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How to Write a Good Product Description Brief

How do I write a good brief for a product description?

Good product descriptions are enormously important to the success of an online shop. After all, in contrast to traditional brick-and-mortar shops, customers shopping online do not have the option of inspecting the product in detail themselves. In the classic, offline business setting, there would likely be a salesperson on hand to answer any questions and show off the product. Online shops, in contrast, manage this task by means of a well-written product description.

A common mistake many online shop owners make is to simply use the official product description written by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, as Google penalizes sites suspected of having copied content, this strategy runs the risk of lowering the site’s online visibility. However, this also means that with unique and informative product descriptions, you not only provide a valuable service to your existing customers, you may also improve your Google PageRank, making your store easier for new customers to find.


Create structure


To get exactly the product description you need, the first thing to do is decide on an approximate structure for all of the content within a given shop category: How many paragraphs should the text have? Should the individual paragraphs be divided via sub-titles? If preferred, you can also provide the authors with the exact, or approximate, wording for the sub-titles.


Using this information as a template, the author will be able put together a text that fits in well with the other product descriptions on your site. This will also make it easier for the visitors to your shop to compare the different products and find the one they need. Remember, the better customers are able to navigate your website, the more likely they are to buy from you rather than the competition.


What questions should your brief answer?


To ensure that the author is able to write a good product description, do not forget to provide all relevant information on the product in question. A good brief should answer the following questions:


What makes the product special?


You know what defines your product. In your brief, give the authors a rough idea of what you would highlight about the product to a potential customer. What are its most important characteristics and applications? Does it distinguish itself from the competition in any significant way? For some products, it might be a good idea to include a short history of the manufacturer at the beginning or end of the text.


Who is the product’s target audience?


Your author will need to know the type of customers that your shop is designed to attract. That’s why it’s important that you describe this target audience in your brief in as much detail as possible. With a detailed description of the customer, the author will have a good idea of who is being addressed and should be able to adapt the tone and style of the text accordingly. After all, you should advertise a product designed for teenagers differently than one meant for an older, middle-class audience.

Finally, decide whether or not the author is allowed to address the reader directly. Doing so can give the text a more personal appeal but might be too casual for some audiences, so it’s important to take this into consideration beforehand.


Where can the author find additional information on the product?

It is a very good idea to include additional sources of information for your author to use as research. For example, you might want to consider providing links to similar products in your shop so that the author can get a feel for the appropriate tone to use before getting to work.


How detailed should the product description be?

Should the author use the official information given by the manufacturer as the primary basis for the content, or do you require a more detailed description?

Some clients prefer that the author be especially knowledgeable about the product; if this is the case, you can simply state in the brief that only authors who have actually used the products themselves are allowed to accept the order.


Should information on the shop itself be included?

Often, a product description contains general information on the store or mentions a special offer or special terms and conditions. It’s important that you make it clear in your brief if you want the author to include these elements. Consider what information would be relevant for the customer. For example, if you are offering a product in your shop free of shipping costs under certain conditions, just have the author mention this in the product description.


Always keep in mind that an ideal product description is meant to serve not only as advertisement, but should also provide customers with information they need. No product is designed to do everything. Your customers know that and will be sure to appreciate a product description that is as accurate and informative as possible. Above all, do not forget this rule, as it applies to both online and offline purchases: Those who feel they are being given good advice will gladly come back for more.

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