I’m going a little off topic from catalog copywriting with this post, but it’s a relevant one nonetheless.
Do you ever waste time? You know, procrastinate? At work, at home, wherever.
Bit of a rhetorical question…
But seriously, time-wasting and procrastination, when you think about it, must eat up thousands of valuable hours of useful productivity.
After a quick Google search, I learned that we waste approximately 122 minutes of a work day procrastinating. (Where do those two hours go?)
When I worked in the corporate world, I experienced the various and sundry ways that one could wile away the hours, even before the onslaught of the internet and social media.
And when I left to become a freelance copywriter, I envisioned busy days where tasks and projects were knocked off my to do list with assembly line-like efficiency.
Little did I know.
Mr. Procrastinate lurks everywhere, and you can’t escape him. His persistence is second to none and his desire will not be denied!
I fight with him every day. Arriving at my desk with the best of intentions, only to fall victim to him sooner rather than later.
But I’ve recently discovered a simple method that, for me, has actually helped.
And I rely on a humble device that requires no charging, no electricity, no batteries.
Yup, that little bugger has pushed my productivity level through the roof!
And with the help of my little kitchen timer, I’ve begun following a procrastination-reducing procedure described in a book by Ryan Munsey.
The way it works is this: Set your timer for 25 minutes and start working. When the 25 minutes is up, and the alarm goes off, stop working. Then, set the timer again for 5 minutes and take a break from whatever you were working on. (Oops, have to stop writing – the timer went off! Be back in five…)
Ideally, you should physically remove yourself from your desk, your computer, your cell phone, etc. Get up and walk around or do some stretching – I just washed the dishes that were in the kitchen sink!
When the 5 minutes is up, go back to your desk, re-set the timer for 25 minutes, and get back to work.
Do four sets of 25 minutes working/5-minute break, and then take a 30-minute break. After the 30-minute break, repeat the four sets again.
Pretty simple, right?
I’ve found walking away from the desk to be tough, that it makes me anxious (but in a good way), to get back to work. I mean, I actually look forward to getting back at it.
And the ticking of the timer keeps my motivation up. I know, some people may find it irritating, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s my gentle, little reminder that I have another mini-deadline approaching shortly.
So, if Mr. Procrastinate has you by the scruff of the neck, why not give this easy-to-follow method a try?
And be sure to let me know how it works for you…
Staying competitive in the search engine rankings race is never-ending for an online catalog.
Search engine optimization (SEO) for product pages is a continuous activity, and a successful strategy can reap many rewards.
For the catalog copywriter producing content for product pages, you walk the tightrope of writing sales worthy, benefit-rich copy that is also attentive to SEO needs.
Search engine optimization covers a lot of ground, for sure. But the tips I’m about to mention below are easy to put into use and can be a boost to an online catalog’s SEO efforts.
1. A simple way to determine the number of words to use in a product description.
The first recommendation I’ll make here is, don’t exclude a product description. Sounds crazy, I know, but you will see on some product pages just the image of the product with no corresponding text. This is bad for SEO because the search engines can’t see images. Blank pages do not impress Google.
Here’s a method to determine how many words you should use: Count all the default words that appear on your blank product page. Default words are words found on the navigation bar, sidebar, footers, etc. Whatever this number is, the product description word count should at least exceed this.
Since the search engines like content, the longer the product description, the better, and a skillful catalog copywriter will increase the word count with clear, benefit-ripe copy that addresses all the questions and concerns of the customer.
If you’re still scratching your head as to how long your descriptions should be, you may want to do some testing on conversions to see which lengths perform better.
2. Don’t copy content from other web sites.
This practice is seen fairly often online and it does search rankings no favors. Search engines penalize this behavior. (Don’t have the time to create fresh content? Maybe you should consider hiring a freelance catalog copywriter…)
In a similar vein, don’t use a manufacturer’s copy, either. They’ll distribute content to various online catalogs and all that duplicate content gets punished by Google. Also, manufacturer’s copy is frequently less than adequate from a selling viewpoint.
3. Take full advantage of product reviews.
Fresh content. We hear these words constantly in SEO discussions. Product reviews can provide that cherished, new content…for free. And, depending on which source you check, shoppers are purportedly influenced by online reviews from 80 percent on upwards. They seek out reviews prior to making purchases. If a site doesn’t allow for reviews, it’s missing a huge chunk of the action.
The continuous generation of content from product reviews keeps the search engines coming back more frequently, a boost to any online catalog’s SEO efforts.
And from a copywriting perspective, product reviews offer tons of insight directly from customers, which can be spun right into a product’s copy.
Every catalog copywriter who writes product descriptions for online catalogs can contribute to a catalog’s SEO strategy by implementing these three simple tips.
Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter