How to Write a Good Craigslist Ad

This might be boasting, but sometimes something is true and also boasting. The fact that something is boasting does not always negate the necessity of it being said.

That said, here’s the boast: I am really good at writing Craigslist ads. If I were dressed all in black and kind of sneaky while I did it, I could even be considered a Craigslist ad-writing ninja.

For example, Wes tried to sell his old office chair for six months, posting and re-posting ad nauseum. I took over the task and got the chair sold in 24 hours.

Maybe this just indicates that Wes is terrible at Craigslist ads, but I don’t think so. I think I have skills. Skills I will now share with you, because I was an excellent kindergarten student and got a gold star in sharing.

  1. Write a keyword rich title. Think of what you’re selling, and imagine what words you would use to search for that exact thing. It’s okay if your title is kind of boring, it’s more important for it to attract the right shoppers than for it to be pithy. For example, “Black leather office chair” is a lot more helpful than “Super comfy office chair.”
  2. Be descriptive and a little funny with the listing. Once you have your title, you can have a little more fun. The best Craigslist ads have a little personality. Keep the punctuation correct (people notice, believe me) and be as descriptive as you can. Take measurements, list little details about what you’re selling, and remember always that you are selling something. Make it sound good! If you don’t care about it, no one else will either.
  3. Take good pictures. A dark grainy shot of your dining room table covered in old electronics equipment isn’t going to attract anyone’s eye. Make sure the lighting is good, the item for sale is alone in the shot, and include additional detailed pictures as needed. It takes a little extra effort, but buyers will appreciate it and be more likely to feel comfortable coming to pick it up if they’re reasonably certain of what they’ll see when they get to your house.
  4. Price it well. Before you decide on a price for your item, shop around Craigslist and get an idea of what similar stuff is selling for. You’ll get absolutely no interest in your item if you’re asking for way more money than anyone else. This will also save you from losing out on potential money by inadvertently offering someone the deal of a lifetime.
  5. Choose your words carefully. Think about how your adjectives might be perceived, and how they’re generally used on Craigslist. Words like, “Comfy” have a connotation of something that’s not much to look at but comfortable to sit on. Does your couch have a tiny rip or is it torn? Does your DVD player work or does it run perfectly? Be judicious, but don’t lie. Never lie. That’s mean.
There you have it. My five tips for writing Craigslist ads like a pro. Feel free to chime in with your tips in the comments section!

2 thoughts on “How to Write a Good Craigslist Ad

  1. Also important is to include whether it comes from a smoke free or pet free home (or which types of pets are in the home).

    Not smoke free is a deal breaker for me. Pets I don’t care about but allergic people might, depending on the item.

  2. -Blanche, That’s an excellent point! Smoke free is imperative, as is pet free for me. So many people don’t bathe their animals enough, and I really do detest the smell of unwashed dog.

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