Become a Top Blogger By Alexander Limberg Your guest post is about to go live. You know it’s packed with value, and the host blogger absolutely loves it. Seems like your hard work has finally paid off. There’s only one thing left to do. It’s a small thing, but to you, it’s the most important one: You need to craft a persuasive bio that people read and click on. A bio that will drive swarms of readers to your homepage, and boost your traffic and email list. Without a great bio, much of your guest posting effort will go to waste. So how to write a bio for maximum effect? What are the indispensible parts? Should the tone connect emotionally or be prosaic? And how could you ever summarize your life in two short phrases? Let’s dissect some great bios step by step to see what makes a powerful bio. Why Your Bio Is Important Your bio serves one purpose, and one purpose only: to drive traffic and links to your website. Your story—just like anybody else’s—is way too complex to summarize in two phrases. To whet readers’ appetite for your website, highlight the aspects of your bio and personality that serve you best, and cut the rest. Keep It Focused Some blogs give you a word limit for your bio. Even if they don’t, it’s better to keep it short. Nobody’s interested in your sister’s marriage. On the other hand, if you choose your words wisely, your bio does give you enough space to make an impact. Keep it as long as necessary, but as short as possible. The following bio seduces readers into clicking the link while conveying a glimpse of the writer’s personality, all in less than three lines: George Mortimer packed his van and drove cross country in pursuit of freedom. His goal is to inspire people like you to live life on their own terms. You can start now by downloading his Free Ebook: 5 Steps To Freedom – The Quick & Simple Guide To Creating A Life You Love. Your bio can be compelling, interesting or fun. But space is limited, so make every word count. Keep It Persuasive It’s astonishing how many bios ignore Rule No. 1: always, always link to your own landing page, and offer a goodie in exchange for the visitor’s email address. When you link to your landing page, you have an entire page to convince your reader to enter their email and get your goodie. It’s like a license to advertise one-on-one – every marketer’s dream come true. Your goodie could be an ebook or a free course. Make sure the reader knows your goodie is free. Use exactly this word and no other: free. It’s one of the most magnetic words in advertising. Also, make sure the reader is aware they have to click the link to get your gift. They should know they can download it instantly. The better your free treat fits the content of your guest post, the more email sign-ups you will get. Anyone who has made the effort to read through your post and arrived at your bio must be very interested in the topic of the post. For example, for a guest post on the best vegetarian pizza recipes, it would be ideal to offer a free ebook on how to bake healthy, delicious pizza bases. Recipes of other vegetarian dishes would also make a great free treat. The following bio clearly highlights the value of its goodies. The topic of the post is urban night photography, and the tutorial is an exact fit. The word “free” is included: Jim Hamel shows aspiring photographers simple, practical steps for improving their photos. Check out his free photography guides and photography tutorials at Outdoor Photo Academy. The free tips, explanations, and video tutorials he provides are sure to take your photography to the next level. Notice how the bio seductively promises the free treat will “take your photography to the next level.” When you show the advantage of your goodie, the important rule is: Outcome, not benefit. You never want to just tell the reader how useful your material is. Instead, paint a rosy picture of how great the outcome will be. Which phrase sounds better to you? This gym machine will help you to train your muscles really well. OR This gym machine will make you look slim and toned in less than 50 days. People love to imagine their marvelous future. Make your treats and products a part of it. Show them the outcome, not the benefit. Keep It Interesting Now’s the chance to use a couple of interesting words to highlight your personality. How do you decide which words / phrases to use? Carefully select one or two juicy stories. Present yourself in the position that serves your mission best: If your goal is to get more blog readers/subscribers, refer to yourself as a blogger If you want to broaden the fan base of your fiction novels, call yourself an author If you want to attract more clients, use the correct professional term for someone providing those services. Even if you have never earned a dime with the label you are using, remember: you are what you repeatedly do! And you need to enter the stage as you want to be seen. This bio cleverly