You never get a second chance to make a first impression. So why not position yourself to make a positive and lasting first impression on your site visitors. This can be done by using one of the most powerful, but often overlooked and poorly utilized tools: the bio or “about me” page.

Effective bios are ideal for various networking and marketing purposes such as your website, blog, social bookmarking and social networking profiles, or article submission bio boxes. You should treat your bio as a short advertisement for you and your business. It is not a resume and should not contain your entire life’s history. Resume-type bios do nothing more than drive visitors away. And in an age where Content is King, you want visitors to “stick” to your site rather than click away, never to return.

The Elements of Style, Fourth EditionA well-written bio can convey to your potential clients and visitors that you are fun, creative and entertaining. Don’t think of what you want to tell, but, think of what reaction you want, and how best to present your bio to accomplish that response. Equally important, differentiate youself from others and tell a story that is relevant to your target market. Your bio should be memorable, with a layout that is inviting and copy that captures the reader’s attention and compels them to read more. Readers want to know:

 

  • who you are,
  • your expertise,
  • how it addresses their problem or goal, and
  • how they can contact you.

 

Below are some sample sentence starters adapted from Barbara Sundquist to help you write your bio.

 

______________ (your name) is a _________ (identify expertise) who helps _________ (your target clients) to ___________ (a problem or goal your target clients have). Prior to establishing her/his business, _______(your name) spent _______ years as a ________________ (your relevant experience). ________ (your name) offers a wide range of programs and services – from ___________, to __________ and __________ (your services).

 

 

________ (your name) specializes in (identify expertise) ______ (target clients) to ___________ (problem target clients want to solve, or goal they want to achieve).

 

 

After a successful career __________ (what you’ve been successful in), _______ (your name) now (identify business).

 

 

_________ (your name) is no stranger to ________ (the industry or problem you help to solve). She/he spent ___ years as a ________ (occupation: e.g. mother of three, professional dancer, corporate executive). Her/his book ________ (book title) was published in ____ (publication year) and has since helped _______ (number: hundreds? thousands?) of people to _______ (problem book solved for them, or what it taught them). To contact _______ (your name) please email ______ or go to _______ (your website)

 

Now that you are armed with the tools to write a highly effective bio, remember the following key points:

 

  1. Be conversational. Write your bio as if you were talking to a close friend or business colleague.
  2. Stack the facts up front. Convey what you have done, how you did it and how you can help.
  3. Don’t ramble on about passions and purpose. Your bio needs to sell you, not your philosophy. Stick to your most impressive facts.
  4. Convey a sense of personality in your bio so that your audience gets a sense of who you are and respond to that. Get people interested in you because they feel something about you.
  5. Be creative. Some of the best bios have been written in the form of a poem.
  6. For article submissions, limit your bio to three or four sentences.
  7. For profiles and about me pages, limit your bio to three or four paragraphs. Make sure you keep the paragraphs to no more than three to four sentences. Short paragraphs increase the likelihood of people reading your entire bio.
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