What comes to mind when you think about spring cleaning? Probably a lot of physical organizing, right? Rearranging things, tidying, dusting, de-cluttering, freshening up. Maybe a few mental refreshes as well – new ideas, aspirations, goals?
You may be overlooking something big.
What about refreshing your words, your tone, your message?
In this increasingly online world, the way you communicate in writing has a huge impact on how you are perceived and, let’s face it, how successful you can be. I recently focused in on my own written communications, and today I’m going to share some tips and examples of how I made some small changes to my product descriptions that made an amazing difference. In fact, I’m not even going to show you pictures of my products in this post! Let’s focus on the words.
Some of my listings, like the one above, had some great pieces to start with. I loved “lighthearted” as a descriptor, so I kept that. But, from there I just started writing.
Tip #1: Get it all out there. Start by being generative, dumping all your thoughts and ideas out there in writing. Then, when you go back and edit you’ll have a lot to work with. Not sure where to start?
Tip #2: Think about how you’d talk about the product. For each of my listings, I thought about how I would describe to someone when or why they might use it. This can be tricky if you have a lot of similar products. Think about what makes each item unique – if you really can’t think of anything, you may need to reconsider why you’re selling that item.
Some of my listings were pretty lacking in description, as well as reading like “icky marketing.” I remember writing this second “before” example (above) late in the evening and not wanting to spend any more time on it than I absolutely had to. That’s why it’s one measly sentence that definitely does NOT read as fun or heartfelt, despite the words being right there in the text.
Tip #3: Be extra descriptive. Exaggerate for emphasis. Back when you were being generative, you hopefully jotted down a bunch of adjectives that describe your item. Now’s your chance to pepper them throughout your description by replacing any less-descriptive adjectives with better ones. For example, don’t write about a “large pillow,” write about a “enormously fluffy pillow.” (But only if it’s true, and also include absolute measurements.)
Tip #4: Write the way you talk. This one might be controversial. If you tend to talk in obscure slang, use a lot of profanity, or never use complete sentences, this is probably not your tip. But the idea is that for handmade businesses, or businesses based around an individual, your customers need to see you in your descriptions. Be a little less formal, a little friendlier.
Please don’t think that interesting descriptions that are true to one’s personality can’t also contain useful information! In fact, the last example (above) has tons of information in the “after,” while incorporating a bit of humor and sounding much more human.
Not a shop owner? You can still use these strategies to improve your writing – think about describing how you’ll use an item in a thank you note, or being extra specific and detailed about something you’re talking about in your next email to a friend. It’ll bring out more of your personality in your writing. After all, people are typically reading your writing to hear what YOU have to say!