Newt Barrett on Content Marketing Today recently reported what I have long suspected: visitors to company websites spend a lot of time reading the people or team member pages, you know the ones that describe "who we are"? It's common knowledge that one of the most clicked on blog pages is the About page, where authors showcase themselves.
But how much thought and time goes into writing bio pages? In my opinion, not enough. In fact (horrors!), I've seen company websites that don't even bother putting up a people page. No way to get to know the people running the show.
News Flash: People do business with people! Personality counts!
There's a reason new tools for social networking and online interacting are working like gang-busters. We're social animals and enjoy getting to know people, especially before hiring or buying something from a company.
So it's worth it to make your people pages the best you can.
How should you write your About page or your website Team/ People page? I see many professionals use their resumes. ("Dr. Smith has 20 years experience in strategic planning and holds an MBA from Harvard, etc.") But really, this is pretty boring and very old-school.
Then there are those who, wanting to get with the program and use newly acquired copywriting techniques, go to the other extreme. They tell too much about their achievements and come across like an ego-maniac.
While everyone wants to know about who you are as part of the company or as the author of a blog, mostly they want to know "what's in it for me." Never forget that part.
Last week a client asked me for some guidelines on how to craft the side-bar marketing message for his ezine. Here are my 5 steps for writing a good bio/marketing message for an e-newsletter (new school). The same guidelines apply to people pages and About pages.
When you write your bio, pretend you are talking to someone. Use the pronoun ‘I’ and speak with your readers like you would a favorite client. Use the pronoun ‘you’ often.
1. What problem do you solve?
Start with a question or statement about the challenges and needs of your readers. This will draw them into reading your bio. It is better to lead with "what's in it for them" than to start off talking about you and your accomplishments.
2. Offer Help
Tell them something they may not know. This can be implied.
“Did you know that 9 out of 10 people I speak with have a misperception about X?” … or, “struggle with X needlessly because they often don’t know about Y?”
“There are solutions. Sometimes simple, sometimes complex. It’s important to know you can access help without incurring huge costs.”
3. Who Are You?
Next, tell them who you are and what you can do to help solve their challenges. Let them know what kinds of people you work with, and how long you’ve been helping them.
Don’t try to sound too good. People have antennae for hyperbole. Read your bio out loud to see if it sounds authentic.
4. Got results?
Then tell them about your biggest success, your client results, your education, and perhaps something personal if you'd like.
If you have any stats this is where you would include them.
(“After only 6 months, one client reported greater productivity, less stress, and improved revenues of 20%. While this may depend on many factors, in general, most of my clients report similar satisfaction in xyz….”)
5. Call to Action
Next, give your contact information that you want clients to use to contact you: telephone, email, web site address. You don't need to give your fax.
If you want clients to call you, be specific and tell them to call or email you. People will respond more frequently when you spell it out for them.
Keep the focus on the reader and how you can help them. You need to let them know you're a credible expert with appropriate experience, education and qualifications, but beyond that, it's all about the reader, their problems, and your availability to help them.
The last thing that's needed is to read your content out loud. See if it sounds conversational and sincere or if it sounds like a radio announcer selling used cars. And even if you're selling used cars, you want to sound authentic and real.