You’re not going to make a sale through an ‘About’ page. So why have one?
It breeds familiarity. If you do it correctly, your potential clients think, “There is a living, breathing, smart person on the other side of this text, and I want to know more about who he or she might be.”
An ‘About’ page is a tool to establish your credibility. It tells your visitors:
- Who you are
- What you do
- How long you’ve been doing it
- What makes you unique, interesting
- Why they should choose you
Sounds easier than it is. Even at Higgins & Parks, where we’ll write copy about other people all day long, it’s still a particular challenge when we need to write about ourselves.
Here’s a look at some specific challenges you might face when staring at your own “About” page, and some advice we’ve learned over the years on how to overcome them.
Challenge #1: You don’t know where to start
Writers call it the Terror of the Blank Page. Trust us, we have been there. There’s so much you can possibly say about yourself, that, when it comes time to actually perform, you’re paralyzed. Nothing’s coming to mind. Stare long enough while contemplating the questions, “Who am I?” and “What do I do?” and you’ve even entered some weird headspace that you didn’t expect when you sat down to work this morning.
What to do:
Relax, it’s not about you. Your “About Us” page is actually about your client. You’re writing to an audience of people who will want to buy from you. So ask yourself, “What would a client want to know about me?” Your answers, if you’re in business, suddenly become obvious. What kind of experience do you have? Do you understand my (the client’s) particular pains or needs? What kind of results am I (the client) likely to get from this guy?” You can sketch out an outline of your About page based on those questions.
Challenge #2: You’re having writer’s block
Please don’t ask us how long it took us to write our master’s thesis. We know all about writer’s block. Here’s a dirty little secret though. It doesn’t actually exist. Or, if it’s real, it’s, at most, a psychosomatic condition, like hysterical deafness.
What to do:
Writing is hard work. It can be boring sometimes, and sometimes you just are going to want to check your email and post pictures of your children on Facebook instead. But when the urge for distraction hits you, take a deep breath and return to your outline. Have you answered the questions you laid out?
Take comfort in some well-worn expressions writers say to each other when they should be at their desks, writing.
One of our favorites: “Perfect is the enemy of good.” If you get obsessed with perfection, you will produce very little. At least a bad first draft can be rewritten. Strive to just get something down on the page. It doesn’t have to be very long, and it doesn’t even have to be very good, yet.
Another practical tip is to use the “inverted pyramid” style of writing you may have learned in an introductory writing or journalism course, where you put the most important information first, then supporting details, and, finally, related but less important information.
Challenge #3: You’ve written an impenetrable wall of text
Maybe you have the opposite problem. You’ve started writing and you’re just not stopping. Now you have a gigantic wall of text that younger denizens of the Internet might look at and say “tl;dr” (that is, “too long; didn’t read.”)
What to do: Break up long passages with sub-headlines (like this blog post is).
Consider adding sub-headings or some additional content, like:
- Satisfied Client List
- Positioning Statement
- An interesting tidbit about yourself, (as long as it’s safe for work)
Challenge #4: Lack of personality, or too much fluff
What’s that other old writer’s aphorism? “Avoid cliche’s like the plague.” See what I did there? But the point stands. Your particular specialty has its own jargon and cliches, and then there’s regular business gobbledygook that will make me and countless others tune out immediately. But, funny, you may not want to throw out all the jargon. You have to be smart about it.
What to do:
Walk a fine line here. Explain what it is you do like you’re describing it to your cousin at a family birthday party — be friendly, not too technical, but at the same time, you need to deploy some language that demonstrates you know what you’re talking about. It’s a little bit Voodoo here. If it’s too technical and laden with industry cliches, you’ll turn people off because they’ll assume you’re a bore. If it’s too simplistic, it may harm your credibility.
To sum up:
We know we’ve written too much about ourselves when we started including information about our dog, Roger, who is stretched out and snoring on the office floor. See? Time to go.