Is My USP Any Good?

one person standing out in the crowd

Hey guys, John Oszajca here. I thought I’d put together a post to address an unusually high volume of complex and unique questions that have been coming in as a result of the recent MMM 4.0 lesson on creating your Unique selling proposition (USP).

It’s very hard for us to offer feedback on a specific USP without really being educated on the nuances of your campaign. Thus requires a considerable amount of time and familiarity and would be a bit outside of the scope of general MMM support. MMM 4.0 support is here to help explain anything that is unclear and help you over any technical hurdles you encounter along the way, but evaluating and responding to creative nuances of a campaign is something that really requires a consulting session. You can also post these kinds of questions in the Insider Circle Mastermind Forum if you are looking for more direct feedback.

Please know that this is not because we don’t want to help, or because we want you to order some additional service. It’s simply that evaluating copy, web pages, and music, and then offering creative tips and copy suggestions can sometimes take almost an hour per response which is an unrealistic expectation of MMM support.

That said, I did want to create a resource to help anyone who had questions about their USP as many people find themselves uncertain as to whether they are on the right track or not…

Your USP is the thing that sets you apart from others in your space. It’s a short and simple concept that allows a fan to quickly communicate what is special about you as an artist to their other people.

Here is some universal advice about how to determine if a USP is on target or not.

1. The real litmus test is whether or not you envision someone actually saying your USP outloud.

Over and over again, I see students creating USPs that are overly formal, full of hyperbole, and don’t say anything very specific. It’s very important that you focus on actual qualities, rather than ambiguous concepts.

For example, this is the kind of USP I see regularly submitted that misses the mark (hypothetical example):

“Joe Blow is a singer and songwriter who blend life experiences with a powerful voice, to create a hauntingly beautiful sonic experience that is rich in honesty, integrity, and soul.”

Now say that out loud, but begin the sentence with, you should check out Joe Blow

It just feels funny and unnatural. And, at least in my opinion, it is not how people actually talk nor does it convey anything specific.

The only thing in that sentence that actually means anything objective is “singer songwriter”. And while there is nothing wrong with just being another singer songwriter, there needs to be some aspect of that which sets you apart. If that’s not there then – even if the music is really good – you will have a hard time capturing any initial interest with your ads.

But it also can’t be overly complex. Simply restating that to read more like…

“Joe Blow is a Portland Singer songwriter who’s witty lyrics have led  many critics calling him the next Bob Dylan”.

While that may not be the most dynamic USP ever written, it is specific, clear, and drives the concept home immediately. If you like Bob Dylan you might like Joe Blow.

2. Also keep in mind that your USP does not need to be perfect or polished.

You are not actually publishing your USP anywhere. You are establishing your USP to take some of the guess work away from the headlines and ad copy you will be instructed to write later on in MMM 4.0 lessons.

For example, if we look at my second example USP above, it will take very little tweaking to turn that USP into a powerful squeeze page headline or ad Facebook ad. If you target people who like Bob Dylan, everything essential is likely to be communicated and the ads and squeeze page stand a decent chance of being effective.

Here is something you can do if you are completely lost…

It’s a weird thing but we often come up blank when suddenly asked to describe what is special about our own music. One exercise that might help is to separate yourself from your own music for a moment and imagine that you are writing a script for a film. In that film there is a scene in which we see a musician on stage (this musician embodies the qualities you hope to embody). How would you set the tone in the descriptive paragraph. For example, finish this sentence… On the stage was “__________________“. You can make up anything you want to make this fictitious artist seem exciting and interesting. Then take what you have written and remove the parts that are do not actually apply to you or your music and fill them in with things that are accurate. Or (something to think about)… change parts of your story and brand so that they are accurate.

I hope that helps get you back on track with your USP and you now feel ready to proceed with the rest of MMM 4.0.