Dive into the world of e-commerce by mastering product description writing.
E-commerce is rapidly emerging as one of the most profitable niches online. With an ever-growing digital marketplace, over 20% of global products are now sold online. As this sector continues to expand, so does the demand for well-crafted product descriptions. These descriptions play a pivotal role in online sales, making product description writers increasingly sought after. Want to tap into this lucrative field? Here’s your guide to starting a career in product description writing.
What Are Product Descriptions?
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the term ‘product descriptions’? Chances are, your mind goes straight to the explanatory text that describes every product sold on web stores like Amazon. And you wouldn’t be wrong, but that’s not the full picture. Simply said, a product description is a component of any offer that can make or break the sale. While writing for Amazon sellers indeed is a big portion of description writing work offered online, the job can be so much more.
It may include:
- Presenting the product in online stores
- Writing information printed on product packaging
- Introducing products and services on manufacturers’ websites
- Offering the product on social media.
Even though product descriptions come in various shapes and forms, it’s always made with the same intention – getting the visitor to click ‘Add to Cart’. Achieving this is no easy feat, though. The job of a product description is to inform, provide key features and specifications, tell a story, show the value of the product, and entice the visitor and turn them into a buyer. It needs to show what sets this product apart from the competitors. And it has to do all of this in a limited word count.
How Much Can You Earn By Writing Product Descriptions?
As in all matters of life, it depends. So let’s break it down a bit. Some factors that come into play are:
- Your level of experience
- Your level of productivity
- The quality and location of clients you are collaborating with
- Prices, numbers, and popularity of the products you are writing descriptions for
- The amount of time you’re willing to put into your job
You can either go for an hourly rate, which usually sits somewhere between $15 and $35. Or, you can get paid by product description for which you can get anything between $3 and $25 a pop. The latter option is usually more lucrative because, as you become accustomed to a specific brand and its products, you can churn out vast numbers of descriptions per hour. Getting paid per result is also much more motivating for productive freelancers. So if the level of caffeine in your bodily system is high, and you already understand a specific brand’s voice, you could earn up to $100 per hour with this kind of gig. But now the crucial question – where do you find such gigs?
Where to Find Product Description Writing Jobs
As with most online writing jobs, there are many job boards, Facebook groups, and advertising sites where you can find great gigs. Alternatively, you can send a cold pitch directly to the seller you want to work for. If there is a brand that you adore, you should cold pitch them for sure as your enthusiasm will be apparent. And if at a particular time, they don’t have a product description gig for you, perhaps they will agree to a sponsored post on your blog or a sponsored video on your YouTube channel.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend turning to freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr and finding your first description of writing gigs there. Many product description writing jobs are focused on writing for Amazon sellers, but that’s not always the case. Shopify is another popular platform that people can use to create their e-commerce stores (even if they run a tiny business). You may find yourself on the Shopify list of freelancers offering product description work and start collaborating with business owners from around the world. Finally, you may even find your next gig by browsing social media. Both LinkedIn and Facebook are bustling with opportunities for talented writers.
How to Write Effective Product Descriptions
Creating a product description that sells is easier said than done. Here are some tips that can help you approach the job the right way, and create descriptions that will attract paying customers.
1. Consider The Target Audience
Whatever you write, product descriptions included, you should always first and foremost consider your target audience. Simply said, you need to figure out who you’re writing for. Having this information at hand will give you essential insights about the approach you should take.
Try to define these characteristics of an average person who’d buy your product:
- Age group
- Lifestyle demographic
- Primary interests
Speaking of lifestyle demographics, this is not a specific characteristic. Try to figure out what could apply to the type of buyer of your product. It may be their profession, marital status, whether they have children, specific hobbies and interests (cooking, cars, tech, travel…), or any other detail that may apply to how they choose to spend their money. Defining your target audience can be simple or tricky, depending on the product at hand. Finding the ‘ideal customer’ for specialized products like, for example, handsaws, is pretty straightforward. You would have most success writing for a demographic of maintenance workers, focusing on the age group of between 30 and 50 years old, who are likely to prefer practical information and care more about the specifications like material and dimension of the product than, for example, its color or design. The main benefit of defining your target audience is finding the perfect replacement for ineffective generic terms. Few people will buy a product because it’s “high-quality.” Instead, focus on the particular advantages they get from it – ‘You’ll dazzle your friends with this stylish piece of clothing’, ‘Make your winters comfy and cozy with this space heater’, and ‘Your children will be completely safe to spend their time out in the sun, AND have a lot of fun on this trampoline’ work much better.
2. Gather Your Product Data
You can’t write convincing copy unless you do your research. As a product description writer, you need to know more about the product than will end up in your text. In most cases, your employer will give you product specifications that you can use in your descriptions directly. However, sometimes that’s not so easy to do, so you may need to gather the product details online, or even get in touch with manufacturers directly to find out about some specific features or specifications. Depending on the product, the data you need will differ.
But it includes characteristics like:
- dimensions (and sizing options if applicable)
- product features
- functions and how to use them
- how to assemble or set up the product
- included accessories
- packaging information
- applicable manufacturing standards it’s compliant with
- warranty, etc.
Once you gather all your data, your task will be to pick the relevant information to put in the description. Finally, you can work on presenting the info in an easy-to-understand and interesting way.
3. Grab Their Attention
Standing out online is hard because the competition is fierce. As a writer, you need to juggle between optimizing your copy for search engines and making it appeal to human readers. It’s difficult to end up on the first page of Google results, so you should do your keyword research carefully. Pick high-ranking (but not out of reach) keywords to use in your headline title and throughout the text. This will help Google understand what you’re talking about. However, focusing on SEO too much can lead to text that sounds robotic and unnatural so balance is key. People like catchy headlines that clearly and concisely explain the basic purpose of the product. Include a joke or two (if appropriate), add helpful information, and stress how the product helps solve a problem that the person might be dealing with.
4. Turn Features Into Benefits
Every product has features. Unless your product has way more features sold for a much lower price than all the competitors (which is unlikely), the features themselves won’t sell all that well. Features don’t sell. Benefits do. So, when you list the features of the product, try to connect them to the particular pain points of your customers.
This is how you can turn features into benefits that your customers will want to pay extra for:
- Made out of durable materials → It will last you a lifetime
- Small dimensions → Portable and easy to store
- Battery operated → Use it anywhere you go
- Well-constructed → Safe for children
- Comes in various colors → Get the one that suits you perfectly
5. Mind Your Format
In most cases, the website that you’re writing for or the brand itself will have some established, general formatting rules. Stay within the style guide as much as you can. There are a couple of general rules that apply to most product descriptions out there. E-commerce sites have tested-and-tried formatting options that make the descriptions comprehensive, yet easy to go through (scannable):
- Bullet points for specifications
- Eye-catching icons for main features or compliance with standards
- A few paragraphs of descriptive text with the main features. Express your creativity, tell a story, or address the customer’s pain points in this section.
If you follow these basic formatting rules, end up with a product description that’s neat and easy to scan, without having to reduce the amount of information the text contains.
Creating engaging product descriptions is not an easy task, but with some practice and determination, you can become great at it and start earning a sizable income. The most important thing is to never settle for less than you’re worth. Search for clients who will appreciate your value and give you an appropriate rate. Next up, you may want to explore a guide on how to get into freelance writing.
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