. This is often easier to understand at a glance than paragraphs or bullet points. In this case, Counter Culture uses the first section of their description to tell you the process of the coffee and its flavor profile. It’s easy to get the basic idea of this coffee with minimal reading. They then follow up with the story of the coffee. This will be quite interesting for some, but is unobtrusive is you are just trying to find out what it will taste like.
(By the way, they roast some excellent coffee if you’re in the market.)
Writing Repetitive Product Descriptions
I hope this post helps you with your product descriptions. Rather than being a horrible writing challenge, you can turn the repetition into a chance to create excellent content that consistently tells your customers what they want to know and turns your site into a useful information resource for you and your staff.
If you have other tips or resources for writing great product descriptions, I’d love to hear them! Comment below.