Hurrah! The USP is dead! Long live your USP!

This is an illustration how you ARE the farmer and not the sheep. Let's get started.

“We identify in our experience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us.”
Alan Watts

Differentiating any business is getting harder and harder, so when you’re asked in a new client meeting, pitch or similar and the question comes “What are your USPs”, what are you going to say? 

Let’s take recruitment as an example - an industry I spent over 12 years in steering, developing and leading strategic direction - this example can be attributable to every single business within the sector. From multi-national recruiters like Michael Page, Hays, Robert Walters etc to start-ups working out of a bedroom in Harrow, the same quandary can and will be applied. Every recruitment business claims they have “XYZ” accreditations, have “ABC” number of years in the recruitment (so know the market better than anyone else) or have “DEF” years in vertical markets. What’s the client’s obvious reply? 

SO WHAT! All the other agencies knocking on my door are claiming exactly the same thing. In this case, you are going to sound very much like sheep. Baaaaa!

But there is a way for all businesses, whatever sector you’re in (not just recruitment), to open the conversation which will really stand you apart from your competition. Content. Be the farmer and get ready to harvest!


There are countless "experts" claiming how to do it, but this is an easy guide with 6 points to generate content that you can rely on.  

But first!

PERSONALITY. The key to this USP is your personality. Your opinion is what is sought. Clients and customers love this approach as you can demonstrate your dexterity in your field of expertise. Your personality should be injected to every single piece of content, regardless of length. The 7 points below will drive this key asset.

  • Use Google Trends It’s a great way to seek benchmarks which can then be transferred into blogs, web content and similar.
  • Google Alerts are continually a great way to see what key terms on the biggest search engine are getting notoriety. Create interesting content and get the focus on you.
  • Case studies and updates on a great service delivered to your customers are superb, and like every other option listed here, entirely unique. Google and Bing like unique content.
  • Write your observations on your industry and anything that appeals to you. This is great for opinions, and that’s what clients like. It’s not right, it’s not wrong. It’s your opinion as a subject matter expert.
  • Most importantly, create your own. Use current affairs to ask your clients questions about your industry. In the past, I ran a survey as soon as Mark Carney was announced as the new Governor of the Bank of England. This was sent out to clients in the FS industry. The overwhelming response was they didn’t know who he was! This was reported widely and great PR for my business was recorded.
  • Mix it up; write, YouTube, Periscope, Tweets etc. Don't rely on one medium to reach your audience.

I’ve also ran surveys based on the “hiring intentions” of managers which got an ROI of over 4000% and also the viewing habits of businesses on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The white paper, PR and infographic ensured coverage was received from all relevant trade journals, the FT and CNN. No one else copied this idea. Originality can come from anywhere. It was crammed with personality. 

  • Market reports. If you work in Estate agency, potential customers are looking to engage with those who know the market better than others. An insight into the latest financial figures, for example, and distributed to your TA will help enormously for your credibility. It creates that talking point. Home owners are always looking for estate agents to sell their house, to buy they will go straight to Rightmove or Zoopla.

Here’s some things to remember when creating and posting content:

  • Remember to tag your written copy
  • Mix it up; consider written content as well as the audio visual. YouTube is owned by Google and the second biggest search engine. Periscope – a recent acquisition by Twitter – is superb for engagement immediately (here’s a suggestion. How about a ‘scope post July Budget on 8th July?)
  • Seek ideas from your team(s). An idea can come from anywhere
  • Stick to regular postings. There’s nothing worse than posting something, then your next post comes 4 months later. It shows you’re not really into it; blogs take minutes to write
  • Put your blogs on all your social channels
  • Write LinkedIn introductions for your teams so they don’t have to think. Provide the copy and the link. Hey presto
  • 80/20. Use, comment and share and RT 80% of content generated by highly influential organisations and people (like Bank of England, accreditation committees etc), but NOT competitors.
  • PERSONALITY. PERSONALITY. PERSONALITY in everything you write, publish or stream. 

USPs are good and you only have to look within to understand you have more at your fingertips than you’ll ever think.

Ps. This is not an exhaustive list……

Chris Phillips
Oliver Myles Marketing
01442 345031