Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Check Your eBay Description Copy and Outshine the Competition - Fast & Easy Writing Quality Checklist

Whether you like it or not, selling on eBay requires writing. Some of us are better at this than others. One thing is clear, though. Those who use persuasive, clear communication get more $$$ in their PayPal account. That's the bottom line.

The following is a checklist I use to polish finished descriptions, flyers, direct email, direct mail, and all other kinds of customer-directed marketing copy. Whether your description is one paragraph or 20, this list will help you sell more, faster, and at a higher profit margin.

Post-Writing Quality Control Checklist

* Set the thing aside and let it sit for least an hour
* Read it again and flag stumbling spots
* Break up paragraphs to increase pace (variety is the spice of life). Go with short graphs first, then vary the amount of lines from 3-5. Sprinkle in some one line paragraphs, if possible.
* Break long sentences into two simple, shorter ones
* Eliminate extra words
* Eliminate “thats"
* Eliminate words with “tion” “sion” “ance” “ate” “able” “ment”
* Eliminate excessive adjectives
* Eliminate passive voice (this includes “is” “are” “can” etc.)
* Eliminate cliches
* Make cannot and is not into contractions for conversational tone
* Pay particular attention to commas, making sure they’re right (right for the particular customer, too)
* Make sure bullet lists start with either a “How to” phrase or a number or a powerful verb or…
* Write rhetorical questions into your copy that can be answered in the affirmative (YES!)
* Make sure you have some numbers for impact (specific numbers are better than generalized ones). Keep the % and the numbers themselves. Don’t spell out.
* Proof read on paper and mark it up
* Read it aloud

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