Posts

How to Write a Bio That Makes People Say, “OMG tell me more!”

Guest Post by Maggy Sterner, Brand & Business Coach

Here’s the scenario: You’ve been invited to deliver a talk or workshop. The organizers ask you to provide a short bio to include with a head shot.

But all you have is a long-ass bio that tells your life story using jargon and too many words.

This is not what event organizers want.

The people who need this information don’t have time to edit your novella into a compact, coherent statement. They’ve got an event to deliver.

As a frame of reference: The whole Gettysburg address was 272 words and President Abraham Lincoln spoke for less than two minutes.

More words don’t automatically deliver more impact.

Be interesting not boring

We’ve all seen the “bios” that make our brains congeal. They make no sense.

They’re filled with acronyms, jargon, academic degrees, and fancy words that don’t tell us anything.

It’s easy to write grammatically correct, perfectly punctuated words, but a great bio has all that, it delivers the right information about why you’re qualified to talk on your topic, AND it’s easy to understand.

A killer bio has these qualities:

  • It’s intriguing. It tells them enough and leaves the reader wanting to know more about you.
  • It’s short AF. It holds the essential information about you and not a drop more.
  • It’s written in simple, declarative sentences. Einstein said, “If you can’t explain what you do to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it.” Anyone who reads your bio should be able to get it. Even your mother.

The right drops of information, in the right order

Here’s the “formula” I use with my clients when I help them craft a bio that communicates their expertise in a way that allows their brand to shine.

  1. Maggy Sterner is a branding & business coach.  One sentence. My name and what I do. That’s it.
  2. She helps small businesses and entrepreneurs … ” Put your target audience here. Just say it. 
  3. … focus their niche, craft a clear, powerful brand message, and say with confidence to attract their perfect clients.” That’s what I do. It’s the result my target audience hires me to do for them. Notice the action verbs.

You could stop there, depending on how many words you’ve been asked to write, and nobody would complain. What I wrote is 31 words.

Practice writing a short, sweet, succinct bio and let me know how it goes.

About the Author

Maggy Sterner is a brand and business coach, keynote speaker, and brand workshop facilitator. She helps small business owners and entrepreneurs focus their niche, find words to describe it, and craft brand marketing messages that attract clients.
Find out more about her here.

Market Yourself with Reviews and Testimonials

Testimonials and reviews are a great way to showcase your great work. They are more powerful than anything you say about yourself because they come from clients. Most people say they rely on recommendations from people they know to make purchasing decisions, so your testimonials and reviews have tremendous marketing value.

Ask for Reviews

Have a plan to ask for reviews from every customer. Good reviews are great for your marketing. All reviews help you to be better at what you do.

No matter when you ask, provide clients with easy step-by-step instructions for providing a review. Be clear about where the review may be used.

Consider these approaches:

  • Ask for a review when you issue the final invoice.
  • Once a week/month/quarter follow-up with a past client to check in and ask for a review.
  • Use your email marketing program to maintain a list of clients who have not done reviews and send periodic reminders.

Make Reviews Visible

Once you have reviews, make them visible in several places.

On your website: A testimonials page is good, but it is even better to feed reviews into every page. Better yet, provide reviews that are relevant to the particular service covered on the page.

Email signature: Link to your reviews in your email signature.

Marketing collateral: Tout your average rating in your offline and online marketing.

Social media: Make note of new reviews on your social media. Thank the person providing the review and highlight a feature of the project or service provided. Use a related image along with the review.

Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

Guest Post by Karen Cooper, Owner, Platinum Group Real Estate Team at Pearson Smith Realty

Marketing. Either you love it or you hate it. For the entrepreneur or small business owner it is the difference between a successful business, a mediocre business, or no business at all.

The problem is that not all of us are marketers. You may be an excellent sales person,  the very best baker when it comes to specialty cakes, or the most creative graphics designer, but you may be terrible at marketing yourself, your products and your business.

So where to turn? This is where the “shiny object” comes in.

As a business owner, I get multiple calls per week, sometimes per day, from companies trying to sell me something that will improve my business. Do these sound familiar?

  • The opportunity to place a very expensive ad in their publication that goes to 15,000 households
  • Advertising space on shopping carts and wine bottle bags and hand sanitizer dispensers at the grocery store
  • Sponsorships that will give me access to country club members and parents of students in local schools
  • Tools that will make it easier to connect with my ideal client
  • The chance to buy “impressions” that will essentially allow me to pay for leads under an impossible to understand algorithm that is always changing.

How do you navigate these choices when you are already busy and perhaps marketing isn’t your strongest attribute? Know your pillars.

The pillars in your business are the support system, the foundation, that holds it all up. It is where your business comes from and who your clients and customers are.

Know your pillars and you will know your clients. Know your clients and you will know your business. Know your business and marketing becomes a breeze.

For example, in my business (real estate sales) my pillars are referrals/past clients/sphere of influence (lumped into one pillar, as I market to them the same way), social media, business to business relationships, and geographic farming (basically, a specific area or neighborhood that I market to). These pillars are where my business comes from year after year.

How do I know that? Because I track. Tracking is key to understanding where your business comes from and where it is going. It helps you to remain calm and steady when markets are volatile. It gives you direction, confidence and stability.

Tracking doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact, the simpler the better. I use a notebook in Evernote. You could use a CRM, the notes app on your iPhone, or even just a pad of paper. Figure out what works for you, and write it down.

Haven’t been in business long enough to have enough data to identify your pillars? A pillar can also be where you WANT your business to come from. Your pillars can also shift from year to year or as you grow in your business.

In my experience, 3-5 pillars is the sweet spot. Too few and you will be easily subjected to the volatility of market conditions when one area isn’t performing as well as another. Too many and you will be far too scattered to make any real headway.

Once you’ve identified your pillars, you can then identify the strategies or priorities for marketing to those groups. For example, for me:

  • A bi-monthly postcard mailer is part of my strategy for my geographic farm pillar and my sphere of influence.
  • A local monthly business networking group supports my business to business relationships and my geographic farm.
  • Employing a digital strategy firm to help me with my social media presence, which supports all my pillars.

These strategies and priorities will be the framework for your business plan and your marketing plan for each year. You will often find overlap between your pillars, which is great! This is an ideal way to connect the dots and expand your influence.

Now, the next time someone calls to sell you one of those bright, shiny objects, guaranteed to boost your business and make your life easier, it will be easier to identify if it will really support one of your pillars or if it is just a distraction and waste of money. Identify your pillars, and you will avoid the shiny object syndrome for good!

About the Author

Karen

Karen Wenner Cooper is a wife, mom to 3 sons, and business owner living in Northern Virginia. The owner of the Platinum Group Real Estate Team at Pearson Smith Realty (www.GoPlatinumGroup.com) and Founder of Empowering Women in Real Estate, the premier private group for supporting women in the real estate industry (https://www.facebook.com/groups/empoweringwomeninrealestate/). You can connect with her at karen@GoPlatinumGroup.com.