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The best copywriting tip you'll read all year

A dream I had recently has transformed the way I write. Really. Before I tell you what it is, I’m going to ask you to list a few USPs of hotels. Nothing out of the box here, just what you expect everyday hotels to sell you as a benefit of staying there.

Does your list look something like this?

- Comfy beds

- A good night’s sleep

- Modern rooms

- Room service

- On-site restaurant

Mine does too (obviously, you just read it). Now, the interesting bit:

In my dream, I was staying in a hotel room – just your very regular looking room with a bed, desk, en suite and secure locking door. Except the door didn’t open onto a corridor, it opened into a small porch area, shared with the guests in the room next door. We then had one main door leading to the corridor. My room was still totally private, and so was theirs – but we had this weird little shared space in which we might or might not bump into each other.

And then it hit me. You don’t want to share a porch with a stranger. You don’t really want to interact with strangers most of the time you’re staying in a hotel. So, if you take what a hotel normally offers, and add one extra thing you definitely don’t want, it starts to highlight the drawbacks of a service:

Soon, your list starts to look like this:

- Awkward chats or ‘hello’s with strangers

- Feeling out of your comfort zone

- Shared spaces with people you don’t know

Now, this weird little dream hotel porch of mine is obviously completely made up, but it has served to highlight what you value from hotels in a way you wouldn’t have questioned before, because you’d take it for granted.

Now we know what we definitely don’t want the USPs to look like, the list looks like this:

- Total privacy

- Your own space

- A chance to escape your normal day

- Time to think, read, binge Netflix, anything else you like 😉 – alone

- Or, if not alone – spend time around only the people you choose

Let’s go back to our original, basic hotel USPs at the top. Compare it to the last list here. Which set of USPs holds more impact? To me, the first list shouts ‘every hotel, ever’. The second says ‘specific brand that has thought about its audience’.

Right there, that’s how you show the value of copywriting to clients. It’s not about making words sound nice, it’s about changing behaviour.

So, how can you apply this when you’re writing client copy (or even your own)?

Take your standard, or most immediate USPs. Now add something about the product or service you definitely don’t want. Here’s another example:

A consultant offering marketing services – their USPs are their approach and unique experience.

What their clients don’t want is a service based over Zoom.

Suddenly, you have a new USP: In-person consulting with a fully immersive experience. The consultant works so closely with your company they’ll feel like part of the team.

It gets easier to write about a unique service. It gets easier to grab more attention. I’m calling it UUSP writing (Unique USP writing). Try it today – what don’t you want?

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