mentions a couple of interesting details about the writer: Steff Green is a writer, blogger and heavy metal maiden living off-grid in rural New Zealand with her cantankerous drummer husband, a menagerie of animals, and their medieval sword collection. Check out her dark fantasy novel The Sunken or subscribe to her blog for updates and free books. Another clever tactic is to create intriguing image: Right now, Peter Sandeen is dodging icebergs while sailing with his wife and dogs on the Finnish coast. But you can download the short ebook that shows you how to get 100+ subscribers from every guest post you write. The blogger is probably not sailing non-stop on the open seas. But he presents himself as an adventurous person, evoking our curiosity. If you think your life doesn’t offer any stories because you’ve never left your duck farm for even one day, know that absolutely everybody has an interesting story to tell. Maybe you have worked for an esteemed company, or you own the biggest collection of PEZ-dispensers in the state. Or you might be excellent at some soft skill, like smoothing out differences and bringing people back together. If you truly have a hard time coming up with out-of-the-ordinary stories, just look at your life from a different angle. This bio makes quite something out of a seemingly ordinary life: Sherry Bowman is a native Texan who has enjoyed rediscovering her creative side through the challenges of raising teenagers, home, and work… If you can link your interesting stories to the benefit people get from your goodie, that’s even better! See how this bio cleverly connects the blogger’s situation with the benefit of her free treat: Cate Scolnik is on a mission to help parents stop yelling and create families that listen to each other. She does this while imperfectly parenting two boisterous girls of her own, and occasionally hanging out on Facebook. Download her free Cheat Sheet to Get Your Kids from “No” to “Yes” in Three Simple Steps and reduce your yelling today. Keep It Fun This is the most difficult part. Very few bios manage to make readers chuckle, but if you can do it, your bio will stand out. Humor makes humans bond, it gets readers on your side. So though it’s challenging, it pays off to spend extra time to get that precious giggle from your reader. Of course, humor is subjective. The following bios use different strategies to inject fun: Gary Korisko is a real-world marketing and sales pro and is the creator of RebootAuthentic.com. If you’re ready to learn how to market your business effectively without doing stuff that would embarrass your mother, then stop in and download his Free eBook: How to Seal the Deal With Integrity. The bio above slaps you in the face unapologetically with the slightly awkward feeling you might occasionally feel as a salesperson. Many marketers wonder from time to time how far they can go. Can they make that promise? Is it still okay? Would their mother be ashamed? Seeing our most private feelings mirrored tongue-in-cheek makes us smile, because we recognize the grain of truth in the statement. This blogger uses a similar approach, so that we finish reading her bio with laugh of self-recognition: Stephanie Sprenger blogs about the imperfect reality of raising young kids at Mommy, for Real. She’s also the co-founder of The HerStories Project, a writing and publishing community for women. Come waste time with her on Facebook and Twitter. Another way to bring the fun is to exaggerate wildly in a totally absurd way: My name is Marc. And my mission is to save the Internet from a catastrophic collision with bad taste and vulgar commercialism. And speaking of vulgar commercialism, I have a new book coming out called Be a Dick. You should totally check it out. Oh yeah, and here’s my blog. You can really make any anecdote fun, if you change your perspective. The following bio has a funny way of telling us that the writer lives in the countryside: Michelle Riddell lives with her husband, daughter, and poodles in rural mid-Michigan where traffic stops for turtles, tractors, and threshers. She is a freelance writer and an editor at Mothers Always Write. She substitute teaches at the local elementary school and is continually surprised by how much she loves it. You now know several ways to make your bio entertaining. Create something you find funny and then pass it on to your friends. If it makes them chuckle, you’ve hit the funny nerve. Link Like You Have Never Linked Before You already know it’s important that your link leads to your landing page. But you can use links in your bio in another way as well—to boost your site’s search engine ranking. You can link from your bio to a page on your own website, and you can improve that page’s ranking for a certain keyword. Pay attention to the anchor link—that’s the text that is hyperlinked. For example, for this essential post explaining About pages, the anchor link is “essential