What’s your USP?

Ant NestThat’s not always an easy question to answer.

Your Unique Selling Point should differentiate you from your competitors. As a copywriter, I do what a lot of other copywriters do. However, copywriters fall into different categories, usually defined by areas of expertise.

In-house copywriters employed by large organisations have an in-depth knowledge of a particular sector. By contrast, freelance copywriters work in a variety of industries and acquire an understanding of a number of markets.

Having an interest and experience in a subject matter helps enormously. You have a head start if you already have a portfolio of work in a specific area. I’ve written a fair amount on IT, property, gardening, conservation, nature, and food and have a bank of research on these topics.

Aside from specialist subjects, as a sole trader where else can you look for a USP? I decided to ask a few friends if they thought I had a personal USP. In hindsight, I’m not sure this was such a good idea. Some of the positive traits mentioned included honesty, perfectionism, a good sense of humour, being an in-depth researcher and a hard worker.

In theory, all good qualities. On the other hand, is your USP a feature that will translate into a benefit to your client?

Is honesty appreciated in advertising? I believe it should be (as mentioned in my Truth in all things including copywriting post), though some people may not share this view.

Writing is subjective. Anything can be written in any number of ways. Does perfectionism mean endless rewrites and missed deadlines? (No.)

Humour is unquestionably subjective. Although I bring a gentle humour to certain projects, I steer clear of laugh-out-loud jokes (not that I come up with many of those anyway!) as I feel you run the risk of alienating a section of your audience.

How deeply should you research? You don’t want to bore your audience with every last detail of a subject.

Hardworking is definitely a good quality, isn’t it? Or is gluing your bum to the office chair and staying put till the job's done stifling to creativity? Should I be out communing with nature to gain inspiration?

Finally, someone said they couldn’t think of anything to say, and maybe that was the best comment. After all, a copywriter should be anonymous.

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Truth in all things including copywriting
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