I used to hate About Me pages. Everything I tried felt either forced, or boring, or too long winded, or too short, too fluffy, too all sorts of things. It seems so hard to write about yourself. And no wonder - I mean, all your awesomeness can hardly be summed up in a few mere words, right?
And it IS hard. You know everything about yourself and what you do - and so distilling that down into something coherent and relevant can be a massive, painful task. What I’ve learned from novel writing, is that it actually feels much easier to write the full story that it is to write the 100 word blurb for the back cover!!
But I also learned that summing up someone else’s story is easier than summing up your own. You’d probably find it easier to write the about page for someone else, someone you don’t know as well as you know yourself.
And that is a really good tip - you need to approach your About Page as if you are writing about someone else, and not yourself. Because, in a way, that’s exactly what you are doing.
You are writing about ‘You’ the brand. ‘You’ the face of your business. ‘You’ the persona, not just the everyday, all-encompassing you.
This doesn’t mean it’s impersonal or in authentic, not at all. You still definitely infuse it with your personality. And depending on what your business and brand actually is, you may still write in a very casual, ‘you’ kind of way.
But the most important thing to remember is that the About Page is not really about you.
It’s about your customer.
It’s really another kind of sales page.
And if you were writing a sales page about a product or service you’re offering, you wouldn’t spend the whole time talking about what the service means to you, you’d focus on what’s in it for the person you’ve made it for.
What’s in it for them?
You need to consider this question even when you are writing about yourself in the About Me page.
If you were writing the page about someone else, someone for whom you were their ideal client or customer, you would find this easier, because you are already coming from an outside perspective.
You would already have a more distilled idea of what to include, because you would know what it is about that person that interests and attracts you, and what about them and what they do that is relevant to you.
So you would much more automatically leave out all the stuff that may very well be great about them as a person - may even be very interesting about them to other people - but is irrelevant to the specific purpose of this business.
So you need to do the same for yourself. Think about it as if you are coming from the client, reader or customer’s point of view. You need to be clear on:
- WHO your ideal client is.
- How what you do serves and solves problems for them.
- Your Why.
- What the persona or personality of your brand is.
(Your brand is WAY MORE than your logo and the colour scheme of your website, by the way. Those things should reflect and communicate your brand, but your actual brand is something else.
If you aren’t crystal clear on any of these things, writing your About Me page - or any of your website and sales copy - will be a lot harder and less effective. If you need help on this, I’m developing resources for exactly this as we speak, so stay tuned.)
You can look at other About Pages that you love for inspiration, but if you try to copy exactly what they are doing, it will likely come across as inauthentic. It is best to be you and imperfect, than totally polished and flashy, but not the right fit.
Think about what it is about you that they - your ideal customer - would want to know.
And then you communicate this in your brand voice.
Which may be very similar to or exactly the same as your voice - as in the style and tone and language you use - how casual or formal, how bright or serious, how poetic or straight to the point. How do you present yourself in the rest of your business? In in-person interactions, on social media, in your blog posts etc. You can be the same in your About Page.
This will depend on your business and your brand personality, if it’s a personal brand or a company brand. But it’s almost always better to write conversationally, and cut out the jargon. Make sure it's language your AUDIENCE connects with.
(Unless you know for sure your targeted audience are jargon kind of people. But even then, be sparing. You’re aiming to connect first, educate later.)
Basically it's those four dot points above. Basically the old Who, What, Why & How.
And it's great practice to try distilling your message down to just a few sentences, to help you get focused.
But that will be pretty bland if you write the whole page so formulaically. So we want to infuse it with more than that.
Brainstorm first, distill later.
It will take a few drafts. And, in fact, you may find you tweak it many, many times as you and your business evolves. That’s all fine, great even. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, or you’ll never do it.
The About page is important, but it isn’t everything. As long as it’s not completely awful, it’s likely not the first or last thing potential customers are looking at, so it doesn’t need to be everything.
Unless you are already good at writing to the point, and very clear on your message, it can be a good idea to just write out everything first - as long as it comes out.
Then cut that down. By at least half. Probably more. It’s like packing for a holiday - take what you think you need and get rid of most of it. It’s probably still too much.
Take the long form story and go through with a highlighter. Highlight keywords, the common thread. Pick out a streamlined story of you and your business that is most relevant to your reader/customer.
Then rewrite focused on that.
What to include:
- What are your core values? What makes you stand out? What makes you different is really important and one of your or your businesses biggest assets. Weave this into your story.
- Your WHY. Why do you do this work? How did you find it, or did it find you? Why is this what you have chosen to do over everything else.
If your business suits it, use a storytelling approach here. Don’t go into your full life history, but you can be personal - just pick out a few key events that illustrate the path that brought you to this work that you love.
The aim is to show a clear thread that highlights why you are the perfect person for these offerings and services. Remembering that it’s about them, not you. Not for you to get things off your chest - do all that in your own journalling. This is directly chosen to highlight why you are so passionate and so good at what you do.
