How do you make your message as clear as a cloudless sky?
The answer: tell people about your unique selling point (USP).
A USP is one of many copywriting tools used across all marketing channels, including PR. Your USP is about more than what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s about clearly defining who you are and what you do so that customers will remember you.
Caption: Three women in a yellow bathtub surrounded by walls filled with rubber ducks.
Here are a couple of ways to help you write your USP in a way that isn't ‘salesy’ and, therefore, can be used in press releases.
1. Step into your customers’ shoes
Your USP is not about you, your products, or your business. It’s about your customer. What are their needs, interests, wants, or frustrations? Start there.
Yes, the goal of your USP is to bring in more business. Yes, you want to sell more products and services. However, the bottom line is you need to step into your customers’ shoes and understand where they’re coming from. Your products and services exist to meet your customers’ needs.
Whether you sell ethical makeup or provide sustainability consulting, your customers – all buyers – have one thing on their mind:
“What’s in it for me?”
When deciding what to purchase, we all wonder what it’ll bring us – no matter how altruistic and compassionate we are. Questioning is a natural way for us to filter what we want to buy or bring into our lives.
To test this theory, next time you shop, be mindful of your thoughts as you browse. You’re likely to notice questions pop into your mind such as:
Will this detergent actually keep my towels soft?
Will this natural sun screen really protect my child’s skin from the sun?
Does my investment truly have a positive social impact?
Then look at your own business again and imagine what your customers' are asking themselves before they buy from you.
2. Write your USP from the customer’s point of view.
Caption: A variety of eyeglasses on a table.
Again, the USP is not about you or your business. It’s about the solution you bring to your customers. Write from that perspective. If your stuck, ask yourself:
Why should the customer care about your solution?
What makes this product/service different from the others?
What’s in it for my customers?
Let’s walk through an example so you can see how this looks in practice.
Here’s a USP without the customers’ perspective:
My PR business focuses on helping ethical businesses get into the media.
Notice how the focus is on the business (”My PR business”), rather than the customer. We need to know WHY getting into the media matters to the customer. Here’s the new and improved USP:
You can help build a better world by reaching thousands of people via the media.
Doesn’t that feel so much more compelling? The statement tells your audience exactly what they get from landing media: reaching thousands of people.
Spell out the benefit in a clear and simple way. As you’re editing your USP, draft a few variations so you can use them across your marketing and communications.
Note: always avoid dishonesty, exaggeration or making promises you/your product can't deliver. It's unethical and likely to backfire.
3. Try the KISS Framework
After you’ve come up with some ideas, it’s time to refine and improve your USP. Keep it short, specific, and easy-to-understand. Too jargony or general and you run the risk of blending in with your competitors.
Instead, Keep It Short and Simple (KISS).
The trick to simplicity? Cut out the jargon. Keep your language snappy, instead of convoluted or confusing. (The last thing you want to do is confuse your prospective customers!). Make it easy for them to understand what you do.
Try to squeeze everything into one single sentence. If your USP is a paragraph or more long, you’ll lose your customers’ attention. Less is more.
Caption: A person is sitting at a table with a yellow cup, a pot of coffee and a laptop.
Here are two USPs for inspiration:
What makes these USPs so powerful? They’re short and to the point. These brands could’ve listed a dozen services and products – or included a paragraph about where and why they started their company – but they kept it short. Because short is memorable.
Your USP doesn’t have to be 'salesy' or manipulative. Focus instead on serving your customers. Define the solution you provide in a clear, honest, and ethical manner.
Not sure how to define or communicate your USP? Let’s talk about it! Schedule your PR Power Hour with me today.