5 Easy Tips to Create a Memorable Online Bio

    I’d started working with two new clients in the same week.

    This was a few years ago, when I was a blogging and social media consultant.

    They both asked me smart, insightful questions on the very first day—stuff that made me feel how lucky I was to be playing in their sandbox.

    “I want you to help me figure out who I am,” said one, an accomplished executive coach with a highly specialized, very cool niche, “and how to build an online identity that shows how unique I am.”

    I wanted to get up right then and there and do a backflip. (I didn’t, though. There wasn’t enough room in that particular Starbucks.)

    The other client, a leadership development trainer, said, “I want a bio for my blog, which shows my values and personality, complete with my crazy sense of humor.”

    Here were two people who clearly got how important it is to have a face and a unique voice on the web.

    Because—let’s face it—you are just a speck in the online galaxy.

    Every day, tens of millions of people are shouting for attention.

    And how you explain who you are and what you do will make your visitors want to either walk through your door, or run for the emergency exit.

    Why you need a memorable bio

    Did you know that your About page or online bio is often the second most-viewed page on your website or blog?

    It’s the first place your readers will go, if the content on your home page has impressed them. They want to know the real you. They want the story behind the business.

    A good bio can separate you from the masses and help you rise above About pages that are written in faceless corporate-speak.

    But writing a bio can be tricky.

    A bio can be a crazy hard thing to write.

    It can feel uncomfortable to talk about yourself.

    You don’t want to come across as self-centered, yet you want to capture your unique self in all its splendor.

    How do you write a bio that gets to the core of who you are and makes your readers want to get to know you better?

    Regardless of the audience you want to attract and your blog’s goals, smart use of writing techniques can make your bio—and you—unforgettable.

    5 tips for crafting a memorable online bio

    1. Share your backstory.

    In fiction writing, your backstory usually tells readers what they need to know about the character—experiences and events that shaped her, and impact her thinking and behavior as the story moves along.

    Whether you sell products or services, whether you blog or write books, people have a natural curiosity about your background and the experiences that brought you to where you are today.

    You might call this your backstory.

    I once helped a business coach write her bio. She told a story of going from “broke, busted and disgusted” to becoming an award-winning coach and nationally renowned speaker.

    It was an important story because it showed her readers that she gets what it means to be stuck, understands the barriers to growth, and knows how to get people on the road to living a life of passion.

    Your story helps us understand your personal journey, and we remember it long after the telling is over.

    2. Provide detail, appeal to the senses, and use ‘sticky’ words.

    When we read a good story, our brains are hardwired to remember it.

    A ‘sticky’ story is one the reader can’t get out of her brain because she is left with a picture in her mind.

    Think of the reader’s brain as Velcro. You want your words to stick, so she will remember them.

    Research shows that almost 60% people are visual learners; that is, they respond better to printed text and images. That is how they process and remember information. Try including some image-rich (“picture”) words in your bio.

    Let’s look at a couple of rewrites:

    Original:“I am working on finishing my first book.”

    Rewrite: “I am in a race to the finish line with my first full-length memoir.”

    Original: “I love reading, adopting animals and collecting antiques.”

    Rewrite: “In my spare time I love reading 19th century novels, preparing gourmet meals for stray cats and collecting those little snow globe thingies.”

    Do you see how adding details and using more image-rich words makes your bio more interesting?

    3. Choose unique and relevant personal facts.

    The best bio writers are not afraid to show us a little bit of their souls.

    They might tell you about something they have done that makes them unique.

    Or maybe their work is directly connected to a lifelong passion or some past experiences, which they share.

    But just as a story and a blog post must have a point, so should personal facts.

    Look at it from a storytelling angle, and pick relevant things to share.

    For instance, the fact that you had a job selling shoes the summer before your senior year of college holds no interest for your readers. Unless you learned an important lesson that summer that makes you better at what you do today.

    For the same reason, I don’t talk about my degrees in education in my bio. It mattered when I was looking for teaching positions, but not so much, now that I am an author.

    So skip the dull résumé. You want laser-focused information here.

    4. Make emotional connections with your readers. 

    You want the reader to think, “Yeah, that has happened to me, too,” or “I know just how she felt.”

