Can you be found in your website? No, really, can your site visitors find you?
I’m sure they can find out about your services, you upcoming events, and how to contact you. And you likely have a bio of who you are and what you’ve done. But do these things express who you are – you know, as a living, breathing person?
It might seem odd to ask these questions. Of course you’re a living, breathing person. How else would you have your business if you weren’t alive. What a ridiculous question.
If you have a service-based business, asking these questions is not ridiculous at all. Actually the answers are very important.
The other day I was working with a client on a website. She had written some great copy. As I looked over her homepage, her services pages, and her pages describing her services and how they could help someone, they were really good. Her writing was clear and easy to understand.
My client had done a great job writing engaging, alive and caring copy. As the audience, I could see myself clearly in what she wrote. It wasn’t hard to figure out, right from the homepage, whether or not she could help me. I felt heard and seen in how she wrote. It made me want to find out more – more about her services, and more about her.
Just as I do with many of the clients I work with, I read her bio page almost last. I like to get a tone for how someone is writing to their audience and about their services before I read how they speak about themselves. Many times the style of writing changes when I get to the bio page.
My client, like most others, was no different. She wrote in the all-too-familiar style of reporting about herself in the third person. Gone was the feeling of personal relationship and aliveness I had felt with her other pages. And while her bio was technically well written, I felt like I couldn’t find her in it.
The “About Us” page is sometimes the most difficult to write. Most of us believe that we can’t actually write our own bios – even though most of us do. We think that our bio must seem like someone else wrote it because we certainly shouldn’t be tooting our own horn. This leads, most often, to dry, impersonal copy that misses who we are – as people.
My client had the same idea. Even though her compassion, caring and abilities were present in all her other copy, she didn’t write her bio that way. When we talked about her copy, she told me she never really considered writing her bio any other way. “Everyone writes in this ‘professional,’ report-like style.”, she said. And she’s right.
Few of us know we can write about ourselves in a warm, honest, conversational style. Yet the best bios are often the ones written as though you are telling your own story, complete with your ups and downs.
A good bio shows that you’re human – that you’ve made mistakes and learned lessons. It meets the audience where they are in language they can understand. Ultimately, your audience should identify with you in your bio. They should see themselves in some part of it.
Once my client understood this, she rewrote her bio with the same personal touch she had added to all her other copy. She also felt better about it. She really liked thinking about her bio page as her narrating her own story.
So as you write – or rewrite – your bio page, keep one thing in mind… your audience will become your clients when they feel they identify with you and can trust you. They’re hiring a person, regardless of your service, who they’ll be in relationship with. Hence, a bio describing you as a person, just like them, can go a long way to building that trust.