"Isn't it time we stopped talking about USPs and talk about the value we add to the process instead?" -Tracey Barrett, BlueSky PR
That great soundbite comes from Tracey Barrett's talk at On the Edge's Marketing for Recruitment event. While the context of her talk was meant to apply to recruiters and their marketing teams, there are myriad ways in which other B2B companies could benefit from her wisdom too.
Barrett copy and pasted various recruitment firms's 'About' sections, and surprise, surprise, the same keywords, such as 'people-driven business', reoccurred to the point of uselessness. My colleague Chris Grant found the same thing when he looked into the profile of lawyers. This is a problem that plagues B2B companies across the board - but they must really learn to step away from the comfort of these terms to stand out.
So how do you stand out from the pack?
The best way is through expert content that helps and provides value to your target audience. The shape this content takes is going to be different for every company but it should always start with your audience in mind.
Perhaps, like recruitment agencies, you have several types of audience you need to reach out to (clients, consultants, candidates,...). Luckily, we live in an age of segmentation, so it's quite possible for you to reach out with specificity to multiple types of audiences by using different types of content.
The key to acquiring all of those things is engagement [...] that engagement will happen through providing your target audiences with quality content that is of use, of interest, of value – and above all credible. And how do you provide content that really achieves this? One way is by making sure that you are appearing in the media that your clients, candidates and potential consultants are reading because it’s that third party credibility that sets apart quality from all the rest of the ‘noise’ that your stakeholders get bombarded with on a daily basis. Writing a blog post is great. Writing a blog post based around a piece of coverage you have had in The Times and providing a link to the article is a hundred times more credible and gives you great content to share.