There are so many ways to market your business. Experience has taught me that one of these vehicles is through the professional biography.
Your professional biography, or bio, for short, is one method that your potential clients, business associates, and colleagues learn about who you are and what you offer. They are an effective way to market and otherwise promote your business. In some contexts, these brief biographical statements might be included with a letter of introduction or a brochure. In other contexts, such as website About Pages, they may be more lengthy. While bios are not the same as professional resumes or vitaes, which provide your educational and work history as well as skill highlights, they serve a similar purpose, and you can draw from them to create your bio.
A bio functions as a synopsis of your personal and professional life, and its tone, style, and length will depend on the context. The tone and style will tend to vary and depend on multiple factors that include the industry within which you work. Some might be conversational and written in simple language while others might be more formal and written in more sophisticated language. It’s important to consider which will express your values and maintain your authenticity.
As to length, biographical statements can range from 50 to 500 words—and beyond. As a result, it’s important to ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Whom do you want to reach? What do you believe your real or imagined audience wants (or needs) to know about you? What do you want them to know?
Professional bios are, first and foremost, a marketing tool. Not only do they inform your current and prospective clients who you are, what you’ve accomplished, what services you’re currently offering, and so forth, they can also show your personality, values, and other unique qualities. When combined with a professional photograph, your potential clients have more information and are then able to begin to develop a perception of you.
For some people, creating marketing materials, especially when it entails writing about themselves, can create resistance. Could it be that they don’t know where to begin? That they have pages and pages about themselves, their business services, and accolades, and aren’t sure what to save, what to revise, or what to delete? Could it be that they don’t feel confident? Or perhaps, as is often the case, they’re so busy seeing clients that this vital component in their marketing toolbox has been set to the side?
Here are a few creative solutions:
- Invent a writing persona. Imagine someone for whom writing (and composing bios) is second nature. Now step into and model them.
- Write about yourself in the third-person, which tends to be the professional standard.
- Compose several bios in different styles. Save them all in an easily accessible file on your desktop. When you have a few minutes, reread and think about them. Edit and revise accordingly.
- Read other people’s biographical statements. Choose several that inspire you to contact those individuals. What, specifically, is it about their bios that sparks your curiosity? That resonates with you?
- Have fun! Imagine that it’s 3-5 years in the future and your business has expanded exponentially. Now write your bio from the future perspective.
- Hire a copywriter. They will interview you and then compose the bio for you. After that, you can fine-tune together until it resonates for you.
The next time you need to compose a professional biographical statement or update your existing one, remember why you’re doing this—to turn potential into actual and ongoing clients.