Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Newest Job

Back in August, I was contacted by the owners of Scrapbook.com to see if I'd be interested in being part of a team working on a big project.  Basically, they wanted to rewrite every product description in their store... tens of thousands of items.  I'd be working from home on my own schedule.  I said yes, went through training, and jumped in.


I learned that most manufacturers provide their retailers (including Scrapbook.com) with a description of their product(s) that might contain measurements and other specs, special features, and/or tips to get the most out of the product.  The quality of these descriptions varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Some are excellent... and some are not.  In the past, Scrapbook.com has always used the manufacturers' descriptions on their product pages. Consequently, the customer did not always find a well-written, detailed or accurate description on each product page.  In an effort to improve the quality and to make the products more searchable, each description would need to be rewritten.

Each of us working on the project was assigned a chunk of about 200 products. We got to work writing descriptions, trying to make each clearly answer the questions a customer might have. When those were done, we edited each other's writing and then moved on to another batch of products.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  The work can be difficult (when writing about tools or products I've never used) and tedious (when writing about each of the hundreds of slightly different items in one product line), but it also can be a lot of fun.  I have learned so much already.      

I've ordered products from Scrapbook.com dozens of times and never gave the product descriptions a second thought.  Never again!

12 comments:

  1. Wow, what a huge task to take on! But, I'm glad they are doing this! I have ordered things before that turned out to be much smaller or larger than I thought they'd be, or maybe not the color I thought ... good descriptions would help all that! :) Congrats on your new job, too! :)

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    1. Whenever that happens, be sure to write about it in the comments on the product page. That helps everyone (including us) to avoid surprises.

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  2. Oh wow! What an assignment! As Tanya said, a huge task to take on! I think I'd have fun w/ it for a little while but then would find it hard to come up w/ something new to say.
    Do you watch Seinfeld? Reading your post reminded me of when Elaine was working for the J Peterman catalog as a product description writer and "descriptive talk" started spilling over into her everyday interactions! LOL! Does that ever happen to you?

    Well, now when I read the descriptions I will think of you! :0)

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    1. I'm a huge Seinfeld fan! I know exactly what you're talking about. We're not writing flowery descriptions like the J. Peterman catalog, so I haven't had any spillover into real life yet. The descriptions are mostly to provide the kind of information you can't get otherwise when you're buying online. In a brick-and-mortar store, you can see the size, feel the quality, read the back of the package, etc. The hope in writing these descriptions is that all that info is there for the online customer. Of course, we can only work with what we're given. If the manufacturer doesn't provide any specs, we can't just make them up.

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  3. So glad you finally did a write up about it!! All I'm left wondering is if you have gotten anything for yourself yet, now that you are writing about all these products?! ;)

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    1. Nope, not yet! The irony is that the job leaves me so little time to scrapbook. :)

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  4. Such a cool assignment. They've got the right gal for this project!

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  5. I think that's an awesome job! I bet you get to see all of the coolest stuff in the industry. My wish list would be a mile and a half long. LOL

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  6. Wow!!! What an awesome job!! I bet it was a lot of work!! How exciting!!!!

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  7. Congratulations, Cindy, but not a surprise at all to me. You are a talented and amazing person. And yes, I will think of you now when I read the descriptions at sb.com! YAY!

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  8. Congrats on the job. I look forward to new well written descriptions of products. I have emailed sb.com many times with questions about products that were not in the description. Usually it's dimensions not listed and that drives me nuts... good luck Cindy.

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    1. Some manufacturers don't provide that information, which is maddening.

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