9 Tips to Better Catalog Copy
4. To ramble is to complicate. Avoid long run-on sentences — they tend to be complex with too many ideas jammed into a single sentence. Tighten your copy, or break it into two shorter sentences for clarity purposes.
5. Make every word count. Is your copy tight? Product copy space is typically limited; too many neutral words or phrases — e.g., with this, there is, these are just a few, you’ll be sure — add no value to content and waste space.
6. Copy should reVERBerate. Verbs denote action, allowing customers to visualize, taste, feel, hear or smell the products. In the examples below, verbs begin the copy block. You instantly bring the product to life, and customers get a sense for it without actually having it in their possessions to examine.
- Illuminate outdoor living areas.
- Crunch into golden toffee smothered in chocolate.
- Relax with the melodious sounds of …
7. Avoid “owner’s manual" style copy. Don’t let copy sound like a fact sheet — dry and uninspiring. Do more than list a product’s functions, sizes, colors or dimensions. Remember, the copy needs to sell and provide a benefit to the customer.
8. Active vs. passive. Active sentences carry more emotion and zest than passive sentences.
- Active voice: Illuminate outdoor areas with a sconce.
- Passive voice: Outdoor areas can be illuminated with a sconce.
Did you also notice that in the example for passive voice the copy isn't as tight as it could be. Two “neutral” words, can be, bring no value to the content. To check copy in a Word document for passive voice sentences, go to Tools/options/spelling and grammar and check all that applies. As you do a spelling and grammar check, take the opportunity to correct passive sentences.
9. Buddy system. Finally, read your copy aloud or let a second pair of eyes look it over. Do you stumble over certain words? Is there confusing text that needs to be clarified?