We’ve all been there, agonizing over how to write about ourselves in a way that doesn’t irritate the reader with too many bragging rights or bore her with modesty. It can be tricky to write a biography that is professional, personable, accurate, search engine friendly and engaging! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. If you take a little bit of time up front to plan, you can come up with something that tells your story and acts as the cornerstone of your personal brand. More often than not, your bio is the first thing that someone will see before meeting you – so make it count!
Below are our top tips on how to write your professional bio in a way that represents you well and is search engine friendly:
1. Write different bios for different sites. As you start to build your personal brand, remember that you are going to be writing different versions of your biography that will vary in both content and length depending on where it will be posted. So don’t feel like you have to fit everything about your entire life story into one bio. It’s important to have multiple versions for two main reasons:
From an SEO perspective, unique content helps a profile or website rank better in search results. Search engines like Google, want to provide users with a range of information. Your websites and profiles have a better chance of ranking well if the bios are unique than if you “copy and paste” the same bio across all of your properties. While some of the core information will naturally stay the same, make a point to vary how each bio is written and add unique details to them.
From a branding perspective, it’s likely that you will also want to have multiple versions of your biography available depending on where it’s posted. Consider the tone in your writing depending on the audience – which will vary depending on the platform. And keep in mind that different platforms have different allowances in terms of the length.
2. Introduce yourself… like a real person. Always start with your name. People need to know who you are before they learn what you do. Remember that your most important details should go in the very first sentence.
3. Watch your word count. Determining the length of your bio may seem like an afterthought – something that just happens once you stop typing. However, it is something that you need to think about before you start writing – and your ideal word count may shift depending on your primary focus.
From an SEO perspective, the more words you use, the better. If you are filling in the bio section of a profile, find out the word or character limit – that’s how long your bio should be. If you are writing the bio on your personal website, the longer the better. Plan to write 500 words – minimum. If you have 1,500 to 2,000 words in you, that’s even better. As we have mentioned before, search engines value lengthier content (when it is also well-written and original), so get to it!
From a branding perspective, you may have a different take on the length of your bio. Perhaps you would prefer to keep things short and sweet or don’t feel the immediate need for a 1,500 word count. If so that’s fine. Start small. Consider organizing your bio into sections that you can add to later that will bring up your word count over time. Even from a branding perspective, word count is still important because you want to make sure that you are sharing as much relevant information with the reader as possible. You don’t want to short change the audience. So take your time and craft something that makes you proud.
4. Write in the third person. While it may feel a bit strange to talk about yourself in the third person initially, there are some very clear benefits from doing so:
From an SEO perspective, writing in the third person allows you to include your full name throughout, which helps search engines realize that this lengthy well-written piece of content is about you. Don’t overuse your name in your writing or include it in a way that seems unnatural, but use it where it is appropriate.
From a branding perspective, speaking in the third person suggests that someone else is speaking about you, and since it’s likely that others will use this as a resource to describe you, speaking in the third person makes it easier for others to talk about you or use bits of your bio as is.
5. Edit ruthlessly and update constantly. Your online bio is the authoritative source on you. That means that it needs to reflect you in the best light possible. This also means that it should be kept as up to date as possible. From an SEO perspective, a lengthy, well-written and regularly updated piece of content is like search engine gold. So when you finish your initial version of the longer bio that you will use on your website, be aware that the process isn’t over. As you gain more experience or perhaps shift your professional focus, make sure that you include these changes in your bios. And keep asking other people that you trust to take a look at your main bios to edit them.
6. Write a story, not a list. When writing a bio, it can be easy to fall into the trap of rattling off accomplishments, but that’s what your resume is for. Your biography should go above and beyond your awards and get to the core of who you are and what you are about. Now, that may seem like a tall order, but with a bit of planning you can pull it off. Ask yourself questions like, “Who is your audience?”, or, “What are the main takeaways for your reader?”, and “What events in your career or life best illustrate those main points?”. Turn your biography into a story that will engage with the reader.
7. Link to your work. Regardless of your profession, it’s likely that you have samples of your work that are pertinent to the audience reading about you. In addition to being an introduction to who you are and what you do, let your bio act as a marketing tool. You can do this by including links to your product, company or service.
8. Don’t forget to share your contact information. Even if you have a contact page on your site, or perhaps widgets on your website that link to your social media sites, make a point to include the most direct mode of connection at the end of your bio. This could be your email address, a link to your contact page, or a link to your LinkedIn account – it just depends on how you prefer that people get in touch with you.
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