How to Write a Bio That Gets Read

how-to-write-a-biographyIn this fast-paced world many people suffer from information overload, and understanding how to write a bio that gets read is more important now than ever. Lately, I have been coaching social media personalities as well as artists on how to write a bio, so I decided to share my writing tips with you.

The days are gone when we only relied on our boring resumes to emphasize our achievements. Unlike a resume, a bio is less formal. This gives you the opportunity to share your story, build trust and make a positive connection with the reader. Your bio should explain who you are, what you do, add a dash of your personality, and then leave the reader with confidence in you.

Whether you are an artist, designer, writer, or entrepreneur, a good bio is an important part of your promotional material.

Size matters:

No matter what size, your bio is a great branding opportunity, especially when you are in business for yourself!

Mini: You will need a mini bio for your social networks and for your ‘elevator pitch’. A few short sentences.
Short: A short bio needs to have all the components of a long one, but only highlights the very best. Short bios will be used for your blog, newsletter, interviews, brochures, magazines and query letters. Keep the short bio at 100 – 175 words or less – if it is too long, people won’t read it.
Long: A longer bio is generally used when you feel like you have a lot to say. For instance, you might want to use a longer bio on your ‘about me’ page of your blog or website. Keep the longer bio to a page in length and consider room for a picture.

Here are a few popular mini bio examples from my good friends on Twitter - p.s. you should be following them!!!

Ann_Tran_.jpg

Ann Tran@AnnTran_ Washington, D.C.
♥ Happily Married ♥ Spiritual Seeker. Enjoys Travel, Beaches, Wine, Hiking and Photographing Nature.
http://ann-tran.com/

Sarah_jayne_gratton_.jpg

Sarah-Jayne Gratton
@grattongirl London, United Kingdom
Sarah-Jayne (wife to @grattonboy) is an author, TV presenter and former actress. She is a social media persona and is one of ‘Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women’.
http://www.sarahjaynegratton.com

gardner.jpg

Sean Gardner
@2morrowknight Seattle, Washington D.C. and ✈
Social media at @SeeYourImpact | Contributor@Huffingtonpost @Smedio | Co-Creator #TwitterPowerhouses Series | Author, Do-Gooder, Surfer!☮♥ *Tweets are my own*
http://about.me/The2morrowknight

terri_nakamura_.jpg

Terri Nakamura
@terrinakamura Seattle
Graphic designer & fun person; likes humor, Apple, cool, interesting, design, art, business, tech, weird, pop culture & breaking news. #BA75; (e)NAK on #EAv
http://seattledesigner.blogspot.com/

Write for the reader:

Before you begin writing your bio, understand your reader or audience. I sometimes tweak my bio for different purposes, readers or clients.

Decide on first-person or third-person:

Popular opinion states that a bio is best when written in third-person (a narrative, using pronouns such as, he or she). If the bio is going to be used by others, third-person is definitely the best option.
There are times when a first-person bio (speaking about yourself, I am) might come in handy. My first-person bio has helped me easily introduce myself to live audiences during keynote addresses and webinars. You might also choose to use a bio written in first-person to personalize your blog.

Name:

Your name needs to be within the first sentence. This is the all-important introduction of you to the reader.

Tell about yourself:

State your business with confidence. Briefly highlight your achievements, awards and accomplishments and hook the reader. But be warned, don’t turn you’re your reader off with ego driven self-promotion.

Add a dash of personality:

Personal branding is just that – your personal, virtual personality. The purpose of your bio is to sell yourself by building authenticity and trust. Share your point of view, a bit of your interests, or what you care about.

Keep it simple:

Stay away fromflowery’ language that attempts to sound too sophisticated or grand. Make your paragraphs easy to read, and keep them short. Remember, most people are skimmers. According to the BBC, the attention span of the average web surfer is only 9 seconds.

Contact information:

Be sure and include your relevant contact information, email, websites, and hyperlink the content to your social media networks.

Add a Picture:

A picture is worth a thousand words, so sometimes you may want to add your picture or avatar to your bio. A friendly picture helps to humanize you to your readers. You can see my own short bio with my picture in the upper right-hand corner of this blog – Meet Lori McNee.

Proofread:

Get another set of fresh eyes to proofread your bio. Make sure to use spell-check and even consider an online grammar checker if needed.

