Your short bio follows you everywhere. It is prominently displayed on your firm’s website, proposals and any articles you get published. However, there is a knack to writing a bio which makes the right impact. In this blog post, here is our guide to help you decide on what needs to be included, and more often than not… ditched!
1. Keep it short and sweet
Less is definitely more. You only have seconds to grab someone’s attention – whether they are meeting your fee earner online or your PR agency is trying to pitch them to a journalist or editor. If you try and bundle the kitchen sink into your firm’s bios, for example… “so & so is a coach, consultant, speaker, author…”, it will damage their credibility and also switch people off. For example, if your fee earner is qualified to do many things, try and crystallise that down to the headline. What value do they deliver to your clients?
2. Keep the basic bio to a simple structure
The basic bio, which will be used on author credits, and in pitches to editors, and on proposals needs to have the following structure:
One sentence which states up to three things about who you are. E.g.
Heather Townsend is a performance improvement specialist for professional services, widely published writer and social media expert.
A paragraph qualifying your credibility:
Heather, in the last decade has worked with over one hundred partners, coached and trained over 1000 lawyers, accountants and other professionals at every level, in the UK’s top and most ambitious professional practices. She is the UK’s foremost expert on how business people can build meaningful and profitable relationships via social media. She has been commissioned to write on key business topics by the Financial Times.
3. Qualify, qualify, qualify
By the way, writing the qualifying paragraph is tough. It’s actually easier to write this for someone else. Perhaps you could get your team together to brainstorm what everyone could write here. You need to strip out any marketing messages and ‘prove’ why you are what you say you are – and why you are credible. I wanted to say in my paragraph something like this:
“Heather is one of the very few people who understands both the commercial, leadership and people issues facing a professional practice”.
But, that’s not qualified and is marketing spin.
4. Use keywords & links
The online bio goes every where… at the bottom of articles make sure that you have links to the firm’s websites. Hyperlink the keywords back to the firm’s website.
5. Use a colour professional photos
People want to see the real persona – and even better if you can get a short video clip shot of each of your team members. Whilst your black and white picture may look very arty, your audience wants to see you.
6. Have multiple versions
Twitter restricts you to 160 characters, LinkedIn let’s you write an essay. By the very nature of the multiple uses of a bio, you need to have multiple versions of online bios for each of your fee earners, depending on the medium, and the different types of clients you regularly target. For example, if your team regularly does both private and public sector work, have the team write two different bios – one emphasising their credibility in the private sector, the other emphasising their credibility in the public sector.
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