Don’t write product copy. Write a product review.

When you’re stuck for a fresh and engaging way to talk about a product, don’t look for inspiration among other marketers. Most of them are recycling the same tired ideas.

Instead, study product reviews.

Go to the trade press and the blogs and magazines and see how journalists and columnists talk about products like yours.

They do a better job of inspiring customers than we marketers and copywriters do. I steal tactics from them all the time.

That’s because their do-or-die job is to write stuff that is interesting, useful, compelling.

And what’s compelling is not the corporate line, or the ‘key features list’ from the product team.

Customers want to hear about the experience of using the thing. Of living with it. Of selling it to the boss. They want to hear how it fixes pain-in-the-ass problems. Or, sometimes, how it actually works.

Read David Pogue of the New York Times. Walt Mossberg. TechCrunch. Engadget. Or the top publications or thinkers in the industry.

Notice what they talk about: Here’s what you see when you open the box.  Here’s how it feels in your hands.  Here’s how you put it together.

Here are some neat things you can do with it.  Here’s what it does really well.  Here’s what happens when you try this. . . or do that.  Does it fit in your rack space?  Is it a pain to configure?  How big is the thing?

Here is David Pogue on a Verizon wifi product:

Incredibly, there is such a thing. It’s the Novatel MiFi 2200, available from Verizon starting in mid-May ($100 with two-year contract, after rebate). It’s a little wisp of a thing, like a triple-thick credit card. It has one power button, one status light and a swappable battery that looks like the one in a cellphone. When you turn on your MiFi and wait 30 seconds, it provides a personal, portable, powerful, password-protected wireless hot spot. . .

. . .you’re spared the plug-and-unplug ritual of cellular modems. You can leave the MiFi in your pocket, purse or laptop bag; whenever you fire up your laptop, netbook, Wi-Fi camera or game gadget, or wake up your iPhone or iPod Touch, you’re online.

Last week, I was stuck on a runway for two hours. As I merrily worked away online, complete with YouTube videos and file downloads . . .

By contrast, we marketers and copywriters talk in brochurespeak and bullet points. We sound like a corporation talking to a target vertical about the attribute matrix derived from market research.

The ZXM-232000 Series gizmos deliver a significant reduction in OpEx and CapEx costs, increased deployment density, extensive scalability, and easily reconfigurable “personality” changes, between secure mobile and remote access . . . 

Zzzz. The boss may like such stuff, but it won’t juice many customers.

Let’s talk about what it’s like to use the thing. Talk about clever things you can do with it.

More people will listen.