No matter how comfortable you are with writing for your business and communicating with your audience, writing about yourself can still be tough. Even experienced writers pause when the writing is that personal.
The problem is a little deeper than just struggling to find the right words or knowing what direction to take, though. A fine line lies between discussing your achievements and bragging, so many people feel like they look conceited when they mention their education or awards or years of experience in a certain field. Though we should be proud of our achievements and how we can benefit others with our knowledge, we may feel like we are boasting and, consequently, feel like we will be judged.
Women especially feel like they should take on the job of the self-less nurturer, and sometimes, we feel strange accepting our strengths as something that can benefit others, something worthy of discussion. It can leave us confused or embarrassed, and often leads to sparse character sketches when we most need to reveal our true selves.
MASTER WRITING ABOUT YOU
Instead of feeling self-conscious that you are bragging when you write an “about” page or bio, consider that this type of writing is not about you. It’s about what the audience needs to know.
Own a business? Your audience cares about how many years you’ve been in business, any awards you’ve won, your experience and education, and if you have staff, their attributes as well.
Are you a writer? Readers of non-fiction want to know why you are the expert, and fiction readers want to know why you might be a good writer for them to read. Don’t be afraid to compare yourself to authors with a similar writing style or in the same genre. And don’t be afraid to mention that you worked as an award-winning investigator if you write crime novels or English teacher of the year if you write novels for young adults.
Doesn’t that pique your interest when you hear it about someone else?
One good way to write about yourself is to imagine that you’re writing about someone else. If you’re writing your “about” page for your chiropractic practice’s website, for example, think about what your ideal customer wants to read about a chiropractor to encourage them to make an appointment. You want them to trust you, so list your experience. You want them to believe that other chiropractors value your service, so tell them about awards you have won from the national association or when you’ve been asked to address a group of professionals. And you want people to know that you have happy customers, so talk about what they are saying about your work. If you don’t know, just ask. Really. After eight years of working with my chiropractor, through two pregnancies and recoveries, I would be happy to provide a testimonial for my doctors. Your fans should be happy to help!
Writers, too, shouldn’t be afraid to talk about themselves. Consider what you want to hear about an author when you are deciding to buy their books. Nonfiction authors should think exactly like business owners in this case. You have an expertise that you want people to purchase. Fiction authors may have a more difficult time talking about themselves if they don’t have a lot of awards or author-centric experiences (I’ve had trouble in that realm myself), but don’t let that discourage you. As you progress, you will be able to talk about events where you were featured, the number of books you’ve sold, and groups you have presented to. Mention positive comments from Beta testers or excellent Amazon.com reviews. Chances are that you have praise from somewhere, so make good use of it!
ABOUT PAGE BLISS
When you write the “about” page for your website, lead with what your audience most wants to hear, a reason for them to stick around and actually read your blog or explore your site. You can save background info and personal info, like your favorite food and shoe brand, for later on.
Does your blog give cutting-edge tips for building your own website? Do you inspire high school girls to explore STEM careers? Are you posting a new cupcake picture every day to give bakers ideas for new ways to decorate? If that’s the main reason people want to come to your site, shout it out in the first paragraph!
For bloggers, it’s especially important to communicate to readers what you will be talking about so they will stick around, and hopefully, you consider your audience and write in a style that will appeal to those you want to attract.
A bio has many similarities to an “about” page, but it can be a different beast altogether and sometimes has a word limit. Your audience is still the most important deciding factor on what to write, and pretending that you are writing about someone else can go a long way on inspiration. Award applications frequently require bios, so researching the awarding organization and what’s important to it can help guide your writing if the application doesn’t ask for you to cover certain things. For example, if the organization provides awards for Hispanic scientists, you should mention your specific heritage and how you remain connected to your family, as well as your scientific accolades. Always speak to your particular audience for the best results!
So the next time you need to write about yourself, plunge ahead. Think about how you are helping your audience. Consider the benefits of your experience. Determine what your audience needs to know to pinpoint the exact info to share!