4 - Attracting readers

To attract an audience, find a USP.

ICE train in Berlin

ABOVE: A photo from a six-page introduction to Germany's ICE trains.

by Durant Imboden, Europe for Visitors

The term "USP" isn't a mistyped abbreviation for "United Parcel Service": It's advertising and marketing shorthand for "Unique Selling Proposition,"or how you differentiate your product from everyone else's.

At Europeforvisitors.com, our USP is "in-depth travel-planning information," especially for topics that we've focused on since our earliest days (Venice, Switzerland) or chosen to add in more recent years (Paris, Germany, European cruising). Two extreme manifestations of our obsessive-compulsive approach are:

  • A 10-page ship review and 241-page photo gallery of an MSC Poesia cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Excessive? Maybe. Still, it's a USP that has helped us attract millions of readers each year, and it distinguishes us from the "content farms" that publish short, keyword-driven fillers written by amateurs and $10-an-article freelancers.

But enough about us. What will your Unique Selling Proposition be?

  • If you're writing about a topic that hasn't attracted much coverage, your USP could be as simple as "the first and only compehensive English-language travel-planning site for Bazookastan."
  • If you're writing about a topic with well-established competitors, such as cruising, your USP could be "a site devoted solely to European river cruising," or "a comprehensive cruise guide for handicapped travelers."
  • If you have a flair for programming, your USP might be "a European travel site with free Android apps," or "a New York City shopping guide for GPS users." 

The important thing is to have something unique or compelling that will help you:

  • Establish a reputation as the "go to" site in your niche or sub-niche, and...
  • Attract links from related sites that aren't direct competitors.

Next article: "Search-engine optimization (SEO)"

Photo: Olaf Loose.