It’s awkward to talk about ourselves and our bio. How to reveal just enough of who we are as a person and combine it with our rock star skills and expertise without bragging or boring people?
And yet we must figure it out. Writing your bio may cause crabbiness or nausea, but it is an important part of your brand portfolio and must be done — in advance of needing it. You’ll use variations online, as a speaker, and when looking for a referral or an introduction. Waiting until someone asks for it will result in head banging and produce a mediocre version of you in words.
Figurative head banging can be just as painful as the real thing.
A bio is not a bunch of slick-sounding but meaningless words. Words that do nothing more than take up space are like a boring speaker or cheap wine. The speaker makes you want to leave the room and bad wine, well, there’s no reason to buy that brand again.
Sunday I was Googling, randomly reading stuff about copywriting and looking at the competition. My competition isn’t any or all copywriters. There are two market segments I run in: mission driven/personal development entrepreneurs and speakers in the same arena. One result Google delivered was “How to write a professional bio.” Looking for something new, I went there.
His article was basic but informative. His bio was going to prove his points I thought, “Add credentials, expertise, and what makes you unique.”
Not so much.
“M, specializes in coaching and mentoring conscious individuals and heart-centered entrepreneurs who want to follow their dreams and create successful businesses that are aligned with their passion and purpose, helping them make money doing what they love, creating a fulfilling life, and make a greater impact in the lives of others.”
Know anyone who sounds just like this person? Sure, we all do. We probably know too many. Someone reading this might have a bio that sounds similar….
There are no credentials, no signs of his expertise, and nothing I would call unique.
He called out his market: “conscious individuals and heart-centered entrepreneurs.” The heart-centered part I’ll agree with, and forgive me for asking but how would you coach an unconscious individual? It’s a commonly used idea, but what does it really mean?
Where is the unique? Everyone coaches and consults, but what makes this one better, or different?
I’m not done yet, and this is in the interest of having you sound like the dynamic individual you are — not just being bitchy.
“Who want to follow their dreams.” Who doesn’t want to follow their dreams?
Maybe M is eliminating those less-than-ideal clients.
Or are his words just taking up space on the page?
One last thing, “create successful businesses that are aligned with their passion and purpose, helping them make money doing what they love, creating a fulfilling life, and make a greater impact in the lives of others.”
This sentence is an award winner in the run-on sentence category, and the last half needs to break away from the motherland. It’s a fine idea, and many of us in business want successful ones that align with some aspect of us. We want to be fulfilled, and have an impact. SO WHAT?!
I mean, so what do all of those words do to help me get to know M? And when does he breathe when reading this out loud? You know you should ALWAYS read everything out loud before publishing or sending, right?
Look peoples, I know this critique may be harsh, but your brain goes to sleep instantly when it’s not engaged and wondering what’s next. Your bio is no different than your pitch from the front of the room, the copy on your About Page, or anywhere you are marketing you. Don’t be boring!
What constitutes a strong bio? Voice, speaking to a specific target audience, personality, expertise, credentials.
And one bio will not do every job. Depending on who wants to read it or get to know you, you will change the slant and what you include.
Here are the guidelines to writing a bio that does the job:
- Shorter is always better.
- You can start with your value proposition. “Marketing is overpopulated with boring, meaningless bios and web copy.”Or your full name — and generally, speak in the third person. “Maryann Jones runs a wellness spa catering to midlife women recovering from cancer.”Like that.Use your full name, but only once — then use your first name or “Maryann or Ms. Jones works with,” or your bio will feel clumsy.
- State who you work with and your expertise. Add a phrase that will be memorable or at least interesting about your work. “Linda has been featured in Forbes magazine for her work with autistic children.” “Thomas has over 100 testimonials from satisfied real estate agents who have taken his course, ‘Sell more homes than they do.’”
- Depending on your industry and brand voice, you can use humor — but run it by someone to make sure it’s not misunderstood. Social media invites can be playful but make sure your services are clear. Here’s my twitter bio: “Helping mission driven companies connect with their tribes thru powerful messages, story, copy. Love wine, being outdoors, and the beach. Hate squishy language”It gets the job done in 137 characters.
Why not review your current bios and be sure they are interesting, as short as possible, and work to let others know what sets you apart? You are unique, even if you do what a thousand others do. Your bio should reveal that.
To help you write anything more powerfully I’ve created a list of words and phrases that must go. You can grab it here if you don’t already have it »