Example of a Short Description: Before and After

To follow up my previous post about writing short descriptions, I have offered an example – a “Before” and “After,” if you will.

I chose this one in particular because it appears on the homepage of  an attractively designed website. The site however fails to present its content in the most readable and actionable way possible.

For now, I will leave the rest of the pages alone and address only the short desciption that makes these COMMON MISTAKES:

  • The overuse of buzz words or industry jargon
  • Sentences that are cumbersome and long-winded
  • Ego-centric or company-centric language
  • Not enough emphasis on straightforward benefits

To the writer’s credit, there are benefits mentioned, e.g. “TCO, paradigm-shifting price performance (which, I believe, are pretty much redundant) and on-board networking capabilities.” However, the reader will not immediately notice them because they are buried inside long-winded, jargon-filled, ego-centric sentences.

For a short description to capture a reader’s imagination, it must speak simply and directly to his pain and how it can be eased. This description attempts to do this, but fails in its lack of simplicity.

“Paving the way for the mobile wireless backhaul revolution, XXX Wireless Communications delivers carrier-grade milimetric-wave Gigabit Ethernet radio solutions with paradigm-shifting price performance. Offering the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), and incorporating on-board networking capabilities, XXXX™ solutions from XXX are ideally suited for the both mobile backhaul and carrier Ethernet business services.”

In the following rewrite, I present simplified talking points that should make an interested reader want to read more.

XXX Wireless Communications is easing the backhaul pains of mobile operators and Ethernet service providers with low-cost wireless solutions that dramatically raise backhaul capacity.

XXXX from [Company X] delivers carrier-grade milimetric-wave Ethernet radio solutions scalable to Gigabit capacities with a TCO up to 90% lower than existing solutions.

As two short paragraphs, this re-write is much easier to read. The one long and cumbersome paragraph in the original version might keep surfers from even attempting to read it.

Notice: In the first paragraph, the most sensitive issues in this realm are presented as:

  • Easing backhaul pains
  • Low-cost
  • Dramatically raising backhaul capacity

Even someone who doesn’t know what is meant by “backhaul” can understand these points as worthwhile benefits.

In the 2nd paragraph, I left in the long technical industry name of the solution simply because it is important to identify up-front the specific type of technology being offered.

Finally, I mentioned 90% because it effectively demonstrates what the company means by “low-cost.”

As an added bonus, my rewrite has 7 fewer words than the original. For an effective short description, the “description” must be sufficient and the shorter the better.


About Jacob Nehman

Jacob Nehman is an experienced messaging consultant and marketing copywriter in the startup industry. He has developed content for numerous B2B and B2C brands selling a wide variety of products and solutions for mobile and Web. He has also consulted startups on user experience and product development. Jacob is originally from Austin, Texas and currently resides in Tel Aviv.
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