    Leave the cardboard cutout at the doorstep. Let your readers in close and build an emotional connection with them.

    Just as we love reading stories with unique, lively characters, readers like getting to know the real you, quirks and all.

    When one of my clients replied to my bio questionnaire, he included a story about how he came to be a career specialist. He told the story of a near-death experience. On a backpacking trip, he lost his footing while crossing a stream, and was swept away into more turbulent waters. He came close to drowning.

    Normally, I’d think twice about including that in a bio. But this story showed clearly that his passion for helping people find the work that lights them up, came directly from this experience.

    Because, as he said to me, “There are no do-overs in life.”

    We kept it.

    5. Use humor if it fits your personality.

    Humor is also a good way to reach your readers on an emotional level.

    John Cleese, Monty Python actor and creator of Silly Walks, nails it:

    If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas.

    Here’s an example from my About page, which lists “7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me”:

    I can speak four languages.

    I know French, English, Spanish and Swahili. (I can only say “Four knives will be sufficient” in Swahili, but you never know when that will come in handy.)

     

    So how do you know if you’ve done your About page right?

    Your online bio should make the reader feel like they’ve met you.

    And having met you, they like you. And want to get to know you better.

    If you’ve got that, you’re off to a great start!

    What about you—have you ever been stuck writing your bio?

    Like this article? Please share it with your friends on social media 🙂

    About the author

      Judy Lee Dunn

      Judy Lee Dunn blogs at judyleedunn.com. Judy was a contributing author for the Amazon bestselling women’s memoirs anthology Seasons of Our Lives: Winter. Get her ebook How to Write an Unforgettable Online Bio here.

    • Daryl says:

      This very helpful. Thank you for sharing these tips. I have struggled with writing my bio. I never felt it was interesting or reflected ME. I have a better chance of accomplishing it now.

    • Debbie says:

      You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
      this topic to be actually something which I think I would
      never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
      I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    • Darwin Garing says:

      I guess I really need to update my bio….

    • web site says:

      I hardly comment, however i did a few searching and wound up here
      5 Easy Tips to Fix a Boring Online Bio | Write to
      Done. And I do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright.
      Could it be simply me or does it appear like a few of the responses come across
      like coming from brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are posting on other
      places, I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post.
      Could you list of all of your communal pages like
      your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    • Hi Bryan,

      Great question. There are a lot of variables at play in first vs third person decision. (My book devotes a chapter to voice, tone and style.) But the general rule is: use first person when you want to draw your reader in close and/or engage and start conversations, for instance on your blog. Use third person in more formal settings (think attorney or accountant).

      But there are a lot of other things to consider, like who your audience is and whether your site/business has other staff/team members whose bios will also be on the same page. Also, the venue/channel matters (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) I give some examples in my book.

      Hope that hasn’t confused you, but there is not a straight, “always works in all settings” answer.

    • Hey Judy,

      Great post.

      Can you tell me if you recommend writing bios in the first or third person?

    • Kevin,

      Haha. Didn’t mean to get you all depressed about the state of your bio. Hoping the suggestions in this post are helpful as you revise yours. Also, my full-length book has a step-by-step process for writing different kinds of bios (website/blog about pages, profiles for other social media channels, such as Twitter, etc.Best of luck to you!

    • OH….MY…well you know where I’m going. My bio sucks. I’m ashamed. No, haunted by how terrible my bio is. I haven’t even got around to reading the two spin off blogs.

      Thank you.

      It is 7:30 AM, I have to start work, which means it will be hours before I can my bio-hazard.

    • Karen Hoch says:

      Great article! I will share this with clients when writing bios for their sites.

      • Karen,

        Thank you! The full-length ebook (with the length in my bio) has much more in it, including a step-by-step process for writing different kinds of bios. Having been a business/marketing copywriter for several years, I know It’s always nice to have another resource to share with clients. Thanks again for the kind comment!

    • Marina says:

      Timely tips, thank you! I’m struggling with my bio…again.
      One thing I wanted to mention: the photo that was used in this post seems like a clear example of cultural appropriation. There’s got to be a better way to illustrate a point.

