Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday's News and Tips Item Descriptions

The world of arts and crafts has changed greatly with the advent of the Internet. No longer do we sellers have to sit at art and craft sales all day. Instead, we can sit in front of the computer dressed in our pajamas if we want, sipping on our favorite beverages.

For those who are selling products on the Internet, what we wear while tending our stores may not be an issue, but writing good copy for our item descriptions is. Instead of our customers picking up our products and handling them like they would at a craft sale, they have to visualize our items from the pictures we post in our shop and from the descriptions we write. 

Here are some tips that may help you in when writing item descriptions:

1. Start with what is most important about your product. Look at your product and describe what you see. Tell your reader how you made it, what inspired you to make it and what materials you used. Give your readers details about your product that may be difficult to surmise from a photograph, such as the size, feel, smell. Explain how your senses react the item. Is it soft? Does it smell good? If so, what does it smell like?

2.  If your product has background, tell your readers about it. Vintage items are good for this. However, if you don't know the historical background for an item, find out how it was used and explain that to your readers. Did you take a photograph of a famous place, or paint a picture of a national monument? Tell your customers about that place and why you think the picture is meaningful. If you took a picture of a flower, include some details about it. For me, it's always interesting to know some background on what I am buying, especially if it is a vintage piece or a handmade item.

3. Keep It Short and Simple. This is the KISS principle without the insult. Don't linger over your product descriptions. If you have facts, keep them short and simple. If you have history or a story to tell, write a short paragraph. Many people do not have the time or the patience to read a long product description. If you're having difficulty keeping a product description short and simple, try writing a one-sentence description for yourself. This exercise will help you focus on what is truly important about your product. Then ask what your customer should know and expand on it.

4. Edit, edit, edit. When I have trouble writing something, I copy paste my text into a Microsoft Word document and hit the check grammar and spelling function. Right away, the spelling and grammar check tells me if I have misspelled a word, need a comma or if my sentence is too long. It's a great tool to use. However, the spelling and grammar check does not notice everything. It does not recognize incorrect use of words such as their, there and they're, so be careful. One trick that professional writers use is to read what they write out loud. By doing this, the ear notices mistakes that the eye does not see. Give it a try. It can be fun.

Etsy also has a great article on writing product descriptions. You can look at it here:

How to Write Enticing Item Descriptions

Written by Lisa Gossman-Steeves

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