How to Write Descriptions: Powerful Formula
Sight and sound are both important and will usually be the most-utilized senses in scene description, but using all five senses can provide a much rounder, more tangible experience for your reader.
Put yourself in your character’s shoes and really think about everything they would be experiencing at that moment. Writing that experience will give you a strong setting. You can also work to create dynamic mixes of senses instead of isolating them to one specific sense.
“Florian’s eyes were the colour of light split through a glass of vodka. His wrists were so narrow that they could be snapped with one hand, the bones crushed in a strong palm as easily as the rib cage of a sparrow.”
This is discussing the physical appearance of a person through sight, but it makes the image so much richer by using the senses of sound and touch. Bones crushing and snapping is a visceral experience.
#2 – Include what’s relevant
It’s easy to bog down your writing with a lot of scenery and description just for the heck of it, but you often don’t need that much. If you include too many details, your reader will get bored and may start skimming.
Johan’s stomach groaned like some kind of dying animal. He went down the unoccupied halls of the mall where rain knocked heavily on the ceiling glass. The building had no power and the venues were all pitch black inside. The only light came from the sunlight buried behind the gunmetal clouds overhead. His olive-colored coat was heavily drenched from being outside and the jeans he wore that had once fitted nicely were overgrown and baggy.
He stopped at a directory in the center of the hall and eyed the various locations listed before finding the words Food Court, and continuing in the direction of its guiding arrow.
Near a set of still escalators along the way, he noticed a department store with a shattered window at its façade. Someone must have stolen from there long ago, he thought. Aside the broken glass on the floor was an empty shoebox. When he walked beside it, he realized from the picture imprinted on its side that it belonged to a pair of small, bright red Velcro strap boots for children.
Johan’s stomach groaned like a dying animal. He walked the ghost mall, rain knocking heavily on the glass ceiling. The building had no power, and the venues were pitch black inside. The only light seeped from behind gunmetal clouds. His olive coat was heavily drenched, and his jeans that once fit nicely sagged, cinched with a rope around his waist.
How to write a product description that sells
Online stores often make the mistake of listing product features when writing product descriptions. This likely results in lower conversions because people don’t understand how the product helps them.
1. Focus on your ideal buyer
Understanding how to write a product description requires putting yourself in the shoes of your audience. When you write a product description with a huge crowd of buyers in mind, your descriptions become wishy-washy and you end up addressing no one at all.
The best product descriptions address your target audience directly and personally. You ask and answer questions as if you’re having a conversation with them. You choose the words your ideal buyer uses. You use the word “you.”
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When it comes to writing your own product descriptions, start by imagining your ideal buyer. What kind of humor do they appreciate (if any)? What words do they use? What words do they hate? Are they OK with words like “sucky” and “crappy”? What questions do they ask that you should answer?
Consider how you would speak to your ideal buyer if you were selling your product in-store, face to face. Now try and incorporate that language into your ecommerce site so you can have a similar conversation online that resonates more deeply.
2. Entice with benefits
The problem is our potential buyers are not as interested in mundane features and specs. They want to know what’s in it for them—how it will address their biggest pain points. Successfully executing how to write a product description requires you to highlight those benefits of each feature.
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Dr. Squatch suggests that the benefit of its soap is not just that it’ll clean you up in the shower, but that the soap is actually tough enough to knock out any stench. No matter how heavy your day was. It also sneaks in some product benefits including “natural ingredients” and “exfoliating oatmeal” to appeal to its ideal buyer persona.
Consider the benefit of each of your features. How does your product make your customers feel happier, healthier, or more productive? What problems, glitches, and hassle does your product help solve?
3. Avoid “yeah, yeah” phrases
That’s a “yeah, yeah” phrase. As soon as a potential buyer reads “excellent product quality” he thinks, “Yeah, yeah, of course. That’s what everyone says.”Ever heard someone describe their product quality as average, not so good, or even bad?
You become less persuasive when your potential buyer reads your product description and starts saying “yeah, yeah” to themselves. To avoid this reaction, be as specific as possible.
One shopper in a recent study could not find the information he needed in the product description, so he left the site to search Google for more product information. In the course of his search, he found another site with the same product, a more complete description, and a lower price.
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4. Justify using superlatives
The word signature gives the reader the impression that this is something special. Amazon goes on to quote the pixel density (300 ppi) and how the reader has glare-free display and twice the amount of storage as previous generations.
Use Metaphors, similes, and analogies
Using figurative language can help spice up your work in a positive way if used carefully. People are engineered to see patterns in life (think seeing faces in toast) and using these techniques can help pull readers deeper into a story. Don’t fall back on lazy, overly used figurative phrases or ones that don’t make sense. Bonus points if you can relate your words back to your story specifically. You can say that “she was as quiet as quite as a mouse”, but that can be boring. Or your could use “she was as quiet as a feather on the wind” which is at least not cliched.
A fundamental part of writing is the use of descriptions and learning better ways to write descriptions can improve your skills. Paint pictures with your words but spare your words on what’s important, be concrete, and keep your writing tight. With work, you can make your works even better.