The Key To Writing An Authentic Professional Bio

Bios are the new resumes.

Whether for your personal website, a social media blurb, your company team page, or your pitch deck it is arguably the most important copy that you will ever write about yourself.  It is the number one thing you will be asked for by companies, conference organizers, or podcast hosts who are interested to work with you. Your bio is your top marketing asset; a place where you want people to not only get an accurate picture of you but a place to showcase your work, your personality, competence, and area of expertise.

Whatever opportunities you are pursuing right now, your bio is the one critical item you’ll need as part of your strategy.

When you write your bio, you’ll want to be sure that it is compelling, inspiring, and best of all, unforgettable.

No pressure, right?

Because your bio is that important, it is the most hardest thing for many of us to write. We would rather stick our heads in the sand than write about ourselves. So how do we come up with a document that takes the best parts of ourselves and distills it into something that potential clients, decision makers and influencers will clamor over?

It’s important to remember that people want to connect with real people and absent an actual face to face meeting, your digital mark is the one place people make their impressions of you. Your bio should contain four things: (1) Who you are, (2) What You do, (3) Why you do it, and (4) How.

Here’s a guide of what it would look like:

  1. Name, title, Who you help

  2. What you know or believe about the work you do - this is your ‘why’ statement. Should be inspiring and vision oriented.

  3. # of years in your field - this info is a great way to quickly show depth of experience. It helps the brain make a quick assessment of expertise.

  4. Compelling experiences and wins - this can include projects you’ve been involved with or client highlights

  5. Relevant trainings, certifications, awards received - this can include degrees, areas of study, universities attended.

  6. Contact - this info includes website, email, Linkedin profile, social media handles or any other ways people can find you on the internet.

Here’s an example:

Ariane Hunter is the CEO & Founder of Project She Went For Her Dreams; a personal branding & marketing firm in New York City and serving clients globally. She works with enlightened women and businesses to develop creative brands and build artistic marketing strategies to standout in a meaningful, authentic way.  Ariane believes in amplifying our voices at home and and work in order to impact our world and communities.

Ariane draws on decades of experience working for the top marketing and branding agencies in New York City and supporting high profile clients become key players in their industry. She holds an MBA and is a certified coach. Ariane has worked with industry leaders including Women in Stem Leadership at Stony Brook University, Women’s Catalyst group at HP, Oracle, and many more. She has spoken for NYU Stern Women in Business, Karen Millen, ABC Home, Emerging Leaders for NY Arts, and has been featured guest on numerous empowerment podcasts. Ariane is also a published writer whose work appears in Time.com, Levo League, Ivy Exec, and The Muse. She’s been quoted in The Daily Worth, Her Agenda, and more. You can learn more by visiting www.shewentforherdreams.com or contact via email: she@shewentforherdreams.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arianehunter/     | Instagram: @arianehunter

Your bio should not be too long; keep it succinct. Anything longer than two paragraphs or ten sentences starts to get too wordy. Keep in mind that your bio should evolve as you do. You may need to tweak it as you go along depending on your audience but now that you’ve got your draft down it will be easier to rework it.

This template is meant to be a guide but ultimately you get to decide how you word and craft your bio. It should make you feel proud and capture the essence of your work in an authentic way. Additionally, it will help you to be able to talk about your work more clearly and confidently.

Your About Me Page: What Does It Say About You?

