So, you sat down to write your online bio, pumped to finally reveal to the world your professional self and achievements, and nothing happens. All of the words and phrases you had been stockpiling for months in your head suddenly disappear.
Instead, you waste four precious hours, staring at a blank Word Doc before surrendering to the fact that crafting a bio perhaps, is not worth your time.
Finding an authentic way to describe your professional background and showcasing yourself as a credible, accomplished, and likable expert in the industry takes a lot of work. You decide your current profile is good enough. It works for you. Simple.
Does this situation sound familiar to you? I bet it does! Writing a bio is an awkward process that anyone running a business or launching a website has to muscle through. And, it is hardly free from self-sabotaging beliefs such as:
- “There’s a right way to write a bio, and I’m doing it wrong.”
- “I want my profile to appeal to everyone.”
- “My bio is never going to be as good as others.”
However, what most people often forget is that a bio isn’t just about listing professional achievements. It is a conversation starter, a way of making a digital introduction. Also, your bio, no matter how articulate and insightful, doesn’t need to appeal to everyone.
Irrespective of whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or a guest post author bio, it should make people care about you. Period.
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How to Write A Professional Bio: 4 Simple Steps
A professional bio is a great networking and branding tool for grabbing people’s attention. After having helped multiple entrepreneurs with their profiles, I realized that writing a bio comprises these four simple steps:
Step 1: Choose The Tone Of Your Bio Depending On The Platform
Context plays a vital role in whether your bio should be written in the first or third person. For most professional websites, writing in the third person might make sense. It also feels a bit self-congratulatory. However, the first person makes it a more personal experience.
Venture Capitalist Mark Gallion has different versions of his bio all over the internet. Of course, some are more formal than others. However, when it comes to Twitter, he prefers phrasing his information in a way that helps him engage with his audience on a human level.
In under 160 characters, he not only shares the details about his professional life but also highlights his love for baseball. Therefore, communicate who you are in a tone that’s most suitable for your audience.
Gallion leverages his Twitter bio to connect with like-minded potential investors and followers. Therefore, you are free to make your bio funny, personal, formal, conversational, and the like, depending on the platform you’re writing it for.
Pro tip: Start by writing your bio for one platform, and then customize it for everywhere else you put it up at. Have a look at a few creative examples on every platform for inspiration.
Step 2: Begin With Your Name, Job Title, And Responsibilities
Currently engaged with a brand or not – your bio should articulately list a generic job title and responsibilities. Ask yourself: “What am I known for?” “What do I do for a living?” “How much experience do I have?”
For example, the majority of my guest post author bios begin with “I am a B2B copywriter and marketing consultant,” or “Asavari Sharma is a marketer and writer.” No matter who I work for, I will always stick to the writing and marketing space. That’s how I want people to know me.
But don’t wait until the end of the bio for the big reveal. What you do should be explicitly stated in the first or second sentence. That’s the best way to hook your readers. Also, list down your skills and achievements that will forever remain fresh.
Consider taking help from your personal brand statement.
Pro tip: The words you use in your bio influence others’ perceptions about you. Therefore, you may want to steer clear of using ‘freelancer’ or ‘part-time’ and similar words with casual connotations. You don’t want potential clients to view you as a low-level social media worker when you are, in reality, a CMO-for-hire focused on social media and branding strategy.
Step 3: Brag (In Moderation)
What’s the point of writing a personal bio if you can’t brag a little? Establishing credibility is vital to stand out from others in the industry. Depending upon the length of the bio, list a few professional achievements to earn the trust of the audience.
Google now focuses on recommending websites that display a high level of Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). Therefore, in the case of guest posts, you should list your experience and how it qualifies you to write on the subjects.
Ultimately, remember to focus on how your impressive feats can add value to the readers. Instead of blabbering paragraphs about how cool you are, think from the reader’s perspective and ask yourself, “what’s in it for them?”
For example, Ian Morris is a technology writer who has written for popular brands such as CNET and The Mirror. His Forbes bio, as shown below, highlights his decade-long experience in tech as a content producer, his past and present employer details, and the work he has done so far.
In his bio, he establishes his credibility and proves he is qualified to not only write on technology but also host TV shows and podcasts in the domain. He is honest about himself. Readers and potential clients love that sort of thing.
Pro tip: Remember that a bio is not a resume. Do not merely list your accomplishments in your bio. Instead, describe them. Remember that your audience may not have any idea about what your accomplishments are unless you explain them correctly.
Step 4: Add A Dash Of Personality
Using humor to show off your personality and to make yourself more relatable to audiences can be quite effective. So, don’t hesitate to share information like your interests outside of work, side hustles, your hometown, the music or cuisine you like, and anything that shows people who you are.
