Whenever someone recommends a resource or “expert” to you, what’s the first thing you’re likely to do? Chances are, you go right to their website. Typically, you’ll take a quick glance at their home page, then you’ll jump right to the About Me page (if there is one, that is).
Why? In this age of virtual connectivity and instant information, you’re looking for a connection, to resonate with what this person or business stands for. And sometimes, the bio does a great job of making that connection. But the majority of the bios floating around in cyberspace are plain booooring. Lots of times, they read like they were written while eating stale crackers.
When was the last time you read a bio that really had you hooked? Does your own bio tell a story that resonates with the people you most want to connect with?
If you’re guilty of ‘boring bio syndrome”, take the following tips to heart…
- Tip #1: Create an About Me page on your blog or website. No kidding. You’d be surprised at how many gifted, talented people, who have a ton of value to offer the world, completely overlook or avoid this step. No more hiding, okay?
- Tip #2: Write like you speak. If you were speaking to someone in person or on the phone, you probably wouldn’t use a formal style or choose fancy-doodle words, when everyday penny words would be as good, if not better. Your bio isn’t about showing the world how great you are; it’s about showing the world how great a contribution you can make. So ditch the façade of formality.
- Tip #3: Make your bio relevant to your audience. A formal, academic presentation of where you went to school and all those fancy degrees and awards that you won may be great if you’re up for the Nobel Peace Prize, but it’s no good if you want people to relate to you and really get behind your cause.So what if you were Phi Beta Kappa or graduated summa cum laude? Does your audience know what that means or even care? More importantly, how does that benefit to your audience? If it doesn’t, scramble for the ‘Delete’ button.
- Tip #4: Don’t make your bio all about you. What you say? After all, isn’t a biographical description supposed to tell other people something about you?Instead, write from the perspective of your reader or viewer. Make sure that what you have to say has relevance and significance for your audience.
- Tip #5: Be real; don’t pretend to be someone that you’re not. Allow your personality and quirks to come through in your bio. Most readers and viewers can detect a fraud faster than they can click away from your website.But even if you fool people at first, it won’t help in the long run. A few years ago, my wife and I got a direct mail postcard from a carpet cleaning company. It was attractive in design, but what really caught our attention was the angle of education that the card provided. We called them. But when they showed up, the owner of the company wore an untucked, ratty plaid shirt and was gruff in demeanor. Not at all what we expected from the postcard. Think we ever called that company back again?
- Tip #6: Create three bio versions of different lengths – short, medium, and long. A good bio comes in handy all over the place, from your website/blog, to articles, to press kits and speaker’s packets. So have different versions prepared. As a guideline, a short bio might be 250-300 words; a medium bio might be 500-750 words; a longer bio could be 750 words or more.
- Tip #7: Inspire support and enthusiasm for your vision. Your bio is an opportunity to touch people’s hearts, awaken their minds, and stir their souls. Paint the picture of possibilities through what you have to say about who you are and the causes you champion. It’s a lot more interesting than line after line of where you went to school and degrees you earned. After all, you can’t bore people into buying from you!
- Tip #8: Be authentic. Don’t try to come across as someone that you’re not. Your bio is NOT the place to “fake it, until you make it.” Take the risk of telling a true story.
- Tip #9: Avoid trying to write the perfect, masterpiece bio. Think of your bio as a “work-in-progress.” Create your bio based on who you are today and who you intend to become tomorrow. But don’t worry about getting everything just right. Instead, plan on updating your bio at least once or twice during the year. That way, you won’t get stuck with “analysis paralysis.”
- Tip #10: Hire a friend or a ghostwriter to write your bio for you. Let’s face it; writing about yourself is a lot harder than writing about someone else. Even if you follow all the tips from above, you still might get stuck. In that case, it’s time to call for reinforcements.
- BONUS TIP: (Okay, okay, so what if I couldn’t keep it to 10 tips!): Write your bio as a story. We all love stories. We learn from stories. We are entertained by stories.On my website, I can’t tell you how many times prospective clients have told me that they completely resonate with the message in the video on my “About” page. In this video, I tell the story about how my background as a plastic surgeon prepared me to work with high-passion, purpose-guided entrepreneurs who want to achieve greater levels for freedom, contribution, and prosperity. Take a look and judge for yourself: http://freedompreneur.com/about/
I frequently tell people: “If you want to play a bigger game, you need to tell a bigger story.”
What’s the big story about you that wants to be told?
Your bio needs to tell a compelling story about who you are – where you came from, what challenges you’ve overcome, what inspired you to do what you do, who you help, how you help, along with what your vision is about what’s possible through your work. In short, it needs to tell the story about what the value you provide and what earns you the right to be the “go-to” resource in your field for providing that value.