Bio pages have got to be one of the toughest sections to get through when creating a website.  I mean, what do you even begin to say when describing yourself?  Most of us don’t really like talking about ourselves so we get stuck and cannot get past the opening line “hi, my name is Mary, welcome to my site”.  There’s a very thin line between picking the right words to say verses writing straight up fluff. The bio page for my website took me a whole three days to come up with and the one on my blog took even longer.  But the thing that got me through it was gathering my thoughts on what I truly wanted my viewers to know about me and ultimately I just spoke from the heart.  There’s enough fluff out there on the internet so the About Me section is a chance to really stand out and tell the world who you are and why you rock! The bio page is known as one the one of the highest ranked pages on many websites. Think about it?  What is the first page you usually go to after arriving at a website?  If the homepage really captures your attention, you’re going to want to know more about the person or business.  Especially if you are a client looking to purchase a product or service, our natural tendency is to want to know more and to connect with the person behind the website.  The About Me page is usually the last chance to make yourself stand out with your visitor to make them either return to your site or take the next step in contacting you to do business. Ok so now you know how important your About Me page is; now what? If you already have a bio page, take a look at it right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.......So wha’d you think?  Is it a perfect representation of you?  Does it say all that you want it to say?  Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy?  If not, read on.  And for those of you who don’t already have a bio page, let’s get started creating one right now! There are a few things to keep in mind when you go to write your page.  It must answer these three questions: 1.       Who Are You? 2.      What service/product you provide? 3.      Why the client should choose you? These three questions can be answered in any order you like but the key thing to remember is to just put your own style to it.  Be unique, be yourself.  If for example, you’re from the south and you use the word “y’all” a lot don’t be afraid to use it in your bio (1-2x max, lol).  Be personable yet professional.  This gives your visitor the ability to connect with you and maybe even relate to you on a personal level.  Writing your bio page can be an exciting way to talk about your life experiences and how they relate to the services you provide.  Visitors to your site are looking for real genuine people they can connect with or even be inspired by. When speaking of your particular product or service, find ways to make yourself stand out.  Try to refrain from making bold statements that can be misconstrued as arrogance.  This is not the impression you want to leave with your visitors.  Instead be humble but make your accomplishments known.  If you’ve won several awards for best “XX” go for it and let people know about it.  This will be undoubtedly the best way to make your services stand out.  Just remember to be human and represent your personality with every word you say. Try to avoid using buzzwords like “funky, fabulous, chic” to describe yourself and your photography style.  These are quickly becoming over-used in the photography industry and aren’t really seen as unique traits.  Although, these may indeed be great words to describe you and your services, try to dig a little deeper to differentiate yourself.  Ultimately your photos should represent your photography style. Pictures!  Some bio pages do not have pictures on them but I am a strong advocate for this.  You should have a flattering picture of yourself right alongside the words of your bio.  Feel free to get creative with the picture you use.  I’m a big fan of lifestyle photography; an image that captures you in your environment.   If you love sunflowers, go to a sunflower field on a sunny day for some self-portraits.  Ultimately, your words should match how you are portrayed in the photo. Here are a few websites that I think have awesome “About Me” pages and why they stand out. Junshien Lau Photography.  Junshien is a photographer who's work I greatly admire.  When I first stumbled upon his website, I was blown away by his About Me bio.  If I’d never seen any of his pictures I still would’ve been drawn to him just be reading what he had to say.  He speaks from the first person in a manner that seems as if he's talking directly to you.  I like that he does something you aren’t used to seeing like writing in a poem-like format.  His words are so genuine as he describes his personality while still highlighting his photography services. Radiant Photography's About Me page was just such a cool way to stand out and it is extremely creative.  It gives the viewer a taste of the photographers style before you even see their pictures.   Words like "down to earth" and "daring and creative lifestyle" are highlighted and almost dead centered in the page allowing them to jump out at the viewer.  It makes great use of a keyword cloud that makes it easy for a potential client to quickly get a snapshot of the photographer and their services. This last About Me page is from Kimera Designs.   The bio section is named “Philosphy” but the goal is still the same.  I found this website in my search for wedding dress designers for a photo project I'm working on.  Out of all the designer sites I found, this one stuck out to me the most because after viewing their philosophy page I felt connected to their words. It succinctly describes the business and their unique approach to fashion and design. So hopefully this all gives you a good starting point for writing your About Me page.  But, if you’re still stuck here’s a neat little exercise I found that helped me to write my bio page.  Maybe it can help you too.  It basically gives several questions for you to answer.  The point is to write the answers down quickly and not over think it; just write.  And based on your answers, you can craft a bio that focuses on your uniqueness and what you can offer. Ok folks, chop chop, let’s get to work on those About Me pages :)! Happy Wednesday!! See Beauty... Ariane
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