Share your thoughts: copywriting - words you would retire from product descriptions?

Copywriting for product descriptions

Copywriting product descriptions can be a tricky yet essential part of running your own business. Could it be time to refresh some overused, tired, filler words, and brainstorm words/phrases that are more imaginative and fresh?

Once upon a time I worked in the office of a major online fashion retailer in London. I worked next to the copywriting team, and at the time didn't realise quite how valuable an experience that would prove to be for writing my own product copy in future. 

On the wall beside the team was a whiteboard with seemingly random words scrawled upon it - but upon closer inspection, these were lists of words they had retired and must not use. Tired words, overused words, boring words, gimmicky words, cringeworthy words. Phrases like 'on trend' and 'this season's must have'.

Having these restrictions in mind later aided my self-critical approach to writing copy for Etsy's social media posts. 

This is a post to get you thinking about the words you may choose, or have already used that should probably be retired. From the point of view of shoppers, have they seen it all already e.g. when browsing Etsy? Which words could be replaced to make your product descriptions imaginative and fresh? Make a list (& share in the comments!)

My copy bugbears (only my opinion of course) that immediately spring to mind are:

  • Quirky: overused for crafts/design, and whimsical - in an old fashioned sense. 'Unusual' is much better.
  • Funky: I see this word as how an older person describes something 'hip' and 'cool'. Having said that, young people roll their eyes at me when I say 'cool' because I'm in my late 30s, thus apparently 'old'.
  • Perfect for/perfect gift for: we're all guilty of it, but it's so overused it hurts! The entire sentence could be turned around to accommodate a similar intent e.g. 'X-person will find it useful because...', 'kids love the way it...', 'X-product complements modern furnishings', 'X-person finds it helps them..', 'it will fit in effortlessly with a contemporary theme', etc.

Think about incorporating the benefits and features of the product while telling a story.

Now brainstorm alternative words to replace your redundant ones. The thesaurus is your friend! I'd be interested to see your 'retired words' list - share your thoughts in the comments below!

Want more tips for making the most out of your products? Click here for my post about getting your products featured in gift guides!