Back before the internet, professionals were advised to have an elevator speech. It was a brief (usually 2 minutes or less) description or summary of themselves and their business that they could deliver on the spur of the moment to someone they just met. The online bio is today’s version of the elevator speech and every professional, but especially professional bloggers, needs a good one.
There are several varieties of online bios. They range from extensive resumes and portfolios on sites like LinkedIN and Mediabistro’s Freelance Marketplace to the 140 character bio associated with a Twitter account. The most ubiquitous, and therefore the most important, however is the signature that is used whenever you post a comment on blog, forum, video or news article, is added to your email messages or any blog posts published under your byline and that appears on any of a number of social networks. We’ll call it your blogger bio just to keep things simple.
The most effective blogger bios are concise, unique and tell people how to contact or at least find you online. Most contain at least two links: one to a social network and one to your blog, online resume/portfolio or web site. They also include some keywords describing what kind of blogging you do as well as something that makes you stand out. If you are available for work, your blogger bio should also reveal. In more and more instances, your blogger bio also includes a picture or image.
Crafting a good blogger bio is extremely important. After all, it is your most widely seen and used marketing tool. It doesn’t matter whether you are a freelancer looking for new projects, a staff writer making connections for themselves or your employer or an author promoting a book, your signature is still your top marketing device. Make sure it says what you want it to in a way that helps your achieve your goals.
Most bios start with a name and a job title or description. If you are open to new assignments you might call yourself a freelance (blogger, writer, journalist, designer, etc). If you are looking for a new job or new clients consider calling yourself a professional (whatever). After your job title, you might want to include a few other keywords that identify your areas of expertise or secondary skills. For instance a freelance blogger and social media specialist or author and video blogger are more focused and effective because they are more detailed. Some people include the year they started their career or a ballpark figure of how long they have been active in their profession as a means of demonstrating their expertise.
In order to stand out and grab some attention from all the other bloggers, writers, journalists and authors out there, you need to put some passion and personality into your blogger bio. Maybe this is a tag line,”connecting people and ideas” or “explaining the world of WordPress one app at a time”. It could also be something you are personally passionate about that readers might not otherwise know such as raising pot-bellied pigs or repairing vintage motorcycles. Previous experience that you are especially proud of can also be highlighted, particularly if it carries name recognition. Your general location and how long you’ve been there, might also help you stand out, depending on where it is. The goal here is to show you are not just another blogger. Give readers a taste of who you are.
Finally, tell people where to find you. Give them a link to your blog or website. If you have a social media presence you use regularly, point them there, as well. You might even encourage them to contact you by posing a question or making a potentially controversial statement (just be aware that such statements can also turn off readers and your run the risk of getting flamed).
The average blogger bio is usually just a couple of sentences long and easy to remember. In fact, it can double as your elevator speech, so practice saying it out loud. Saying your signature can also give it a more natural and personal feel for both you and your readers. Hearing it can also help make sure it rings true for you. Believe it or not, readers do pick up on that and it’s important that they find you credible and are comfortable with your sincerity.
As more and more of our interactions become virtual and take place online, it becomes crucial that we have solid profiles and bios. The days of the business card and elevator speech are coming to a close. Remember, today your bio is you.