      • Marina,

        I’m delighted that this post had some useful information/tips for you and thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Also, thanks for sharing your thoughts and feedback on the photo. Although I wasn’t involved in choosing the photo for this particular post (and, to be honest, I had to look up the term “cultural appropriation”—thanks for educating me on that), I am quite sure that the intent was not to use elements of a minority culture in an inappropriate way. I imagine that the thinking was merely to find a photo that was related to the concept of an engaging bio: attention to detail, the idea of image-rich words, and the defining characteristics of “interesting.” You’ve helped me learn something new today. I always love it when that happens.

    • I know this web page offers quality depending articles
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    • Your tips are very similar to ones I’ve heard before, for creating a media kit.

      Thanks for sharing, and for reinforcing what I’ve been taught already! 🙂

      Oh, and nice to meet you, Judy Lee!

      • Lorraine,

        Yes, good media kits also focus attention on creating an engaging bio. There are definitely similarities. Thanks for reading and it’s a pleasure to meet you, too.

    • I updated my about me page. Thanks for the tips!

      • David,

        That’s great! Nice to see someone apply the tips in a post to make their own content better.

    • Petula,

      Thank you! Happy that you found this useful.

    • Petula says:

      Great post and advice. I’ll definitely be keeping this in mind and making changes as I edit my bio and about pages.

    • Hey Judy

      What a timely post – I plan to create my ‘About Me’ page for my new yet-to-be-launched website, and these tips definitely help!

      I enjoy bios that read like a story and a not a resume, so thank you for these wonderful tips! #HUGS

      Kitto

      • Krithika,

        You are very welcome. Glad I could help you along in your thinking. Have fun writing that bio!

    • AngeLeya says:

      This post is amazing! I always get stuck on the bio, wondering what to include and how to word it. This really clarifies and simplifies things for me. I’m reworking my website again, and have been wondering whether or not to add an about page, but this cinches it. THANKS!!!!!

      • AngeLeya,

        Wow, that’s great. I think you’ll find that your about page will let your readers in closer and they will feel more connected to you. Good luck!

    • I feel like I just unwrapped a present! OK, I will use image laden words and relevant personal factoids in my bio.

      Thank you SO much, Judy! I’m off to subscribe to your blog!

      • Beth,

        Very cool! And thanks for checking out my blog. I’m always excited to see a new reader on the Judy Lee Dunn blog’s front porch!

    • Sami Swan Thompson says:

      Great tips, Judy! Thanks for posting these. I’m currently trying to drag some members of my writing group into this century – I haven’t convinced them that they MUST make the move to computers and have an online presence if they expect to succeed in this business at all.

      I’m revamping our group’s page and preparing to launch my personal page. Your tips will be extremely helpful. I’ve bookmarked your blog, so I can return for more wisdom.

      Cheers,
      Sami

      • Sami,

        You know, in my experience, writers can be some of the most low-tech people I know. If I didn’t have my tech-savvy husband and biz partner to help me out, I’d probably be in the same boat. Best of luck with those personal and group pages!

    • Mick says:

      Thank you, Judy. This has come at a good time for me. I do not yet have a biographical page on my site, and have been intending to put one up soon. Now I can do it with your guidelines.

      • Mick,

        That’s good to hear. Wishing you all the best as you write that amazing bio.

    • Marcie says:

      These are all great tips on how to spruce up your bio. My eBooklet, How to Write a POWERFUL Bio, is a good resource for you. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/425049

    • I never thought of using pictures besides my author photo. I like the idea. The more I put myself out into the web, the more I realize I’m the product and not my book. Great advice

      • A.E.,

        For some strange reason, I have found that authors are sometimes mire challenged when it comes to bio writing. It is hard to describe ourselves to someone else, isn’t it? And, yes, picture words definitely make our ideas more ‘sticky.’ Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

    • Great advise here. I am getting back on track in blogging and my creative work, Photography updating my bio would be a great place to start!

      Thank you!

      • Jeff,

        I have found that a bio is a work-in-progress and I also tinker with mine from time to time. Have fun!

    • Neil; says:

      This post came at a perfect time. I was tinkering with the idea of revaming my bio. These tips will surely come handy.

      Neil

      • Glad this post came at the right time for you, Neil. Best of luck with those rewrites.

    • This is really a good piece of advice which you can use in your website or blog.
      Thanks for sharing.


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