What is Product Communication?
OSP helps companies craft product communications—micro-messages about your product, technology, and solutions.
Effective product copy addresses your clients’ needs
You may sit down to write a landing page and ask yourself: “How can I possibly encapsulate everything I want to say on a single page?” Before you can get into writing interesting taglines or compelling messages, you should begin by putting yourself into the shoes of your target audience (in most cases, one or more of your user personas). Effective product communication will directly or indirectly address them and their needs.
When you craft a paragraph describing your new product, alert a client to a new feature, or write a call-to-action, your copy should relate to your audience and address either:
- The challenge a product aims to solve,
- The solution put forward, or
- The benefits it confers to its users.
Challenges are the specific problems, unmet needs, or struggles your audience is facing. Statements that include challenges should be specific, fact-based, and empathetic. Challenges that companies try to solve through technology often include bottlenecks, inefficiencies, expensive processes, or work that is time-consuming or boring.
Tip: Think of this as your product’s “WHY,” (part of) why your product exists is to solve this issue.
Solutions address exactly how your product or offering will solve a specific challenge. They may be as simple as detailing a feature, or might describe an entirely new product line. Solutions frequently include an explanation of services, functionalities, features, or processes, and include active verbs like “provides,” “enables,” “solves,” or many others.
Tip: This is HOW features in your product deliver the desired solution.
Finally, enumerating the benefits of your product will demonstrate the value of its solution(s) in measurable or well-defined terms. Benefit statements tell your audience that good will come from the adoption of your product or services. They often include numeric outcomes or descriptors like “easier,” “faster,” “better” that suggest a relative improvement in conditions.
Tip: WHY + HOW == Benefit. A challenge solved by your solution delivers business value.
How to tackle copy for landing pages, infographics, and more.
Your writing is frequently the first contact a potential client has with your product.
- Product and landing pages often present the greatest challenge to our clients, even though (or because!) they contain the least text.
- It can be difficult to boil down a product’s features to a few sentences, especially for team members who understand it inside and out.
- Brief, explanatory product communications — typically backed up with blocks of related information — are featured in assets like landing pages, infographics, and fliers.
At OSP, we’ve developed a process for developing brief, compelling product communications. Here, we’ll get down to the brass tacks of how we write them.
Need help crafting your product communications? Get in touch!
Anatomy of a Landing Page
While any product communication will encompass one or more solutions, benefits, or challenges, they come in different forms. The main components we include when writing a landing page or product communication include:
Tag Line: A short, punchy type of headline which contains the highest concentration of the brand’s personality and character.
- Word Count: ~3-8 words
- E.g., “Helpful products. For everyone.” on Google’s main Product page
Positioning Statement: We use a formula to create the essence of product (or brand) positioning statements, then polish the writing to be colorful and compelling.
The formula is: [your brand], in [product category] helps [your audience] achieve [benefit/value you deliver] who [need/challenge] by [how you deliver value].
- Word Count: ~15-35 words
- E.g., “Engage your customers and boost your business with Mailchimp’s advanced, yet easy-to-use marketing platform” on Mailchimp’s main landing page.
Value Cases: Typically the longest blocks of text on a page, value cases combine three elements—challenges, solutions, and benefits—together to make a fully fleshed-out argument for why a product meets client needs.
- Word Count: 2-3 sentences or a short paragraph
- E.g., “Stop solving the same problems over and over. Set up common projects as templates so you can develop and adapt consistent processes and best practices” on the Asana for Team Operations page
Feature Statements: This goes a level deeper and explains an “atomic unit” of functionality or attribute of a product or service—in other words, what the product actually does.
- Word Count: ~15-35 words
- E.g., “Powered by Elasticsearch, Elastic Enterprise Search is incredibly fast, with proven, optimized relevance models designed for real-life, natural search” on Elastic’s Enterprise Search product page.
Call-to-Action: These statements guide your audience through your website and help them take action after you’ve given them clear information.
- Word Count: 3-8 words
- E.g., “Sign up for our newsletter.”
Call-to-value: Summarizes the benefits into a single statement and gives context to a CTA. CTVs also aim for conversion, but rather than taking a specific action, these statements invite your readers to take the next conceptual step in the journey to transformation that you are offering them.
- Word count: A clean, happy sentence :-)
- E.g., “Start getting more out of your precious time today.”
- E.g., “The road to better communication starts here.”
None of the word counts are set in stone, and of course, there may be times when you need to use other kinds of text (like captions, article headlines, or longer legalese). But generally, product communications pages are highly visual: they leverage brief statements of varying length, feature many images, and tease out the most important details that audiences need to know about any given product.
How we write product comms copy
Once you know what you’re going to say and which forms your statements will take, you have to hold your audience’s interest. How you say it depends on your organization’s specific voice, tone, and personality, but here are some broadly applicable guidelines we follow when writing product communications.
Make each word count
Your audience doesn’t have limitless attention, so you don’t have limitless space. Make your words count. Go light on adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions, and heavy on verbs and nouns.
- Before: OSP is a thriving company that helps make our technical customers happy by communicating their difficult and complex solutions that, in turn, make their clients happy.
- After: OSP helps companies communicate their complex customer solutions.
Use active verbs
Replace passive verbs with active verbs to clarify actions and meanings. Passive constructions usually fail to mention who is acting, so you are left asking, “The action was done by whom?” Look out for “are,” “was,” and “be,” followed by a verb ending in “-ed.”
- Before: The problem was solved...
- After: We solved the problem...
Use the most specific version of a word or phrase and highlight words unique to the product, company, or persona … while still making each word count ;-) The “before” is a vague claim that anyone can make. The “After” tells you specific processes and benefits that OSP’s methodologies deliver.
- Before: We make content editing more efficient.
- After: Our content approval workflows and previews cut down your team meeting time.
Use interesting, bright verbs and nouns
Finally, have fun with it! Write headlines that grab attention. Try alliterations, varying rhythm, metaphors, etc., and look for ideas and inspiration from around the web. Feel free to borrow sentence structures from well-known brands.
- Before: We write interesting case studies.
- (An alliterative) After: We craft compelling case studies
Learn more about OSP’s technical writing services
Whether you know what you want to say (but need help saying it) or you’re still trying to define your value proposition, OSP can help you craft compelling product communications.
Get in touch for help with product communications or book a workshop!
Image credits: person holding smoke flare photo by Hugo Jehanne, strawberry person photo by engin akyurt.
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