- Personal details - the things that are a little more ‘irrelevant’ to your business on the surface, like what kind of tea you like, and that you own a poodle.
But in reality, you should be consciously selecting the bits of information you give out, to support your brand story and persona. Don't make it all this, and it's not a dating profile, but you are trying to 'woo' your ideal clients. Be authentic, but consciously choose fun, quirky but relevant details about you.
Is it relevant to your business to come across as more fun and adventurous, or serious and conscientious?
This will influence whether you highlight, for example, your spontaneity in life decisions, or your practical, nerdy side.
- Relevant qualifications - if these are important to your credibility in your business, and your ideal customers are people who will find this important.
- Professional bio - your experience and past publications etc. - again, if this is relevant and important to your credibility in what you do.
Ways to write it:
- Use First Person - sometimes it may be appropriate to use the third person approach, as in “John Smith is a leader in his field. He etc etc.”
But that can be impersonal and a lot harder to connect with. Don’t use it just because you think it sounds professional.
If it’s a team page, with multiple people, third person can be appropriate - because you have multiple voices, and the business is likely more about the brand as a whole than any one person. But if it’s just you, first person is nearly always better.
Make it clear there is a real human being writing this and wanting to connect with the reader.
It’s not unprofessional to be conversational, use humour, show personality - just be sure it fits your brand.
- Story Telling - people connect with stories. And even if your business was a big corporation, the story is still what individuals will relate to and where they’ll develop those strong positive feelings towards the business.
(And those strong positive feelings are your brand, the brand you want.)
So don’t write it like a fact sheet. Weave it into a story. The story of your ‘why.’
(Where you can get more ‘fact sheet’ like is listing professional bio details like experience, publications etc. I’d tend to put this last or in it’s own section on the page. You could highlight them in a box or side section.)
- Use Images - use photos to help tell your story. Brand photos, or even a few personal photos, if that is relevant.
And people at the very least want a face to connect with.
- Video - if you’re good on camera, better at speaking than writing, your business is related to video media, or you have a more action-oriented or visual kind of business that is better to be seen than written about - then having an About Me video could be a good way to go.
(E.g. Personal Trainer, Ceramics Artist, Landscape Gardener, YouTube channel host.)
It is a fast way to communicate the relevant information and also your brand style & personality in a way that people will connect with.
You could also include a little bit of ‘portfolio’ stuff in clips - clips of you at work, or your studio, and other story telling devices - if you produce video as part of your business or are good at putting this together. (Or you pay someone else to do it.)
For design and efficacy, you also want to think about how you are laying this out.
An About page should communicate things in a glance as much as possible.
Include more detail for those that want it, but make it easier for skimmers - and that really is most people - to get the most relevant information immediately, so they can quickly connect. Some people will read it all, most won’t.
- Use lots of white space. Don’t write long paragraphs with chunks of text.
- Use sub headings or dot points if relevant to break down lists. (But if you need more than a couple of subheadings, you've got too much info.)
- Use images effectively.
- Start with why your customer came to your website in the first place. Make it clear this is about them immediately.
Put the most relevant information at the start, and the extra details at the end for the people who do read it all.
- Keep it short. Almost always, shorter is better. You don’t need to tell people everything here.
The rest of your website, business, offerings and branding all work together to communicate the whole picture - your About Page is just one part of that.
So keep it to the point.
- Include a few testimonials if you have them - these ones can be focused on what people have said about your more than a particular product or service.
- Provide a logical next step - some sort of call to action or a clear and relevant place to go next. This is what a lot of About Pages miss.
Whether that is an opt-in offer, an invitation to book a intro session with you, a suggestion of one or two blog posts to start with, a Facebook page or group to join etc. - give them something useful and clear to do while they are there (hopefully) feeling connected with you and your business.
You can include more than one, but don’t throw everything at them. Don’t make them think. Don’t overwhelm them with choice. So just one or two is best.
Make it obvious what to do next. And make it something that invites them into your audience - so you have some way of keeping in touch and letting them see more of you.
- Don’t lie.
This should go without saying, but I’m not just talking about saying you have qualifications or experience you don’t actually have.
It also means not pretending to be someone you are not. Don’t use language that is really not you, don’t pretend to love coffee just because you think all entrepreneurs or writers are meant to live on coffee etc.
You only do this if you are insecure about the real you being enough. Which means you might not have done enough work on really being clear on you WHY for your own business, and you WHO - your ideal, soulmate, dream customers and clients - and HOW you serve them and offer solutions to their struggles and needs.
You may also need to do more work on really being clear on your own strengths and quirks, and being confident that these are some of the exact things that make your business successful and a stand-out compared to others.
So if you find yourself trying to embellish, go back to the facts, not hype. And go back to some of the basics about the foundation of your business and brand first.
And don’t be afraid to get feedback - from people are your ideal clients or customers, not just your mum or best friend. And don't be afraid to tweak it (or completely rewrite it) as you go.
And at the end of the day, just be you, be real, and speak from the heart. That's why you got into business in the first place, right?
What do you struggle with most in writing your About Page?