Working on a new website has been an existential ordeal, and nowhere more so than writing my “About Me” page. I’ve sat at my laptop unravelling my own personality, juggling my desire for authenticity with what and how much personal information I want to share within my business. I’ve grappled with my authorial voice, knowing that every word is offering my potential botanical illustration clients a reason to book me, or walk away.
Time to call in the pros.
In this blog post, I speak with experts across coaching, branding and copywriting, to help get to the bottom of why it is so hard to write “About Me” and suggest some positive solutions.
Vicky Shilling | business coach to creative and wellness entrepreneurs and editor of award-winning food blog The Flourishing Pantry
Anna Pumer | in-demand wedding photographer and founder of Kick Ass Photographers, a service offering customisable copywriting templates for photographers and creatives
Jen Feroze | founder of copywriting agency Jackdaw Editorial, specialising in the wedding industry
Gina Traboulsi | founder of creative agency Flamingo Rose, offering marketing, copywriting, branding, events and production in the luxury industries
So let’s just get one thing clear from the off… all my guest contributors agree that your About Me page is THE way to distinguish yourself in a global market of online business.
ANNA: “First of all, people invest in people. We like seeing faces, hearing about people’s lives, and are increasingly spending our money on independent businesses over chains. Think about how many competitors you have. Probably quite a few. Think about their product or service – is it similar to yours? And their price – not far off yours, or maybe a little cheaper? What makes the client buy from you? What is setting you apart? Hopefully you have a good website, professional photos and branding that appeals to your ideal client. But so do your competitors. You’ll want to have your voice everywhere on your website, not just on your About Me page – but the About Me page is the best place to start!”
So what is the one thing you can do that they can’t? Be you! Use your personality, the special things that only you can do, your story, to sell your product or service. – Anna Pumer, Anna Pumer Photography / Kick Ass Photographers
Wellness and creative entrepreneur coach Vicky agrees:
VICKY: “A lot of the clients I coach work in professions like Health Coaching and Nutritional Therapy. There are thousands of people out there now with these qualifications, many of them running clinics completely online. With so many people to choose from, how do you stand out and cut through the noise? From my perspective the About Me page is the chance to say why you’re different. Anyone can complete a course or offer services. It’s your story, your journey and your unique approach that is going to convince someone to work with you, over your competitor.”
VICKY: “Yes of course entrepreneurship is about finding what people want and selling it to them. But when you’re in a crowded market, the best thing you can do to stand out is tell your story loud and clear. It’s a ’sales pitch’ that never gets old, that feels easy to repeat and makes your customer feel something.
It’s all about that Maya Angelou quote: “People may not remember exactly what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” If your About Me makes them feel and think “yes, this person gets me”, you’re onto a winner.” – Vicky Shilling, coach to wellness and creative entrepreneurs
I spoke to Gina about the root of the problem. Why can’t we bear to share the subject we should be an authority on – ourselves?
GINA: “I can totally understand the sense of panic that business owners and professionals in their field are confronted with when compelled to write about themselves for a website, social media profile or speaker slot. My own thorny relationship with the topic goes all the way back to compiling that dreaded personal statement on the UCAS application form – cue sleepless nights, tears and begging for an extension. I ended up delaying applying to uni (I should add here that it wasn’t for this reason alone, I made the life-changing decision to live in Italy for a year before deciding what to study), but the point is that when the pressure was off, I was suddenly able to sit down with a clear head and pen something that finally resonated.”
“offering up little snippets of personality is an absolute must in order for an audience to buy into what you’re selling – especially for creatives, whose work is often so intricately woven into their overall being” – Gina Traboulsi, founder of creative agency Flamingo Rose
GINA: “Since setting up FlamingoRose in 2010, I’ve become much more used to writing about who I am and what I can do. Even when it’s under pressure! For me, it always helps to think of myself within the context of our overall brand – we’re a B2B creative agency, so I try to put myself in the shoes of our clients when imagining what they’d like to know. Being a wife and mummy is a huge part of my personal identity, but is it relevant on the ‘about our agency’ page of a more corporate proposal? Probably not. Whilst I always endeavour to write in a way that is engaging, approachable and democratic, I do carve a space between my private and professional personas. Although saying that, offering up little snippets of personality is an absolute must in order for an audience to buy into what you’re selling – especially for creatives, whose work is often so intricately woven into their overall being. My advice would be to lead with the important stuff like skills and achievements, but use light-hearted and easy language, alongside a couple of quirky or lesser known facts. If you’re struggling, then give it some space. Never publish/send copy on the same day as you write it, and if you’re really not feeling it, close the laptop, jet off to Italy/put the kettle on/walk round the block and come back to it later.”
