August 03, 2008

Consumer Reviews And Writing Copy Online

Consumer Electronics is one of the places where reviews are often utilized.

At Crutchfield, you might be concerned about shelling out almost $500 for a Blu-ray DVD player. But fellow consumers walk you through the process by stating their opinions, in this case, opinions of a Panasonic Blu-ray DVD player.

Pundits like to debate the merits of user-generated reviews. That's not what we'll discuss here.

There are folks who are paid to write copy. Sure, in some cases, the vendor dictates what must be written. In other cases, however, the copywriter plays a major role in the selling of merchandise. It's fascinating how the art of writing subject lines and paid search keywords is thoroughly explored in our industry. The art of writing honest online copy, however, is seldom broached.

Why don't we sell online? Why do we write such generic text, boring text that has been written so many times that the customer no longer choose to believe it, preferring to hear the words of a theoretically objective purchaser the customer never met?

And then we go a step further. We allow our customers to rate the reviews written by other customers.

Why don't we allow our customers to rate the copy written by our coypwriters? Wouldn't that be a spectacular way to learn the style of copy that customers really prefer? Why don't we let our customers rate the subject lines written in e-mail marketing? I bet we'd learn more from that than we learn from testing different subject lines --- we'd learn that the subject line that tested as performing 9% better, placing it in the "best practices" class, actually rated 2 out of 5 stars by our customers. Wouldn't that be a humbling experience?

As the age of unfettered online sales growth comes to a close, as we're forced to actually prove our worth by actually using the online channel to actually sell merchandise in a stagnant economy, we'll need to start over from scratch when it comes to writing copy online. We're going to need to learn how to sell all over again. There's no reason a new class of rainmaking online copywriters can't emerge from this movement.


  1. Go Kevin,
    I've been reading your good oil for a few weeks now and my brain has grown as a result. Thanks! It's great reading your stuff.
    On the topic of believability, having come from an Arts background, one of the things i find hard to take online sometimes, is trying to do the marketing thing rather than just write logically! Marketing is interesting, don't get me wrong but in particular, having to build web pages, for example based on keyword demand rather than organically as part of a topic one is interested in.Know what I'm getting at? Believability I think simply grows out of writing which is not intended as a pitch always trying to capture,convert or please. Wouldn't you agree? For example, a tech addict may speak genuinely of the pros and cons of a panasonic blu use your example.
    If you find topics or things you genuinely find interesting that would seem to provide a good basis for marketing whatever it is. Especially, considering the energy required-and love energy has more stamina!
    thanks again for all the good stuff
    Aka H

  2. It would be very interesting to see what would happen if each copy department had an internal ombudsman, one who debunked the marketingspeak of the very brand that hired the ombudsman.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

An Example of Hopping on to Chat With Your Community

Do you have a community? Do you have one off-platform? Here's an example of a Sennheiser product manager hopping on Reddit to chat with ...