How to write a professional bio

All speakers, authors and coaches need a bio, whether it’s being used on your book sleeve/cover, on your website, your speaker brochure or to introduce you on stage.

Having a good ‘base’ bio allows you to share who you are fast and efficiently — getting you one step closer any gig or job you want. You need to design it to position you as the expert you are. It needs to be memorable

Your bio is a door opener. It’s sometimes the first impression someone has of you. It helps bookers, prospects to learn more about you and your experience. It helps you identify your expertise. It creates interest in you, and helps you stand out. If you get it right!

Let’s start with what it is. It’s a summary of all that you’ve done that’s going to wet the appetite of anyone that reads it. It’s the attention getter for those that have not met you. It’s the fill in for those that have who now need to introduce you to others. The purpose of your bio is to succinctly do your ‘pitch’ in a written manner.

It helps people know what you stand for, explains your credentials and allows them to get a sense of who you work with, why you do so, gives a hint of your style and what you want. In short it should leave anyone reading it knowing more about you.

Where & why to use your bio

  • To get an agent (if you are a speaker)
  • With prospects (so they understand who you are and what you’ve done)
  • With proposals (you may not have met the decision makers)
  • On your website (so you can ‘confirm’ why they need you)
  • On your social profiles (to showcase to your experience)
  • For speaking gigs / introductions (so the audience is pre-warmed to you)
  • Back of your book jacket (so they can trust their choice to buy the book)

We always recommend having your bio in different formats, readily available and updated regularly, so it reflects who you are in this moment. Make it a quarterly task to review and amend.

For Online Bios:

  • Have different lengths e.g. 150 characters for Instagram vs more of an essay for Facebook. Respect the platforms you are using, but always use your ‘base’ bio so there’s consistency
  • Make them short but informative. Include your most impressive accomplishments — from your bestseller status to her keynote speaker experience. Make yourself sound like someone people want to listen to!

For Offline / Print ready Bios:

  • PDF — so it can be presented in emails and presentations
  • Download from your speaker / author website — so journalists and others can copy paste with ease and accredit those sound bits.

How to write a great professional base bio:

It’s always about who is going to be reading it and what you want them to do as a result. Your bio is the attention getter. Here are some ways to make sure you get yours right:

  1. Identify who is it for ( your AVATAR) — who will be reading this and what’s your purpose (on your speaker website, it might be more geared at bookers, than individuals for example).
  2. Look at the expected ‘style’ — how does your industry do it (and how can you stand out within it) — what’s expected, what’s unexpected and then add a little special touch of your own
  3. What are the ‘recognised words’ for what you do e.g. speaker, author etc. and what adjectives go well with those e.g. best-selling author — your made up disruptive title comes later!
  4. Trace your story — how did you get to where you are? — Build credibility through your history — be ruthless — identify what’s a good ‘story’ to .tell, and what’s superfluous! Be relevant and informative, and intriguing
  5. Use results! Demonstrate your expertise / pick out the things you want to be known for (that can be proved)
  6. Include professional photos — ONLY!!!

The next thing is presenting it. We recommend that you

7. Write in 3rd Person and get interest by including

– Start with a quote / tagline / something eye catching
— Outline your name, your company and what you are known for
— State your passion, purpose and why
— Outline how you work, your style, IP and who you work with
— Results, what are the common outcomes people get from working with you

8. Start with your name and a claim to fame (what are you known for — what’s your 1 sentence intro (get them to put it in comments) e.g. Bob Smith is a columnist for the XYZ newspaper. Or something snazzier! Catch the interest and don’t leave them hanging

9. Highlight your impressiveness: your Triple A: achievements, Accomplishments & Awards — what have you got that others can recognise that is a short cut for your expertise — describe them, don’t list them, (what do they mean) Her book “blah blah blah” went on to inspire a change in the law… (I can’t think of anything)

10. Borrow credibility where you can — include associations, recognition, companies you’ve worked with / for

11. Personalise it with something about yourself and what you believe / what your why is

12. Use verbs to explain yourself / your title (make it come alive with results)-

13. Make yourself stand out: Don’t say: “Vanessa Felton is an experienced speaker & financial advisor.” Say: “Vanessa Felton, an experienced speaker & financial advisor, is known for helping, educating, and supporting clients as they develop strategic investment plans for the future.”

How to get your bio right — key things to remember:

Get feedback!!

  • When you write about yourself, you go ‘blind’ — get feedback from your clients, your prospects & peers

Getting the bio right TAKES TIME!

  • You’ll keep tweaking and that’s needed as you listen to feedback! You’ll tweak it for different situations and gigs too. You’ll suddenly land on the right thing to say!
  • Don’t start from scratch.
  • Look at all you’ve done. Dig out your CV — make it come alive. Review the last year or two years of your work and build all those things in.

Update your bio often! (monthly / quarterly)

  • Keep a list of your Triple A’s: awards Achievements Accomplishments (also accolades!)
  • Keep a list of all the talks, articles etc you create / do

Keep a master copy!

  • It’s vital to have a ‘base’ copy that you can modify and safe per gig or space you put it in. This will help you change it across all the spaces it’s used in.
  • As you change / grow, make sure your bio still reflects you — is the you I meet in person the you I met on the page?
  • Update all your IP as you create it — as you create new models and innovate, write new books etc. make sure that’s reflected
  • Get a third party / copy writer to look it over — get feedback on it

It’s too important a document to leave to chance or to the whim of just you. Get some professional support to either write it or review it. Go look at all your channels and platforms to ensure you are consistently showing up as who you want to be seen as.

Do join us inside The Connection Hub and as part of your #Intro, we can give you a little feedback if you ask for it. That’s a good place to start.

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