Being able to create a brilliant bio is a very useful skill. There are times in your business when you need one and times you might not expect, when one comes in really handy.
Most people think that a bio is just the 40 word blurb you stick on your social media profiles, something they knock out in 2 minutes just to fill that empty space but it is so much more! Having a brilliant bio written out and ready can bring you new business, help you get media coverage, get you a speaking gig or a blog submission accepted and even help you make that 40-word blurb AWESOME as opposed to ‘meh’.
Why Would You Need A Brilliant Bio?
Imagine if the local paper got wind of how brilliant you are and are thinking about doing a quick article. If they look at your website and your ‘about’ page is about as interesting as reading a leaflet about fax machines, you have just MISSED a GREAT OPPORTUNITY. They may get in touch with you anyway, to get your story but if something else more interesting appears on their desk in the meantime, the opportunity has gone. If only you had a brilliant bio to include on there…
Now imagine they go to your website and you have an AMAZING about page including your bio with images (heck, even videos), your story about how you came to build the business and some other little gems we’ll talk about in a moment, NOW they are HOOKED. They want to know more. They want to SHARE your story because their readers will love it. You just GRABBED AN OPPORTUNITY with both hands!
When Would You NEED A Brilliant Bio?
If you ever fancy entering awards or a competition, you will need a brilliant bio. If you ever need to fill out your details on a selling site, you will need a brilliant bio. Same if you ever submit an article to someone, ask for or get offered a speaking gig or even want to approach your bank for a loan – your bio would be a brilliant part of your business plan.
The WORST TIME to write a brilliant bio is when you need one RIGHT NOW – EEEEK!
The BEST TIME is to start now and get it finished within a week, so you only have to update it when things change.
Your BRILLIANT BIO could create all sorts of magic in your business so we’d best get you started. These aren’t in any particular order, just start with the easiest and work on making the rest happen this week.
1 Your Story
Yes, we all want to know and your Super Customers especially. Tell us how this business came about, warts and all! Now, most people would write a boring paragraph about their last 10 years, which bores readers to tears. Not you, though! You’re going to do better. You are going to tell your story as if you’re telling it to your best friend. You’re going to add the high points and low points, the funny bits, your biggest disaster, the weird way you came up with your business name and how things are now. You’re even going to supply photographic evidence. You can edit it down afterwards (we don’t need to know EVERYTHING) but what you will be left with is a pretty concise version of your journey to building this business, in a style that feels friendly, approachable and funny – just like you! Definitely someone we would want to buy from, don’t you think?
Even if you hate having your picture taken, you NEED at least one on your bio. It doesn’t have to be you sitting there like a statue grinning painfully at the camera, in fact I definitely wouldn’t use that one (!). Instead, get a photo of you doing your thing. If you sew for a living, get someone to take a photo of you at your sewing machine. You can run it through some filters on Canva to make it mean and moody, or vibrant or black and white. Get photos of you in your workspace or out and about with the kids. Probably not your wedding one – they never really look right on business bios. Also, I’ve seen some brilliant bios where people have included photos of them aged 7 using a sewing machine for the first time, or wearing flares in the 70s when they used to be a Bay City Rollers fan before they became a very professional accountant. We want fun, personality and a peek into your life. People buy people – let them get to know you a bit.
Come back, stop running away! A video doesn’t need to have YOU in it! If you’re a maker or someone who uses their hands, you can set up your phone on a mini-tripod and do a quick video of your hands at work. You can use apps to create little slideshow videos of work in progress or finished pieces. If you run classes or go out on location, you can take little videos of you setting up, running the classes/ doing your thing or breaking down. You can video your workspace. You can use one of those animation videos to show what you do and how you help. You an use an app like Ripl or Lumyer or Adobe Spark to add effects to photos and turn them into videos. Videos can shortcut things – you can quickly show us what you do, how you work, what difference you make. GREAT to have in a bio!
Testimonials and reviews don’t just belong in one place. If you have lovely ones, share them in your bio! It’s a brilliant place to use them because they back-up the fab things you are saying about yourself with real-life customer feedback. You don’t need loads, just a few sprinkled throughout to break up the text.
5 Career Highlights
I love it when people include these. If you won Small Business Sunday on Twitter with Theo Paphitis, put it here. If you got ‘best cake’ in the village fete, put it here. If you met the Queen, put it here. Career highlights show the things that made you smile, the things you are most proud of. One of mine was meeting Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook in 2014 for the first time, another was appearing on The Apprentice and Radio One with my men’s make-up business, back in the day – but my proudest accomplishment was getting a Blue Peter Badge when I was 7 . If they made you smile, our bio is the place to put them.
6 Contact Details
That journalist needs to get in touch with you, so make sure you add your website, social media accounts and email/phone number. Your Brilliant Bio might be printed off and passed around. It might be given to the leader of the group that wants you to do a talk for them. It might end up anywhere, so make sure they can get in touch with you!
It’s alway useful to have a little box at the top that sums up what you do. If this beautiful bio of yours forms part of a business plan or funding application, having a 2 sentence summary ‘an award-winning florist who is a favourite in the Surrey gay wedding market’ or ‘a fabulous physio specialising in drunk-dance injuries’ can really set you apart from the crowd. It shows your human side, creates a talking point and becomes a bit of a soundbite if you are ever interviewed on TV or radio.
Qualifications – should you included them?
Don’t go overboard on this though, it’s not a job CV. If you have a particularly wonderful qualification that is very relevant to your business, then include it in a section at the bottom. If it was fire-building in Girl Guides, maybe not.
You can use PowerPoint or Canva to create PDF files with images. If you’re including videos, they would only appear on your website, usually. Don’t go overboard with flowery fonts and loads of busy images. Keep it clean and simple, let the few images speak for themselves, let your words shine through.
You have a week. Go and create a beautiful and brilliant bio the media will love, as well as your Super Customers. You are so much more than a 40-word blurb – you’re awesome! But, before you go, TELL ME THE ONE THING out of this list you are going to do first!
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.