Author, CEO & Founder

Learn More >>

How to Sell Anything In One Paragraph Or Less

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

What if I told you I could sell anything in one paragraph or less?

(Stop glancing skeptically at the screen. I can see up your nose.)

You know what kind of paragraph I'm talking about–the sorely neglected, overlooked and undervalued product description. *cue tambourine and this song*

Product descriptions have the power to make or break you. (Right up until you're broke.)

By make or break you, I mean they can influence sales so much that you'll either be in a position to someday race a 5-speed pearl-colored Mercedes along the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast with your aviator sunglasses and a carefree smirk…or not.)

Earlier this week, I talked about the importance of the how versus the what–in other words, the way you sell something is far more important than what you're actually selling. Exceptions include revolutionary new breakthroughs and never-before-seen technologies, but for the most part, what you're selling has probably been sold before. That means that the biggest competitive advantage you have isn't what you're selling; it's how you're selling it.

A big part of how you're selling it includes what you say about it–in other words, the product description.

Most product descriptions, however, make the mistake of doing just that: Describing the actual product. It's red. It's machine-washable. And it comes in sizes small, medium and large. Order now and forever hold your peace.

But guess what?

Just describing the product? Does nothing to sell the product.

I don't give a shit if it's machine-washable; if it's something I desperately want, I'll send it to the god damn Himalaya Mountains to be hand-washed by a tribe of brown-robed monks.

But first I have to desperately want it.

And one of the best ways to inspire that feeling in your customers?

Isn't to describe the product; it's to describe who they'll be with the product.

Help them envision. Help them picture. Help them get all tingly inside just thinking about the possibilities–including that Mercedes.-

By far, the best company out there doing this is J. Peterman.

I want to have so much sex with their product descriptions. Or maybe just with their copywriter.  Remains to be seen. (If J. Peterman's copywriter is, in fact, reading this, you should know I'm an excellent catch. Unless it's that time of the month, in which case, you should drop me off at a boxing ring somewhere and step away slowly.)

We talk a lot about J. Peterman around here–perhaps one of the most remarkable things about their company is that they're making incredible sales not just with their product descriptions–but without actual product images. They don't even show you what the product looks like–just via illustration only. And yet, thousands of people around the world are rushing to buy their products sight unseen.

And that's the power of a product description done right.-

Here are some of my favorites from them. Take notice of how they help you envision who you'll be with the product:-

I'm betting you suddenly want a Panama Hat, an opera jacket, and a French Film Star travel dress.

Because those are product descriptions designed to sell; not merely describe.

Note the difference.

Note how it's done.

And then note the dramatic increase in your sales, once you do it.

…before your competitor finds this article and does the same.

After all, the Amalfi coast is waiting.

Feb 15


25 Words That Will Make You Seem Bland, Useless, Stale, Dime-a-Dozen, Washed-Up and Otherwise Uninteresting, Unimportant and Not Worth Paying Attention To

Feb 15, 2013

If you want to stand out, feel fresh, appear interesting and get noticed… …then you’ve got to use language that stands out, feels fresh, is interesting and gets noticed. This is common sense, but of course, it’s easier said than done. It’s tempting to use the first words that come to your mind, but usually? Those […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet


Mar 4


How to Stop Writing With a Stick Up Your Ass

Mar 4, 2016

One of the things I get asked about forty hundred times a day (besides whether or not I know there’s a hair sprouting from my chin) is this: Where’s the line between personality and unprofessional? Because apparently I’m known for walking the line between mental inspiration and mental institution—as every writer worth their weight should. […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet


May 22


Writing Problems Are Idea Problems In Disguise

May 22, 2017

When your idea isn’t clear, you know what you do? Cover it up with blabber. Adjectives. Flowery words that try to compensate for the fact that you don’t actually know what you’re talking about (yetttt). But good ideas stand on their own. If you’re having trouble writing about it, your writing may not be the […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet


Jul 15


No, I Don’t Want to Be in Your Tribe.

Jul 15, 2014

“No, I don’t want to be in your tribe. I’m not your minion, and I’m not a cow.” -@ateegarden on Twitter. The internet popularized the concept of “finding your tribe,” and while Seth Godin’s book by the same name is right on the money, the term itself has become clichĂ©, stale, trite, boiler plate, and fucking offensive. …As […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet


May 31


Why Your Writing Sucks.

May 31, 2013

There’s a lot of horse shit going around the internet these days about “writing from the heart” and eliciting emotion in your readers/audience/customers/landlords. Okay, so not landlords. And you get it. You know it’s important. Because nobody wants to buy from a faceless mime. But what you don’t know is how to actually do it. […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet


Jun 7


A Dead Simple Way to Write a Creative Bio (Without Crying) (Or Wall Punching) (Awkward, You Guys)

Jun 7, 2016

Most people dread introducing themselves in general, but ask someone to introduce themselves in writing, and you’ve just added another unwelcome layer of pressure: Now you’ve got to WRITE WELL ON TOP OF IT. And, you know, say witty things. That you’re committing to paper. While being judged by everyone who reads it. Because isn’t […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet


Jul 20


The Real Trick to Brilliant Writing

Jul 20, 2015

You know what makes for brilliant writing? Not what you say, but the way you say it. The execution. The way you jockey your message onto a page. There are 354 different ways to tell any story. (Exact figure, give or take a few thousand or so.) You can start at the beginning, or you […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet


I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

Enter your email address and I’ll send you my advice column every week sharing everything I’ve learned—and so much more.

But no serial killers. I promise I won’t send those.

Privacy Policy Info Here