Jumpstart Your Copywriting Career by Writing Online Product Descriptions

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That’s how I got started. Over five years ago, my copywriting business began by writing catalog product descriptions for a print cataloger. Product descriptions are short pieces of sales-oriented copy packed with consumer benefits that push the consumer’s, “I gotta have that” hot button. This was my entrance into the rewarding field of copywriting and I enjoy writing descriptions more than ever today. The best part is…writing product descriptions can be a full-time or part-time endeavor depending on where you are in your copywriting career.$ Billions Sold OnlineOver the last few years, more and more retail businesses are selling their products online. Copywriters ready for this great transformation stand to find a lucrative market for their writing skills in this niche. From writing descriptions for businesses posting to Amazon.com to major catalogers, your online copywriting opportunities can be limitless.Online shopping (or e-commerce) is exploding as more consumers choose to surf the web searching for the best deals. In 2010, E-commerce stores saw a whopping $1 billion in sales during “Cyber Monday.” Cyber Monday is quickly becoming the e-commerce retailer’s solution to “Black Friday” – the official start of the holiday shopping season the day after Thanksgiving.How to Get StartedFirst of all, start by studying the catalogs that come to your home and keep them for a handy reference. Note the descriptions that really grab your attention and compel you to buy the product as well as the descriptions that don’t. Go online to your favorite online retailers and study their descriptions as well. Note the differences in “voice” between the various online retailers. Some will adopt a whimsical tone and others a more serious tone.When it comes time to try your hand at writing your own descriptions, be sure the copy is original. Descriptions copied from manufacturer’s sites or other websites are penalized by Google. Study websites and catalogs for ideas, but don’t plagiarize.Your goal as the description writer is to help consumers see, hear, taste, smell and feel the product. After all, consumers can’t! They depend on your descriptions to accurately convey the information and create an emotional “buy-in” to the product.Where to Find Your First Product Description GigSo where do you start? There are various places and this list is just a few to get you started.Do a Google search for the type of catalogs you would enjoy writing for. Do your interests lie in sports, crafts, home improvement, or the gift industry?
Local businesses – try approaching some of your local businesses that sell retail products. Do a test sample for them to show off your writing skills.
Email or call Creative Directors for catalogs or e-commerce sites you are interested in writing for.
Explore online job sites such as Elance or Freelance Guru. Elance has seen its share of bad raps, but they are a good way to test the waters and find repeat clients who refer. Just be wary of the businesses that only pay $1 a description. They are interested in quantity not quality. You’ll receive no respect from these clients.I will leave you with this one last thought. Online retail sales in the U.S. are expected to grow by 10% a year to $279 billion by 2015, according to Forrester Research. Will your copywriting career be ready to ride the wave? Make the commitment to your new copywriting career and get started.