Comedian Aparna Nancherla’s Twitter was named one of The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2014 by TIME magazine. Her Twitter handle (@aparnapkin) is a play on her name, and that is silly enough. She makes people laugh for a living. Don’t you think her Twitter bio is proof of that?
Pro Tip: Humor always leaves a lasting impression, so use it to your advantage! However, make sure it fits in your industry culture. If you are a serious political writer, a funny bio is not going to bode well with your audience. Please be cautious.
Bonus: End With A Persuasive Call To Action
Most platforms will allow links to external websites. So once you have engaged a reader, request them. Like any other content piece, your bio should have a conversion goal. It’s up to you to decide exactly what you want your audience to do after reading your post.
A few common examples of CTAs to include in the author bio:
1. Getting people to visit your website
2. Signing up for your email list
By the looks of her bio, it is clear that Sonia is a writer, and she runs a fabulous newsletter that she wants everyone to sign up for.
3. Follow you on social media,
If you are struggling to find the perfect way to end your author bio, add a line like “connect with me on Twitter” or “let’s socialize on Instagram.”
4. Buy your books,
Content marketer Peter Sandeen offers a free download in one of his guest post author bios. A smart way to pitch a lead magnet!
5. Your contact information.
If you represent a company, you can share its email ID or phone number in the bio to drive inbound sales.
4 Quick Tips To Remember For Writing A Badass Bio
So, now that you know what to include in your author bio, here are some quick things you should and shouldn’t do, no matter where your bio is going to get posted:
1. Keep It Concise
Even when you’re writing for your website, keep it concise. Come on. Human beings have an attention span of eight seconds. A bio between 200 and 250 words is just about enough to give your audience a taste of your professional life. Don’t bore your audience.
2. Show, Don’t Tell
This is one of the most important things you can do to make your bio stand out. Liz Murphy is IMPACT’s content strategist, and in my opinion, she is also an exceptional personal bio writer. I love how she combined her responsibilities at IMPACT with her professional skills. Her bio is like reading a story about someone. Weave a story about yourself!
3. Keep It Updated
As a professional, you are going to grow, learn new techniques, work with different brands. It’s inevitable. Naturally, over some time, your bio will become stale. Therefore, wherever your bio is up, make sure you review it every six months to keep it fresh.
4. Accompany Your Bio With A Professional Picture
Visuals convey information about a person’s brand. If you are friendly and approachable, then upload a high-resolution smiling photo beside the text of your bio. If you don’t have one, get a picture clicked. If you value your brand, value your bio photo.
7 Memorable Professional Bio Examples You Can Take Inspiration From
1. Dan Sally
Write a bio that is sync with what you do professionally. Dan Sally is a comedian, and he uses self-deprecating humor to talk about himself, his work, and his family. Tell me if you can get through the bio without a chuckle. I bet you can’t! It’s that funny.
2. John Espirian
A significant trait about John Espirian that stands out in the bio is that he is “relentlessly helpful.” He loves LinkedIn and is the author of a book called Content DNA. His bio gives an overview of what he does in general and what currently keeps him busy (he gives a link to pre-order the book in the bio).
3. Wait But Why
Popularly known as the “stick-figure-illustrated blog about almost everything,” Wait But Why is hilarious. Its Meet The Team page even more so. The author bios of the team members don’t follow any conventional rules of bio writing, but they stick to what WBW stands for, i.e., humor and satire.
4. Brad Colbow
If you want to sound like an industry expert yet come across as being approachable, then Brad Colbow’s Udemy bio is ideal. It includes his job title, what he does for a living, and everything else in between. Since he is a trainer on Udemy, he also shares his thoughts about learning. His bio will make anyone pick up a pencil and start learning.
5. Old Spice
Old Spice is a brand for men, and their Instagram bio reaffirms that fact. They also post a lot of gifs/videos on the platform, hence the mention in the bio. Want a snazzy bio for yourself or your business? Go the ‘Old Spice’ way.
6. Aaron Orendorff
Aaron Orendorff is a contributor not just at Inc.com but also at other popular publications as well. He also states he dons different hats by day and night, giving a mention about marketing company iconiContent. Oh, and he gives a link to download his checklist in the bio. Smart, right?
7. Mridu Khullar Relph
Platform: The International Freelancer
Personally, I am a big fan of Mridu. She is an award-winning journalist, and has worked with many popular publications. Her bio lays emphasis on the platforms on which her work has been published, which is impressive in itself.
Ready To Write Your Bio?
I am sure you are! Please remember that the best way to create a meaningful and authentic author bio is to write it with lots of care and caution. Do multiple rewrites if need be. The whole idea is to make people care about you, be curious about you. Therefore, make it worth it.
Now, go on, buckle down, and knock it out. Do you have any tips you’d like to share on writing a brief bio? Drop a comment below!