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About your 'About Me'

As a writer and a writing coach, it's something I hear all the time. I've written the rest of my website but I just don't seem to be able to nail my About Me page. What do I leave in? What do I take out? Why doesn't it sound like me?

Why this is so important right now

We're working in a different climate. It's not uncommon to Zoom with someone in their living room or their bedroom - so we've swapped the familiar meeting backdrop of a whiteboard, coffee tray and annoying inspirational corporate quotes in frames for loud wallpaper, a battered Monopoly board precariously balanced on a shelf and a small child tattooing the cat with a green crayon.

This climate demands the kind of authenticity never required before. There is nowhere to hide. Your whole being is on show, which is why your About Me needs to have a broader scope than the certificates on your wall.

Why is it so important to talk about yourself anyway?

'People buy from other people, not businesses' we're told the moment we walk into a networking meeting. The need to be authentic and human fights with our urge to lay out our wares.

This is what I do, these are my qualifications, this is my experience and these are the clients I like to attract. I can help you too. That's what we want to say.

The plain matter is that we've not much time to grab the reader's attention on a website or social media platform. It's not like a meeting where everyone is going to hang around all morning. We've only got a few seconds to entice our audience to read on, to make an appointment, to click on our special offer. We've got to instil a feeling, build confidence and outline our uniqueness in just a few words. That's why it's important - and also why it's so darn difficult to do.

Don't be afraid to speak up

There are times when you need to blow your own trumpet because no-one else is going to blow it for you. But the thought of parping away in someone's ear might give you nightmares, which is why many people hold back from being proud and precise. Remember that your expertise might be just be someone else's joy - you might have just what they need to solve a problem they've been battling with for months. You owe it to the world to shout about what you do, otherwise, how are you going to make life easier and happier for your potential clients? It isn't all about you, you know.

Getting the right balance

Being known for what you do vs being known for who you are

It's not uncommon for me to completely overhaul the About Me area of a client's website. They've highlighted their qualifications and experience but they've said little about their professional approach and beliefs. I work with coaches and VAs quite a lot and for a service as personal as this, a client needs to know that you will be a best fit for them. That you'll be singing from the same song sheet. It's a massive commitment and a matter of trust to allow another human to fiddle around in your enterprise, so you want to make sure you've hired the right one.

But I can't say that about myself I hear.

Why not? I ask.

Is spirituality an important element in your life for example, or creativity? These things do not necessarily need to be kept off screen. If it's central to your story and an integral part of your existence, then consider making it part of your professional persona, even if it's very subtle.

Being like the others vs being not like the others

There are times when being part of the crowd is a good thing. For service identification it's handy for a client to know the field you work in. If you're a HR consultant, a client will know that they can come to you for advice about an employment matter and you won't instead offer them tips on flower arranging (unless of course that's your side hustle and they've got their niece's church wedding to prep for).

On the other hand, you need to stand out too. Many people fall into the trap of trying to be too much like the competition. It's working for them, perhaps it'll work for me. The problem here is that you'll lose your individuality, authenticity and unique edge. By all means, have a nosey around and see what everyone else is doing and pick up a few pointers but make up your own mind about how you want your audience to see you.

Remember, you owe them your extraordinary talent.

A few tips

  • Start with a word bank. Use my simple exercise to gather together the building blocks for a solid piece of writing about you and who you are.

  • Daydream - this is a really important part of the process, don't overlook it. Search for relevant inspirational pics and videos online, note down your responses. How do you want your clients to feel about you? About what you do?

  • Sell the sizzle, not the sausage. I go on about this a lot but think, what is your sizzle? A list of qualifications is all sausage so turn it into something enticing, comforting, life-changing.

  • Structure and plan. Start with a clear statement of benefit - what are you going to do to put things right for your client? Then talk about how you're going to do it, why they can trust you and what underpinning knowledge or training you have.

  • Let them see your passion and your humanity.

Be yourself

It's possible to feel like a stranger in your business and that's when you'll fall out of love with it. If you hire a writer, make sure they're your kind of person. They should take time to understand you and your business and offer a creative direction that goes along with your beliefs and vision. Don't be afraid to speak up if you're not happy because this is your show. A talented writer will craft a tone of voice and brand language that fits you perfectly. Don't accept anything less. And if you go it alone, acknowledge that this is a valuable process. It's not unusual for clients to reconsider their creative collateral and find themselves ready to rebrand after rewriting their About Me.

So, make it all about you. Go! Go!

I'm Amanda Fearn, a copywriter, brand language consultant and writing coach. Pick up a few tips from my other blog posts or reach out to me and we'll have a chat over a coffee.

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