Saturday, March 21, 2009

Product Descriptions: Writing for Different Media


Even though most of you who are reading this blog are online sellers, you will find these writing tips useful for product descriptions for a variety of media. You never know when an opportunity arises for you to participate in radio or TV spots, or other media. Be prepared!

Below are a few of the differences in writing for specific media that requires you to tweak your product descriptions.

Online Listings
  • Writing for online use requires that you be nimble and quick, using solid keywords, and brevity.

  • Online shoppers give you a split second to convince them to click further. This means that your copy should be short, concise, easy to understand, and complete in every way.

  • Online buyers cannot touch your product, smell it, see it in person, inspect it, or hear it. All that web shoppers have to convince them to buy your product are your words and your photos.

TV Shopping Shows

  • There was a time when TV shopping was met with significant skepticism. How can anyone buy from a TV picture? We have proven that we, as a people, will buy in any format!

  • Unlike writing for online listings where brevity is key, your product descriptions for TV presentations will be expanded.

  • You will think about the on-air time segment of your product and allow for very little dead air space. Provide as many keywords and descriptive phrases as you can to work with in writing for the show so talk can flow.

Print Catalogs

  • When writing for a print catalog, the key is the structure of the information. The catalog company will likely have a boilerplate template that you will need to fill in, including the description.

  • Limited character counts will mean you need to be brief while presenting the overview of your product.

  • Each catalog will have their own style that you will use.

Radio Ads or Presentations

  • Writing for the radio media is a whole different process. You will not have the benefit of an image of your product.

  • Your potential customer must listen and use their imagination from the words you use and the expressive voice that narrates.

  • It is important to bring in the feelings and emotions about your product, as well as the basic information. This can be done with a script between two people or a lone narrator.

  • Do your research and listen to other radio presentations for products similar to yours.

Billboards

  • Billboards that tout products are the most visual of these media.

  • More image, less text.

  • Your text needs to be very targeted, concise, and short.

  • Billboard advertising often sports short catchy phrases with interesting images that stick with you.

Digital Slide Presentations

  • A digital slide presentation, produced with software such as PowerPoint, may be in your future as well.

  • You can make slide presentations suitable for emailing to others. Sometimes, juried art shows will require some sort of overview where this may be appropriate.

  • Slides are small billboards.

  • Using images and short text, you can be sure your message is the combination of both.

  • Do not fill up a slide with text. This is not the purpose of this media.

It is fun to think about how these opportunities might come your way! I hear of many artists and crafters having interviews on local TV or radio. It can happen!

Think about how you might use your imagination to express the qualities of your great product.

Writing a full descriptive product sheet will allow you to pull from that for creating the exact style and content that you need for any of them. Even a list of bullet points made out once you finish your product will be invaluable!

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