If you don’t fancy yourself a natural writer, writing your about page is about as enticing as doing hot yoga after immediately hitting up a grilled-cheese food truck. But, fear not, brand builders—today, I’m serving up some game-changing tips that will make the daunting task of writing about yourself slightly less daunting and so much more approachable. Read on for five things you should absolutely know before you ever start clicking away on those keys.
I can’t stress this one enough—your about page isn’t about you or even your brand (say what?); it’s about the benefit you offer your clients. Filter everything you write through that lens. Ask yourself: Is this solely about me and what I do, or does it connect what I do to back to how that work benefits my clients?
Instead of simply writing, “I’m a creative copywriter with nine years of experience.”, I might say, “With nine years of experience, hundreds of websites, and thousands of blog posts under my belt, I deliver conversion-focused copy that works hard on your behalf—so you can stop stressing what to say and get back to building your brand with confidence.” The second example is so much stronger because it segues my experience seamlessly into how I address my clients’ pain points (they hate stressing about what to write; they want to focus on building their brand instead of worrying about words).
Before you ever begin writing your about page, think through the following questions:
What is my ideal client’s number-one pain point?
How am I best suited to alleviate that pain point?
What is my ideal client looking for in a [wedding pro, graphic designer, photographer, etc.]?
Which aspects of my personality make me best suited to deliver what my client is looking for?
Scrap the laundry-list of irrelevant experience and fancy degrees—and only include what matters in the eyes of your client. If you’re including your degree solely because you think it’s important your audience know you went to college (and not because the degree has anything to do with your current position or serves as a pivotal part of your journey), you probably don’t need to include it.
Letting your ego drive you as you write your about page is human (I like touting my degree as much as the next millennial who’s crippled with student-loan debt)—but just keep circling back to the point of relevance to keep you on track: Is your degree of relevance or interest to your client? Is that job you held five years ago of relevance or interest to your client? Is your obsession with giraffes of relevance or interest to your client? (No hard feelings to giraffes.)
When you’re thinking through what experience to include on your about page, recall instances throughout your life that show your dedication, grit, expertise, insight, etc. Anecdotes that show just how amazing you are at your job are always more impactful than even the most compelling sentence that simply tells someone how amazing you are at your job. A few samples?
Rather than telling people I love persuasive writing, I include an anecdote on my about page about how I used to write notes in elementary school to convince my peers I should get a line pass for four-square (true story) and how I’d write notes to convince my mom I should get out of trouble (also true).
When writing the about page for Dee Berkley Jewelry, she told me a story about how she used to take the spiral bindings out of notebooks, cut them, color them with crayons, and fashion them into rings she sold. That—not her degree, not her previous experience in the industry—became the first sentence of her bio.
When writing the about page for Revel San Juan, the founder told me a story about herding cats during a ceremony—she literally had to hunch down and discreetly herd and shoo away stray cats that were approaching the altar without any guests seeing. I included that point on her about page as a “fun fact”. In one single sentence, that anecdote says everything a potential client needs to know about their destination wedding planner: This woman will do anything for you. She will literally herd cats to make sure your celebration is seamless.
Listen—I love a good fun fact as much as the next creative copywriter, but they’re a bit out of hand these days. I can’t tell you how many times I land on an about page that have 10+ fun facts listed, none of which have a single thing to do with how the founder at-hand serves her clients.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have any personal fun facts on your about page. Especially if you’re in a service-based industry, people want to connect with you and feel like your website gives them a solid idea of who you are as a human being. Personal facts are great for establishing that connection—but try including them in an elevated way. Take a look at the about page I wrote for Katharine Phillips Event & Design. If you scroll down to “The List”, you’ll see we opted for a short, minimalist fun-facts section, which feels really elevated and sophisticated, while still giving her clients an idea of who she is on a personal level.
Something else to keep in mind as you’re writing your about page and thinking through ways you can level-up the basic fun fact is this: Ask yourself if there’s a way you can tie that personal fact back to what it is you do—or why you’re great at your job—even if subtly. Some samples:
If you’re a wedding photographer, people might not care that you like to hike with your dog…but they do care that hikes with your dog are where you learn about playing with lighting and capturing creatures in motion.
If you love a good New York Times Crossword or do hot yoga or CrossFit, those are challenges; this gives you a perfect opportunity to talk about how you love a good challenge in both your career and your personal life:
I.e. “Whether I’m hand-building a gravity-defying floral installation for a client’s wedding or having it out with a New York Times Crossword, I’m fueled by a great challenge.”
Your about page doesn’t have to be—and shouldn’t be—the classic 5-paragraph bio you were taught to write in high-school. Use content blocks to break up your copy and make it easier on the eye.
You can use icon sections or tiling to communicate your company’s top values or beliefs up top, before you dive into your bio later on in the page. You can break your bio up into short sections, each with a clever headline. You can write a short blurb about you as the founder and a short blurb about the business itself (your mission, approach, beliefs, or values). You can even write 3 super short sentences with powerful headings and call it a day. The possibilities are endless, friends. Just make sure the content on your about page is anything but one long, visually daunting paragraph.