Describing yourself or your brand in a way that really sells can be a daunting task. It’s easy to get mired in names, dates, events, influences, history, and other details, while neglecting the more compelling aspects of your story.
Your website bio needs to interest your fans, offer value to industry folks, and give journalists and bloggers the info they need to write glowing reviews about you. You want to make it as easy as possible for a reviewer to grab the important and intriguing bits about your project. The easier you make it, the less work they have to do. And that’s a good thing.
There are two basic elements to a successful bio: The Facts and Your Story.
Figure out what needs to be said and say it. Using bullet points or subject headers will make it easier for someone to scan the page and grab what they need. If you want to expand information you can use hyperlinks to send the curious to external pages. The only rule here: be brief and get to the point. You want to keep your website bio no longer than a page.
The Facts You Need:
- Mission statement (One or two sentences saying who you are and why you are doing what you are doing.)
- The people (This might just be you. A music project would probably list all the band members.)
- Major accomplishments (List a few shining moments. Could be a performance, an award, or achievement.)
- A quote or two from a notable media source.
- Your contact info (Linking to a form or contact page is fine.)
- Timeline ([blank] was formed in 1999, etc.)
At the heart of any great bio is a story. A good story is something that both your fans and reviewers will be compelled to pass along. It’s not only valuable for your bio, it’s something that should always be on the tip of your tongue when someone asks you about what you do.
Hint: Your story already exists. You just need to find it.
Another Hint: Many of your facts may be part of your story. Feel free to sprinkle them in.
Finding Your Story
A story, in its simplest form, is simply a problem and a resolution. Here’s a made-up example:
“We wanted to start a bluegrass band but there were no fiddle players in our town. So, we paid for my little brother to take fiddle lessons, and a year later the Tweed Brothers were born.”
Pretty simple, right?
Problem: Need fiddle player
Resolution: Trained little brother to play fiddle.
What problem, issue, or conflict is at the heart of your project and how are you endeavoring to find resolution? This can be approached from many different angles. Here are a few examples:
“I wrote ‘The Forgotten Ones’ because I was appalled by what I saw going on in the welfare system.”
“I needed a way to express my views on the universe and music proved the perfect medium.”
“I was in love with a computer programmer who broke my heart. ‘Computer Love’ was a project that allowed me to create and heal at the same time.”
“We wanted to address most-modern dilemmas in a lighthearted way. We thought a web comic was the perfect solution.”
If you can describe your story in a sentence, then it should be a piece-of-cake to expand it to a paragraph. Just fill in the details.
A few things to remember:
- Don’t be too referential. Avoid name dropping too much, and only mention influences that are highly notable.
- Update your bio now and again with your more recent accomplishments and reviews, lineup changes, etc.
- Have at least a few people proofread your bio. Fix those spelling or grammar mistakes. Make sure it reads well out-loud.
- Use hyperlinks. Your bio should only be a page, but provide additional info for those who are curious. You can link to album reviews, photos, tracks to listen to, other websites, etc.
- Get right to the story. Don’t dilly-dally with too much introduction. Cut out the fluff and get right to the action.
- Add a photo to your bio page. A picture is worth a thousand words (or more).
Do you have a killer website bio? Are you trying to write one? Share a link in the comments below.