Vicky adds an important and reassuring point:
VICKY: “Also remember, nothing on the internet is written in stone. My About Me changes quite regularly, along with my business! Done is better than perfect. Accept that this is a page that will change and grow with you. It’s not forever. Don’t let it hold you back from getting your website out in the world.”
If it all seems too much, then outsourcing to a professional copywriter will save many hours of anguish. Jen Froze, founder of Jackdaw Editorial has her say:
JEN: “I write for a living, and I love it. My job is to get to know you, your business and the things that light you up, and to tease out exactly the right combinations of words to bring your brand fizzing and crackling into life. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction. That said, when the time came for me to write my own About Me page, I could quite cheerfully have thrown my laptop out of an upstairs window. It is hard, even for the professionals!”
Your ‘About’ page is necessarily the most personal and therefore the most vulnerable piece of your online brand identity. – Jen Feroze, Jackdaw Editorial
JEN: Stripping away the gloss and polish of the services or products you’re offering your clients and getting to the heart of your business (that’s you, in case you were wondering) can be a confronting experience, and it’s often the reason that ‘about’ pages are left until last, and written in a ‘night-before-launch’ panic.” If this sounds like you, it’s time to face those fears! First things first, stop overthinking it. As a business owner, you’ve chosen to hop aboard the entrepreneurial rollercoaster and everything that goes with it – that shows passion, drive, spark and a host of other qualities. It is ok to talk about these. It’s ok to write about what makes you strong, what makes you laugh, what brings you up short. These are your stories, and they’re relevant and powerful.“
JEN: “For your first draft, stop thinking about what you think you should write, and just write. Tell us about the moment that your business idea blossomed into life, tell us about your childhood, tell us about the people that inspire you, the places you dream of exploring, the things that can’t fail to make you smile right the way to your eyes. Then go away from your computer and treat yourself to a fresh cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits, go for a walk, take a break and come back to it wearing your editor’s hat. Now’s the time to sculpt the stories you’ve written in your first draft. Re-structure, revise, cut and re-order it until you’ve got a piece that re-enforces your passion and professionalism, and that pops with real personality.”
Anna has seen so many of her online community battle with writing about themselves, that she’s created a clever About Me Page generator aimed at either photographers (available now) or creative entrepreneurs (coming soon). You buy the package, tweak the multiple choice options and fill in the blanks. You’ll find the links below. But for anyone wanting go it alone, here are her practical tips for writing an About Me page to wow your ideal client.
Things to think about on your About Me page:
- Write in first person
- Tell your story – how and why did you start this business?
- Unless you’re a very serious lawyer, doing very serious things, lose the corporate voice you think you should adopt. Be friendly, light and yourself. Your potential clients will feel like they already know you if you speak in your own voice.
- If you struggle to write in your own voice, tell someone verbally who you are and why you do what you do. Then use that!
- Keep it shortish – lists are good, but also try to include a short intro paragraph.
- Avoid clichés. They don’t tell us anything about you.
- Mention things you love – unrelated to your business. Try not to use the usual things that everyone loves (Netflix and coffee anyone?) but unusual things that will make your ideal client say “oh my god, me too!”
- Solve your potential client’s problem – what do they want? Speak to their needs. If you make handmade soap and your target client is looking for something that supports the environment, talk about your environmental beliefs and how your products support them.
- Back it up with your blog – as well as blogging about your business and industry, write about yourself and your life. Blog your travels, your life – and tie it back to your work somehow.
- Use happy, positive words. Don’t overuse exclamation marks.
- Check for spelling errors.
What to include on your About Me page:
- At least one photo of yourself – showing your face!
- Your name
- Where you’re based
- Things you love
- What you do/sell
- Where you do/sell it
- Why you do it
- Awards you’ve won or features you’ve had
- Who your customer is and what they want
- How they can get in contact
Visit my existing biography – but I can’t wait to share my new About Me page on my new website – launching Fri 17th May 2019
Got feedback or fancy collaborating on a blog post? Drop me a line via my Contact Page
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY CONTRIBUTORS
To help you figure out who you even are in the first place…
HIGH STREET: Anna Pumer is an in-demand wedding photographer and founder of Kick Ass Photographers, selling off-the-shelf About Me and Blog template services to photographers and creative business owners. Buy Anna’s templates here.
HIGH END: Jen Feroze of Jackdaw Editorial offers a Copywriting Clinic and bespoke writing services, specialising in the wedding industry
HAUTE COUTURE: Gina Traboulsi founder of creative agency Flamingo Rose offers 360 degree creative services inclusing marketing, copywriting, branding, events and production across the luxury market