How To Write Your Bio
Your bio will be the first (and maybe only) impression most people have of you, so make sure yours is on-point. This is a step-by-step list of questions you must ask to write an impressive bio.
There are two types of people in the world: those who know you and those who don’t.
Having a solid bio is one way to get people to know you. It’s also a crucial part of your digital presence and reputation. Your bio is your LinkedIn summary, the About Me page on your website, and included in your social media profiles.
For a lot of people, your bio will be the first and maybe only impression they have of you, so make sure yours is on-point.
Here’s a step-by-step list of questions you MUST ask yourself if you want to write an impressive bio.
1. Who will read my bio?
Eating, drinking, taking drugs, having sex, and talking about ourselves. Psychology tells us that all these activities light up the same area of the brain. It’s why we love talking about ourselves: we actually get a buzz when we do.
While a bio is a personal profile about YOU (happy buzz), you can’t be thinking about yourself when writing it (no happy buzz). You need to be thinking about your audience. Afterall, when you finish writing your bio, are you really going to be reading it all day on replay? Hopefully not. That’s what you want your audience to do.
Start by first asking “Who will read my bio?” If you don’t know, try asking, “Who do I want to read my bio?”
Is it an ideal client for your company? A potential prospect for a partnership? Someone you want in your network? Envision these specific individuals. You might even go as far as creating personas for them by writing out their demographic and psychographic information in a separate document.
Once you know who your ideal target audience is, you’re ready to move onto the next step.
2. What do these people need to know about me?
This is the meat (or soy or plant-based protein) of your bio. It communicates who you are to your audience.
Your audience might not need to know the details of your birth, the 3 cats you had growing up, your college major, or even how you spent your 20s and 30s…
…But maybe they do.
In this second step, you need to start by outlining your story. What makes you unique?
We know you’re accomplished. We know you’re intelligent. We know you’ve reached some level of success in the past, but your bio cannot turn into a running list of all you’ve ever done and every award you’ve ever received. You get trapped in a box when you limit yourself to a list of accomplishments. Worse, you’ll fall into the inescapable one-upper pit of despair.
Won 5 awards? Cool. Someone else won 6. Graduated magna cum laude? Wonderful. Someone else graduated summa cum laude and wrote a dissertation on quantum mechanics.
Instead of communicating generic titles and achievements, your bio needs to communicate humanity. Who is the person behind those accomplishments?
This isn’t as easy as we’d like to think, so if you’re having trouble turning your successes into a story, try framing it with these questions:
- How has x-award and y-achievement shaped me into who I am today?
- What struggles did I have to overcome to get to where I am?
- Why am I passionate about my niche or industry?
- What unique perspective do I bring to my industry based on my past experiences?
- Where do I want this passion to take me 5 years for now? 10 years? 15 years? My legacy?
The answers to these questions, along with an understanding of who your audience is, will guide you as you start drafting your bio.
3. How do I put words on the page?
You have your raw ingredients. Now you need a recipe. Use one of these ideas to help get you started:
1. Convey Credibility
Pack a punch in your opening line with a bold statement that conveys one of your proudest success moments. Then dive into some examples from your life that allowed you to reach that moment of success. Explain the skills needed to get you there. This can lead to a deeper dive into your expertise depending on the length you’re going after.
2. Portray Passion
Start by talking about why you love what you do. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What excites you? Draw from these passions to explain what sets you and your company apart. What makes you different?
3. Attract Prospects
KISS. Keep It Stupid Simple and answer this question: How do you make your clients’ or customers’ life easier? Once you’ve explained how you do it, tell them why you do it.
Explaining your “why” could include a life-changing experience, a challenge you’ve overcome and the skills needed to do so, or a personal detail. It inspires your audience to take action and opens the door to new opportunities.
4. State Your Mission
Think of an inverted pyramid and you’re starting at the top. Your opening lines need to show the bigger picture. Give a broad illustration of what you do, then narrow the illustration down to details and credentials. This demonstrates an understanding of life that goes beyond a daily list of to-dos while still showing the value you bring to the world.
As you draft your bio remember to weave in keywords associated with your personal brand. This will help your target audience find you as well as speak directly to your skills and expertise.
4. How will I convey my personality?
You’re ready to start editing your bio at this stage. I’m not talking about spell-checker (although that’s important too). I’m talking about editing for tone and voice.
Who are you?
There’s only one way to edit your bio for tone and voice: Be authentic. Write like you speak. How you show up online needs to match how you show up offline. Consider the following 4 questions to help convey personality in your bio.
- What is the general vibe I want to give off?
- What kinds of words do I use frequently in conversation?
- What do I want my relationship with my audience to be?
- How do I want people to feel after reading my bio?
You show that you’re approachable by matching your tone and voice with your personality. When you show up authentically, you give your audience permission to show up authentically too.
5. Am I speaking plain English?
The last step in writing a great bio is to edit for “plain English.”
You’ll want to skim through your bio and remove or reword any cliches and business jargon. Nobody wants to hear how you “reduced $800k annual overhead expenses in the distribution center by implementing lead flow and six sigma practices.”
It’s more than okay to mention your achievements in context, but you need to word it in a manner that doesn’t turn off your audience. The goal in this last step is to make your bio enjoyable without removing any personal or impressive qualities.
You’ll also want to run your bio through a spell-checker and a tool like Grammarly to catch any last minute mistakes.
That’s it. That’s your bio. You can repurpose it as your author bio for any publications you’re part of, submit it for public speaking events, or draw inspiration from it when networking. Just keep in mind that as you change and evolve, so does your bio.