We each have our own special talents, skills and experiences that set us apart from everyone else. While people may be similar, no one will have exactly the same qualifications or story that another has. This is the whole point of developing your own USP – Unique Selling Proposition. (“But Lis, I don’t sell!”) Yes you do. Every time you bid on a potential project, every meeting you have while networking, every time you write a blog post, you’re selling. If you target your selling from the standpoint of your USP (and your VSP – Value Selling Proposition), you stand a much greater chance of standing out from the crowd and getting noticed. What I’m proposing is different than what you’ll see on many networking and other business blogs. There you’ll read that a USP should be one sentence and be directly about your company. That’s fine – we’ll get to that with the VSP. I propose (and I learned this from Chris Marlow, 20+ year copywriting veteran and a mentor of mine) that your USP is really just for you and should be the basis for your VSP. This means, you USP can be longer than a sentence. In fact, it should be. But it’s just for you, no one else. But you can’t do this if you don’t have a clue as to what makes you unique. Since many writers are solopreneurs, we are our brand. I discussed this point at length in this post. While we may have a company name and logo, what people will remember is us. So, when developing your USP, you’ll want to consider the experiences and knowledge gained that have made you who you are today:
- Where did I grow up?
- What early life experiences affected me?
- What jobs did I hold?
- Where did I go to college?
- What was my major/minor?
- What adult life events have changed me?
While these questions go outside the lines of the traditional USP, there is a reason behind it. All of our experiences, good, bad, happy, sad, mold and shape us into who we are. It’s hard to escape our past, because it informs our present and future. These are things to simply note for yourself, personally, these aren’t things that will necessarily be part of your USP. Next, consider these questions:
- What have I always been good at?
- What topics am I drawn to?
- What do I love to read or study up on?
- What have people always complimented me on?
- What comes naturally to me?
- What would I do, if money were no object?
- What do I love to do?
If you sincerely answer these questions, you’ll now have more than enough material to work with to craft a USP. When I wrote out my USP, I first considered the areas I love to learn/write about: health and wellness, fitness, home improvement and animals. I can write just about anything, but these topics get me excited. How I settled on a niche to write within was directly linked to these passions. I settled on health and wellness because I was born with severe allergies and asthma. This meant a very limited life. My mom was diagnosed with MS right after I was born, so she had her own health challenges to manage. She chose the alternative health route to help us both. So, I was reading Prevention Magazine at six-years-old and began visiting a chiropractor and having acupuncture treatments at age 7. This was back in the late ’60′s, early 70′s – when these things were “new” to the mainstream. Fast forward to my corporate days – I was in sales and marketing working with Fortune 100 companies as well as small businesses. I was good at what I did, which was listen to client needs and create workable, affordable, successful solutions to their marketing research needs. I’ve also owned more than one small business since 2001. When I considered the above experiences, plus others I’ve not mentioned, I came up with this USP for me:
Why hire Lisbeth Tanz?
Because she’s living proof that the alternative health and supplements industry works. As a child suffering from debilitating asthma and allergies, Lisbeth was exposed to a variety of alternative therapies and supplements designed to mitigate the effects of her ailments. With her mother’s perseverance, who herself had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Lisbeth slowly transformed from an unhealthy child living a restricted life tied to medications, to a healthy adult embracing a life of fun and adventure with little to hold her back. Using her personal experience and her years in corporate sales to Fortune 100 companies, Lisbeth has honed “the art of conversation” and the ability to “listen between the lines.” These abilities have enabled her to be top in her sales field – skills she transferred easily to the written word. Lisbeth’s talent for framing people’s needs as they see them helps her connect with her audience in an intimate and personal way, which ensures the client a healthy ROI, shorter sales cycles and increased profits.
I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn, I’m hoping to illustrate that with a bit of time and consideration, you can also create your own USP that will show you how your unique talents, skills, experience and knowledge make you the best writer for your particular niche or passion. Once you have this information, it’s easy to translate it into a VSP. Which I’ll discuss in another post.