When I worked in PR under Roxhill’s Emma Cripwell (it’s very incestuous round here), she had the luxury of choosing clients. The tempting ones were always those that seemed likely to be easy to promote; those with a clear USP that we could communicate to the press.
Such a luxury is unlikely to be available to most of your firms in this age of Covid, but that doesn’t preclude you grilling your existing or new clients about what, precisely, sets them apart.
I say this after receiving a couple of excellent approaches last week about new concepts. One is to do with a new launch that I must keep quiet (but well done Camilla!), and the other was from Alexa Grace about her London homestay client Smarter. “The platform is carving its own niche,” she said straightforwardly, “by offering the very best homes whilst ensuring a commitment to sustainability.”
Refining your client’s USP down to a single, digestible sentence (rather than a 50-word sentence with ten clauses) will prove helpful in various ways. You can recite it during time-pressed conversations at events or journalist meetings; journalists, meanwhile, can use it similarly when pitching to commissioning editors. Given everyone these days has the attention of a goldfish, such bitesize brevity is always a winner.
Above all, you’ll be able to answer the most crucial question of them all: why should a publication cover your client? Because that client needs to be doing or bringing something palpably different in order to merit exposure.
So, for each client, I urge you to do the following, if you haven’t already. Firstly, verify who are its most-similar competitors. Then ask that client what their key points of difference are versus those rivals. Be polite but firm: force them to answer. Filter their responses down into snappy language, concentrating on salient points, and produce a sentence you can parrot out on demand.