post explaining About pages.” Include the keyword you want to rank for in the anchor link. For example, if you want to support your ranking for writing services, you could in your bio include the phrase When she isn’t designing her pony a new haircut, she is also available for writing services. You would then make the underlined words (the anchor link) a link to your writing services page. Use slightly different anchor links for different guest posts so that Google doesn’t get the impression you are spamming (you aren’t). In our example, you could use writing services in one post, essay writing services in another one, and professional writing services in a third one. You could even vary the keyword itself slightly, for example to writing assignments. Don’t include social media links in your bio. They distract from the one link you definitely want people to click—your landing page. A Facebook follower won’t help you anywhere near as much as a subscriber. A Photo Says More Than 1000 Words So far, we have only talked about words. But humans are highly visual creatures. That means, your photo is an important part of the impression you create. Every detail of your visual sends a message about you. It’s about more than being freshly shaved or what type of makeup you’re wearing or how your hair looks. For example, the background, the clothes you wear, and the camera angle are also important. 1. Take your photo either in front of a neutral background, or use a pleasant one like green trees. 2. Dress smartly. Depending on the impression you’re aiming for, you could either go with a suit jacket for men, or a more elegant outfit for women for a professional look, or you could wear clean, casual clothing to look more approachable. 3. Remember that a camera angle from high above makes you look less significant (less of an authority), while one from deep below might give the impression you are snooty. You will look best with the lens approximately the same height as your face. 4. Wear a friendly smile. Readers feel less of an urge to know more about a grumpy or sad blogger. Look confident and positive—your message is that you will be able to help people with your little gift! It’s a great idea to get a professional photographer to shoot your photo. If your image looks professional, the subtext is that you are a professional. And if you do get the chance to add an image, definitely use your photo and not a logo. People are intrigued by human faces, not little symbols they haven’t seen before. Adapting Your Bio to the Blog Your bio is most effective when you adapt it to the host blog. Firstly, the blog may have a word limit for your bio. If you have to cut the bio, always make your persuasive link a priority. If there is room for more words, add a fun or interesting fact that is relevant to the reader and to your field of expertise. Next, describe the advantage the readers of the specific host blog will get from your free goodie. Let’s say you’re giving away the free ebook “20 Great Writing Exercises.” If your guest post is about characterization, you could write in your bio “Learn to create mesmerizing characters with her free ebook 20 Great Creative Writing Tricks (download here).” But if your guest post is on dialogue, your bio would read “Learn to craft stunning dialogue with his free ebook 20 Great Creative Writing Tricks (download here).” Finally, if a blogger wants to change a detail in your bio, work it out with her. The bio is what you get in return for delivering a great article; basically, you should be allowed to write it as you want. However, it pays to stay flexible about every element of your bio. The only part you should absolutely insist on is the persuasive link to your landing page. I once added a joke to my bio that the blogger did not understand. She insisted on cutting it, so I just crossed it out. No offence meant. None taken. It’s not that hard to come up with a great bio—you just need a couple of carefully chosen phrases. Because a bio can be written quickly, the temptation is to rush it. Don’t do that. Take your time. Your bio will bring traffic to your landing page. Your landing page will convert readers into subscribers. You can then direct these subscribers back to your website whenever you want for free traffic. A well-crafted bio can bring you thousands of subscribers from one guest post. Not only will your traffic and popularity grow, but you will also have a subscriber list of potential customers and clients who are eager to hear from you. All because of the short block of text below the post—your bio. If someone asked you how to write a bio, what tips would you give them? Share in the comments! About the author: Alex Limberg is the founder of Ride the Pen, a creative writing blog dissecting famous authors (works, not bodies). Create intriguing stories with his free e-book download about “44 Key Questions” to test your narrative. Shakespeare is jealous.