When it comes to promoting your business, one of the most important tools at your disposal is your biography.
You can talk until you are blue in the face about the amazing range and quality of whizzy products and services that you offer, but it’s always worth remembering that in most cases, when it comes to business, people buy people. Customers want to know that they are working with someone they can trust and who has the experience and skills to help them.
The reputation of any business is only as good as the people that work in it, but to be honest, in my opinion, the majority of biographies I see are dry and dull and certainly don’t make me think I want to work with the people in that business.
The biggest mistake that people make is to see their biographies as another kind of CV and then they proceed to recount in minute detail, exactly where they’ve worked and what they’ve done, year by year, and by the second sentence the reader has already lost the will to live! Of course you will need to include information that is in your CV, but think about the biography as a CV in a story format.
Your biography is a very versatile document. It can be sent directly to prospective customers or published on your website or in marketing materials to show that you have the depth of experience that clients are looking for. In addition, your biography can also be issued to the media to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field, so that when journalists are looking for someone to comment on an issue related to your work, they will hopefully contact you for your opinion.
I have six steps I like to remind myself of whenever I’m writing a biography for client or colleague:
1. Put yourself in the reader’s position
The starting point is to consider who you are writing for. Put yourself in the position of the person who is likely to be reading your biography. What is it that he or she would like to know about you?
The reader needs to clearly understand what it is that makes you different and why they should be dealing with you rather than someone else. You need to make sure that the start of the biography is interesting and gets their attention so that they will want to read right to the end.
2. Quality not quantity
The most effective biographies are generally those that are relatively short and succinct. You should condense your experience and skills into a few paragraphs. However, you may also want to produce a slightly longer version that goes into a little more detail in case someone such as a journalist for instance, wants a bit more information about you at some point.
3. Set the right tone
It is important to remember that the biography is effectively a story about you. As such, it is best to keep it informal, not only including details about your career, but also your life outside of work. Readers want to know what kind of a person you are and what other interests you have. They also like to know that the person they are reading about is human and has a sense of humour.
Most biographies are written in the third person rather than the first person, however it really comes down to your own personal preference as to which style you would prefer to use. If you are unsure, I would recommend that you write it in the third person as it tends to give the impression that someone else wrote it for you!
4. Don’t forget the interesting stuff
If you were writing a book about your career, what would be the momentous achievements and key moments that you would want to include? You need to make sure that you get these across in your biography and explain to the reader how these things helped to make you the person you are today and why this has helped to make you different to your competitors.
5. Third party endorsements
If you want to tell people how good you are, the best way is to get someone else to do it for you! If you are putting your biography onto your website, it is always useful to ask customers or other people that you have worked with to give you a recommendation, a short comment that you can use besides your biography.
It also really helps to include a photo of yourself (preferably looking happy!) that you can use to accompany the biography.
6. Review regularly
Over time there will be new achievements, qualifications or even hobbies that you might like to include in your biography. I would recommend that you review it every few months and have a think about whether there is additional information that you want to include in it to bring it up to date.
If you would like to have a chat to us about how we can help you put your biography together, give us a call on 0115 922 0540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org