6 Tips for Writing a Killer Bio and About Me Page

One of my priorities for the New Year is to refresh and refine the pieces I use to market my freelance copywriting services. This includes my LinkedIn profile, letters of introduction, resume and portfolio. Most importantly, this includes my all forms of my bio, which also means that pesky “About Me” section on my website.  (It’s not updated yet, just in case you decide to check my work. EDITOR’S NOTE: I posted a revised “About” page on January 25.)

About Me imageSo why am I telling you this? Writing about myself is extremely hard for me. I love writing bios and related pieces for other people, especially entrepreneurs and business owners. Those gigs often come with “I get paid for this?” joy.

What about you? Do you struggle to write about yourself? From a two-sentence “about the author” for an essay to query letters to marketing materials, writers do have to sell themselves with words on a daily basis. I’ve been fortunate to have fellow writers and editors who trade drafts with me for feedback and creative suggestions. Of course, I could hire another writer to do it for me, but this is something I know I need to conquer.

While I’m working on my bio and one for a talented photographer, I thought I’d share my tips for creating a kick-ass “about me” piece.

  1. Know your audience. This is basic to any writer—especially any copywriter—but it’s worth repeating here. Depending on what you hope to accomplish with your bio, you may need to develop more than one version. The longer bio I use for copywriting is drastically different than the short paragraph I use in conjunction with essay submissions.
  2. Don’t wear the “Hello, My Name Is…” badge. While you do need to demonstrate your skills and experience, you can do it creatively. Weave it in as you show what you’ve done to help your customers instead of listing in a lengthy, time-line fashion. My current bio leans too much in the timeline direction, so that’s one of my priority revisions.
  3. Solve a problem. It’s the same philosophy I recommend for effective letters. Show the client (or potential client) what you can do for them. Using this approach is also a good way to avoid too many uses of “I” or your name in your bio or about me page. If you’re focusing on an “about me” page on a blog, let your readers know what they can gain from reading your posts.
  4. Do as you say. If you state that your clients love your ability to write short, snappy copy yet your bio is laden with long, heavy sentences, you’re going to leave potential customers scratching their heads—or moving on to another copywriter. However, if done deliberately, contradictions can work in your favor. For example, I’ve been hired to write creative, zippy short content for traditionally dry subjects (e.g., food and beverage manufacturing). My bio needs to reflect that I understand these traditionally “serious” industries—and that I can write with zing.
  5. Be competitive. You can also call this one “be distinctive.” Check out other writers in your niche to see how they describe themselves. Then showcase what makes you unique. It’s not necessary that you prove you’re better. It’s about making sure you stand out in the reader’s mind.
  6. Give ’em a takeaway. If you could only use a one-sentence bio, what would it say? Try to incorporate this sentence into your longer piece. Approach it with the attitude of what you’d say if the reader remembers only one thing about you.  This sentence is something you can use in other areas, such as one of your social media profiles, so it’s worth the time to get it right. This is the key sentence in my current bio: “With humor and insight, Jesaka makes even the most mundane ‘eat-your-vegetables’ messages seem savory, sweet and tangy.”

What about you? Do you have suggestions for writing bios? What’s your experience been in writing about yourself in order to market your work? Please share in the comments below.

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9 thoughts on “6 Tips for Writing a Killer Bio and About Me Page

  1. As usual, this is excellent advice, Jesaka! Like you, I can write “about” pages for clients with great ease, but struggle when it comes to doing the same thing for myself. Leave it to you to arm me with great info for tackling the problem. Thanks!

  2. Hi Jeska,

    We often hear advice today about self-marketing, and I’m always skeptical of the concept. Some of what you say in your post has moved me to a broader reflection on that whole subject. I suppose some of what I say is going to sound quite critical. Please don’t take it personally. It’s much more a criticism of our times and prevalent attitudes than of your particular advice, which is pretty moderate, well-meant, useful, and not especially evil.

    Your point 5, especially the conjoining of “competitive” with “distinctive” put me in mind of the fifties classic of popular sociology by David Riesman “The Lonely Crowd”. Riesman’s thesis was that postwar American character had made a transition from “inner-directed” to “other-directed”. That instead of acting primarily on one’s own internal beliefs or values, the tendency was to look to the responses of others to determine one’s character.

    One description he gave of this trend involved choices of personal style. He made what was, at that time, an unexpected comparison. He discussed distinctive elements of personal style using the economic term “marginal differentation” aka “product differentation”. He was comparing personal style to the marketing of a product! And, be assured, in the context of that time and place he was NOT speaking approvingly!

    So where have we come 50 some years later? We have people actually advocating the marketing of self! We have the phrase “You Inc”, and it is not intended ironically. People advocate this openly as a potitive piece of advice! Well, I have to admit that for me “old school” is not an insult. It is simply who I am. And the thought of selling my soul the way Proctor and Gamble sells soap kind of sticks in my craw. I’m a person – not a collection of marketing strategies. And I’m not going to go out of my way to tell a potential employer what they want to hear about me, unless it happens to be true anyway.

    Again, Jeska, please understand all this isn’t aimed primarily at you. None of your advice is at all offensive, and overall it’s really good. But your phrasing reminded me of Riesman’s book, which I hadn’t thought of for a long time, and I took the opportunity to visit the whole subject.

    Thanls for listening,
    -Steve

  3. @2inspired ~ I like your approach for telling yourself that you’re writing a client. That’s a great reminder! One reason I wrote this post was to try to get myself to get out of my way!

    @S.C. Green ~ You’re definitely not alone in your struggle. I’m so glad you found the tips helpful. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Thank you for the great tips. And here I thought I was the only one that struggled with a personal bio. There is still hope.

  5. I don’t have any profound secrets to share because I have a difficult time with this as well. What kind of helps me is to imagine that I’m writing this for a client. For some reason, having a little distance from the project helps me to get more creative and I end up doing a better job by writing it from an outsider’s perspective.

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