Don’t Invent Your Message, Steal It

Pickpocket CC Spanner Dan Dont Invent Your Message, Steal ItOne of the hardest things for startups to do is to communicate a clear value proposition. Your value proposition, or unique selling point (USP) is the thing you do better than anyone else. And it’s something that people need.

But it’s not as hard as you think to be an effective communicator.Often startups have difficulty crafting this message because they’re so new, so different, and unverified, that they’re still struggling to achieve traction.

To be effective a value proposition has to be short, crisp and unmistakable. If you still don’t know which way is up, it’s not going to be very easy for you to convince others to follow you. This was a problem I recently had working with a startup whose solution was so obvious–and needed–but defied easy explanation. Cramming the value into one sentence just wasn’t possible.

The best way to make your value proposition clear is to steal the words out of your prospects’ mouths. Seriously. If you want to make sure that people understand what you’re building and why, just mirror their speech, or mirror their concerns.

One of the easiest ways to find out what motivates people is to look at Twitter hashtags and see what people are sharing. Quite often people share their frustrations with the hashtag #FAIL. When you find a hashtag that relates to what you do, and people are using it to share their gripes, you’ve found your value proposition.

Now you may offer much more than what people are chattering about on Twitter and other social media platforms. It doesn’t matter. People only care about what affects them. So use this to your advantage.

Love them or hate them, the reason why Hollywood is addicted to sequels is because they’re easy to explain. Sequels get made because they’re stealing value from the movie that was already created and repackaging. People know what to expect because they went the first time. If they go for a second time to see the sequel they are already prepared for what is awaiting them.

By stealing your messaging from your prospects’ mouths they know what to expect because they already said it.

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