Evolve:

Life is about change. You will grow and evolve and your bio should reflect that. Don’t be afraid to re-write your bio so it can evolve with you!

*****

Do you still have questions on how to write a bio, or you need some help? Check out these helpful websites or you can contact me for a consultation. ~Lori lori@lorimcnee.com Let’s also meet on TwitterFacebook and now on Google Plus  http://gplus.to/lorimcnee . To see my paintings, please visit http://lorimcnee.com

http://the99percent.com/tips/7025/The-Resume-Is-Dead-The-Bio-Is-King
http://www.beaconlit.com/longshortbios.PDF
http://www.writeabio.com/samples.htm

About Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Artist Ambassador to Arches/Canson/Royal Talens. As the owner of FineArtTips.com, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses. Lori is also a member of the CBS Entertainment Tonight & The Insider Tweet Team.

Comments

  1. Dear Lori,

    It’s an honor to be included in this post. I don’t know if followers realize SOME people read bios and determine whether to A) follow them or B) investigate further by perusing their Twitter feed or C) clicking the link to their blogs, websites or other links—the ultimate bonus!

    When the bio is poorly written, full of typographical errors or swear words, it makes me feel like the writer didn’t care. So what would it be like to read their tweets? Probably more of the same!

    Also, when people write a bio that has absolutely no relationship whatsoever to what they tweet, it’s not only misleading — it’s disappointing! One person I recently followed was supposed to be “funny,” but so far all of his tweets have been very UNFUNNY. I scratch my head and wonder…

    Anyhow, at least in my case, WYSIWYG!

    Thank you again, Lori.

    Cheers/Hugs and hope to see you again soon!

    Terri

    • Hi Terri,

      I am busily catching up on blog comments tonight and am happy to see you here! Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Adding your bio along with the other interesting people really helped illustrate the article. I am so glad you enjoyed it. Your added insights are really helpful too. I hope others read this comment thread.

      Good to see you and Happy 2012~
      Lori :)

  2. Thank YOU for including me! I enjoy working with you and look forward to meeting you IRL in the near future.

    –Ann

  3. Some really great tips and advice here Lori. Your bio, elevator pitch and profile are the most important factor of your online visibility. I would also add that professionals start thinking about adding ‘video’ to their About pages. This is a powerful way to really connect to your audience. Keep it short, maybe 1 or 2 minutes. And then don’t forget to add that optin option for your visitor to easily sign up for continuing communcations.

    • Hello Lynn,

      Your comment got buried, and I apologize for that. Thanks for the added thoughts and valuable tips. This thread has a lot of great feedback! Have a Happy 2012 and I hope you visit again.

      Lori

  4. This is a super article on how to write a bio, Lori. I think people love seeing examples such as the ones you included for mini bios. I’ve added your article to my list of recommended resources on my Squidoo lens http://www.squidoo.com/howtowritebio

    And thank you for including my website http://www.writeabio.com as a reference. I really appreciate your recommendation!

  5. hi,your art work touch my heart so please
    tell me that

  6. Hi Lori,

    Very helpful posts and resources. One thing I would add is to showcase the WOW you deliver and for whom so readers can know immediately that they have landed in the right place. This is especially important if attracting clients is at the top of your priority list. And if you have a lot of initials beside your name, make sure they are universally understood and meaningful to the average reader. Otherwise, you may have folks reaching for the dictionary instead of the telephone.

  7. i loved the article. you are even helping and advertising your friends. i would say you have shown a lot of person branding through this article. thanks for such a great article.

  8. Thank you for including me in this post. You have the most helpful posts on your blog. I am still working on updating my bio and about me page. I hope to have it up soon.

    –Ann

  9. Hi Lori,
    Great post! All the points mentioned are very helpful and I agree with all of them.
    Thanks for sharing your insights! Making some changes in my bio right away :)

  10. Great article! Thank you for all the information!

  11. Lori, thank you for all the insight. I am new to the blog world and find all this information helpful.

  12. Hi there, would anyone be able to help me with proof reading my bio as that is the first step of packaging and understanding the author… I would really appreciate if anyone can proof read and suggest some changes…

    Harry Kross aka Hari Kishore was born in India and has completed Software Engineering and when I’m not writing, I’m a full time busines analyst. A travelling enthusiast. My story is one of loss, secrecy and truth; and ultimately faith and redemption.You would be able to catch the author at http://www.facebook.com/authorhk

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