Make a Lasting Impression with Your Professional Bio
By Joanne Troppello
A professional bio is your online calling card that will entice readers to check out your website, blog, or social media profiles. If you are a blogger, writer, or author and make guest appearances at various blogs or online magazines, you’ll need an impressive bio that will intrigue readers. You want readers to read your column or guest post and not skip over your bio once they’ve finished reading. A professional bio is an often-overlooked component of a writer’s marketing arsenal. Your bio becomes the first impression that will give the reader a taste for more of your work, cause them to quickly forget who you are, or annoy them with too much or too little information. Consider these tips on how to make a lasting impression with your professional bio in your next online guest appearance.
1. Focus on the Objective
Your main objective is to make yourself appear interesting enough that the reader wants to know more about you and check out your online presence. If you can get readers of your guest post or regular column to visit your website, you’ve achieved your first goal. Enticing them to stay on your site, check out your blog, and respond to lead generation techniques is information I’ll share in another column. For now, we’re focusing on creating the best bio to pique the interest of new readers so that your readership base will expand, and you can gain new fans of your blog, website, books, and possibly find new clients if you’re a freelance copywriter. You need to find that human interest element that will connect your life to the lives of the readers.
2. Write in the Third Person
A professional bio is generally self-serving since it details your writing experience, talents, and journey as a writer or author. However, touting your talents in the first person can seem a bit boastful. Readers will relate better to a bio that is written in the third person perspective such as “Susan is an accomplished freelance copywriter…” rather than “I am a freelance copywriter.” When you write your bio in this narrative mode, you are showcasing your talents and experience in an objective light. That way, it will appear more impartial rather than egotistical.
3. Choose the Right Length and Format
You should create three different bios to fit the lengths of mini, short, and long. There will be different circumstances where you may need each of these types of bios, so it’s best to prepare beforehand. You can utilize a 1-2 sentence mini bio as a short “elevator pitch” when networking, attending seminars, or for use on social media accounts like Twitter that require shorter bio word lengths. People do read bios on Twitter and social media pages, so make sure what you write leaves a positive lasting impression.
The short bio should consist of 1-3 paragraphs and have approximately 50-100 words. Cover the basics like who you are, what you do professionally, and your work experience. A longer bio may be used on social media outlets such as your LinkedIn Profile. This type of bio may be used on the back of your next book cover or for a media kit for promoting your published works. Keep this more detailed bio between 150-350 words. The point is to quickly give the readers a sense of who you are and why they should want to get to know you better as a writer or author.
4. Show Your Unique Personality
Remember that you are competing with a vast number of writers and authors online to make your presence known to readers. In 2016, there were 44,690 employed writers in the US. Notice the word “employed” versus online bloggers and everyone who has a social media account and is trying to get noticed online for their writing contributions. That number you’re competing against would then likely triple or quadruple. So, don’t be afraid to show off your unique personality and qualities as you write these bios. Even if you think your life is dull and there is nothing striking about you that would matter to a reader—you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and make that lasting first impression. Always be truthful and don’t embellish the truth but share something that makes you uniquely you.
5. Details are Important
Make sure you start the bio with your name as if you were introducing yourself in person to the reader. Pick and choose the details you’d like to share since you can’t write a book as your bio! You can always edit your bio once or twice a year to add new accomplishments and switch out details to spice it up. This is especially good if you’re writing a monthly column for an online magazine or have your bio posted on your blog or website. You can add new details throughout the year to keep your returning visitors interested in learning more about you. Don’t forget to include the best way for readers to contact you online through email, your website, blog, or social media sites. When posting the bio online, make sure the links are hyperlinked with the name of the link such as “website” etc. so that it looks cleaner rather than listing a longer website link. It will look more professional.
6. Take the Time to Proofread
You definitely do not want your readers to find any spelling mistakes or grammar errors in your bio. That will not leave a positive lasting impression in their minds. Any mistakes in your bio can make you lose credibility as a professional writer and hinder your chances of networking and advancing your writing career. Spellcheck is not the final answer. Carefully read through your bio content and ask a friend or colleague to read it over before posting or submitting it with your next guest post or column. You may even get some helpful insight from this person who reminds you of some other unique quality or talent that you forgot to include.
Your bio is a vital networking and self-marketing tool that you should write with consideration and attention to detail. If you follow these tips, you can increase your chances of making that positive and lasting impression on readers and expanding your readership base.
Have you written a mini, short, and long bio that can make a positive lasting impression on your readers?