It’s copywriting 101:
Nobody wants to hear you talking about yourself.
They want to know what’s in it for them.
Even entry-level copywriters swiftly learn the importance of stressing benefits over features. Instead of talking about what your product does, you talk about how it can help your customer. What pain does it alleviate? How does it make life easier for them?
It’s a simple tactic, but it’s powerfully effective.
It’s also grossly misunderstood.
A lifetime ago, I sat in a career counselor’s office, explaining why I couldn’t imagine a job I would succeed at. I had no skills, I explained. I knew nothing about anything.
The counselor asked me to prove it. “List your skills,” he urged me.
I shrugged. “Very well,” I replied. I was intelligent. I was analytical. I was reasonably organized. I knew how to be patient and how to listen. But so was everybody else. I only had general skills; I didn’t know anything specific.
The counselor shook his head. Those skills, he said, that I had so derisively labeled as general skills—those were the most important skills I could ever learn. Anything else—marketing, design, data entry—were simply extra skills that I could learn.
But all the skills in the world wouldn’t get me anywhere if I didn’t have the basics.
Copywriting is a pretty broad field. It includes blogging, newsletters, social media, articles, emails, advertising, even screenwriting—but for my first year as a full-time copywriter, all I did was write product descriptions.
I’ve already written about my initial frustration with that job, and how I eventually came to see it as an opportunity to develop my writing voice, test new techniques, and fine-tune my style.
In this post, I’d like to share the 9 tactics I learned that guided my approach to writing product descriptions over that year—with some examples.
Here we go.
Eli Landes is one of those weird writers who just can't get enough. A marketing writer by day and a fiction writer whenever he can squeeze in the time, he spends his spare time working on his novel, writing short fiction, or daydreaming (I mean, researching). His main genre is Jewish fiction, but he's been known to dabble in the weird, the absurd, and the truly dark.
Eli Landes (the dude whose blog you're reading right now) is a marketing copywriter by day and a fiction writer whenever he can squeeze in the time. He's gotten pretty good at it, and has decided to share his "wisdom." Sigh. I guess they let everyone do this these days.
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