When I was handed the task of writing a few product application pages for a client of ours, I thought this must be fairly easy.
If I’m used to writing much longer pieces of content, then surely a short paragraph for a website product page would be simple, right?
Usually I write posts that aim to help content marketers create and distribute content in the form of case studies and blog posts, either focusing on the content creation process itself or maximising online presence.
Case studies, articles and blog topics are usually created for a range of purposes; they may sit on a ‘resource’ area of your clients website, be re-purposed for social media campaigns, or be sent to a range of construction magazines for media coverage.
I’ve written lots about this, because, well, it’s what I’m used to.
Product pages may look like they take no time whatsoever, but it certainly took some adjustment for me to develop a different writing style and structure, one which needed to be much more concise and formal, and one where every single word must sit there for a reason.
So I thought, while I’m learning from the experienced content team at Pauley Creative myself, it’d be a great opportunity to walk you through the process too.
So let’s start with the easy bit, the part where if you’re used to content writing generally, you’d have heard a million times anyway.
Discover your audience
First and foremost, no matter how short and succinct product application pages are, you still need to have a well-rounded knowledge of who it is you’re talking to and what exactly they’re after.
Are you writing about industrial cladding for a facilities manager?
Are you discussing a new glazing solution for a contractor?
Are you trying to sell a unique lighting feature to an architect?
After you’ve defined who you’re talking to, what would then make this person’s life easier? Why is the product you’re selling relevant to them?
At this point I usually scribble together a mind map for my target persona, covering the key points as well as any additional information that springs to mind.
Remember that you should always have more information about your target persona than you necessarily need to create the content.
After you’ve gained a well-rounded knowledge of who it is you’re writing for, you then need to set out a structure. For some pieces of content I tend to go with the flow and see where the piece takes me, but you will, I guarantee, go round in circles if you do this with product pages.
Plus, product pages do not bode well to having the same conversational tone as a blog post; they need to have shorter, grammatically correct sentences and generally demonstrate a more formal tone.
Follow a solid structure
So this is the structure I’ve begun to follow each time; before expanding this into sentences I write one-word crucial answers for each point or short phrases; this prevents any waffling when it comes to writing the real thing.
What is it? – keep this as short as possible; simply state what the product is and what it’s called.
What does it do? – what purpose does it serve; does it have multiple uses?
What are the advantages? – why do they need it, what are the benefits and what are you as a company offering that others aren’t? This is a chance to really show off the products’ main features as a key selling point, so keep it punchy.
Any additional information? – do you as a company offer further benefits that go beyond selling the product? How do you promise to fulfill their user journey if they agree to purchase from you? Do you offer an extended guarantee, an in-house installation process, a thorough after care service? This is where that additional reassurance is often needed.
Where should I go next? – what do you want them to do after reading about your product? Where do you want them to go? This is something that many Building Product Manufacturer’s fail to consider, assuming that once the visitor has read the page they’ll continue to look at the site and make an enquiry. This is not always the case. Make it as simple as possible by guiding them towards the next action, whether this is to make a call to your team, arrange a site survey or read a recent case study where the product or application has been used.
Customize for search
Once my notes have been made and first draft written, I then go back through the text and customize it for search; doing it this way round ensures that you’re initially focusing on your target audience, writing it in a way that’s most appealing for them to read.
But without keywords and branded products used throughout, you’d have spent hours on refining copy that simply won’t get seen in search by those that matter.
It’s simply about maintaining healthy elements of both; customizing the copy for search without stripping the value of the piece for the reader.
Also, if you’re writing a few product pages with similar information required on each, ensure that you change the wording slightly; this will ensure that the pages don’t end up competing with one another for search. Having identical copy across your website generally doesn’t serve well for search ranking performance.
For more information on optimizing your product page for search, read our post on ‘6 tips for optimizing your construction product pages’.
Proof, amend, refine
Lastly but most importantly, I get another team member to scroll through and check whether I’ve missed any key points. Product pages involve a tough balance between ensuring the sentences are as concise as possible whilst also covering everything it needs to.
And above all, be patient; copy may need the odd word and sentence replacing, tweaking and refining a few times until both you and your content team are happy with it.
I hope this simple guide has been of help to get you started with writing product pages; please give it a share, or for more information on content writing, download our content marketing E-book.