Kathleen here. I was recently checking out my Google Analytics and it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that aside from our home page, the most visited page on our website is our “about” page.
After all, your “about me” page is the first place people go to get a glimpse of who you are, what your expertise is, and if they’re in the right place to find what they’re looking for. Your about page sets the tone for what the reader can expect if they continue to read your blog, sign up for your newsletter, or even hire you.
Your “about me” page sets the tone for your entire brand.
With that in mind, open a new tab and go take a look at your “about me” page with fresh eyes. Are you saying what you mean? If you were to read it out loud does it sound like you? Are you leaving the first impression you want to make? Is it memorable?
If you think your “about me” page could use an update or refresh, we’ve got a few ideas for you. These are the things we keep in mind as we’re writing brand stories for our own clients or coaching them through the content they should include on their own “about me” page.
Our favorite trick for writing an “about me” page is to pretend as if you’re writing a letter from the editor. At the beginning of every magazine there is a letter from the editor that shares the theme of the month, why they chose that theme, and perhaps a few personal behind-the-scenes tidbits. That’s exactly what you want to do for your brand and business! So try it out! Here are a few prompts to get your started:
You might be tempted to include a typical headshot, but consider including a candid at-work or day-in-the-life-of image. Just one image can tell an entire story!
Your letter from the editor should feel personal and engage your reader on a more emotional level. But let’s say you’re a coach with lots of credentials, a speaker with an impressive roster, or a designer that wants to note client work or awards – if you want to include those things in your about me page, consider including a more “professional” bio after your letter from the editor. This can include your experience, education, credentials, proof of expertise, and notable press or features.
If you have lots of content to share, consider including your “best hits” on your about me page. This is the stuff you absolutely want someone new to your page to read first so they can get to know you even more. Include a variety of your best content with a brief description of what your reader can expect when they click through to your next level of content. Pro-tip: include your best hits in your newsletter auto-responder.
If you’re still struggling to say what you do, we have a little extra something for you – download this worksheet straight from our Braid Method Branding ECourse that will give you a formula and script to help you say what you do in a really concise way. You can then take that “positioning statement” and pad it out into a full brand story or “about me” page using the tips from this blog post.
And P.S. We’ll be live on Facebook Friday at 1PM central time to chat more about how you can update your “about me” page to better reflect your brand and business vision as a creative entrepreneur. Like us here and tune in then!
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Kathleen here thinking about how it’s so hard for creatives to describe what they do in just one or two words. I’ve been there! I wear a lot of hats: co-owner, designer, writer, brand strategist, podcaster, coach, consultant, and speaker – just to name a few. So it’s really hard to sum up what I do in just one or two words.
If you don’t know what to call yourself or how to concisely describe what you do, you have a branding problem.
Because when you don’t know how to concisely describe what you do, your potential clients will feel confused as to how they can hire or engage with you, your existing customers will have a hard time referring you to their friends, and search engines will have a hard time recommending you to people who are looking for the skills you possess.
One of the easiest ways to say what you do is to first think about someone familiar with your work. Then ask “how would they describe what I do?”
So I just literally asked my husband how he describes what I do to his co-workers, for example, to see how he simplifies what I do. He said “branding consultant and podcaster.”
Do you over-explain? Ask someone who knows you to describe the work you do. Their label might just surprise you with its simplicity.
Now, once you are able to say what it is you do, you can then follow up with all the ways you are different or “more than just” whatever your title is.
But for now – if you’re a web developer, call yourself a web developer. If you’re a brand strategist, call yourself that. If you are a life coach, call yourself a life coach.
One of the Braid Method branding exercises we take our clients through asks them to pretend they’re eavesdropping on a conversation in a coffee shop—let’s say, between a client and their friend—and imagine this client talking about the experience they had working with you:
When you imagine this conversation, think about the specific words, benefits, and objections that are coming up. This will help you with your own positioning.
Here are a few fill-in-the-blanks to get you started on this exercise:
“Oh I just love _____ because of the way she _____.”
“She’s not just a _______ she’s more like a _______.”
“You might think she’s a _______ but she’s also a ______.”
“I don’t think she understands how amazing she is at _______.”
“She not only helped me _____ but also really gave me _____.”
One of our other favorite ways of getting to the heart of what you are is clarifying what you aren’t. This is especially useful in industries or titles that include a lot of different functions.
So for example, let’s say you’re a web developer. Some people might think that includes branding, writing, strategy, SEO, social media, and ongoing maintenance. Do you actually do all those things?
"It's hard describing 'all the things' you are. Start with listing what you know you're absolutely not."
Try this branding exercise: a line in the sand. Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left hand side write “I AM” and on the right hand side write down “I AM NOT”. Make a laundry list of all the things you do and don’t do accordingly. (Bonus! You can also include personality traits on this list.)
Now, is there anything on the “I AM NOT” side that you get asked to do all the time? Or is there anything on the “I AM” side that you feel like you aren’t getting enough attention or credit for? If so, this is a branding and positioning problem. You might need to get more clear about how you describe what you do, clarify your offering, or even make a shift in the customer you’re trying to target with your offer.
Okay! Now that you have a little more clarity around what to call yourself and what you do (and what you don’t do), you’ll want to do inventory on all the places your brand exists and make sure you are clearly saying what you mean in all those places:
If you’re having a hard time committing to the simple job title or description you’ve given yourself, I feel you. So here’s where I want to tell you that context matters. The design of your website, your own personal style, and the words you say before and after you introduce yourself online and offline will all play into how someone perceives your brand and what you do. So as you’re doing inventory on your words you might think about what the rest of your brand says about you too.
Did you find this exercise helpful? Be sure you're signed up for our Letters for Creatives for more tips and exercises in your inbox. Plus! We'll be holding monthly webinars to share more branding tips + exercises with you live. More details and sign up information will go out in our newsletter, so make sure you're on the list to stay up to date!
LETTERS for CREATIVES
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Kathleen here. When I was in college I worked at a fabric store. It was my job to cut bolts of raw material for people who were sewing curtains, covering a couch, or creating their own wardrobe. It was creative, fun, and I learned a lot about construction, design, and I got really good at calculating fractions and decimals and eye-balling yardage. So one day this woman comes into the store and asks a couple of my co-workers and I if we would be interested in helping her redecorate her entire house. We were excited at the opportunity but there was no clear objective, boundaries, or transactional exchange. We wound up half-heartedly designing this woman's entire house for free. It's the first time I can really recall feeling taken advantage of in a really unfair way—lesson learned. Except not...
I've had to re-learn this lesson over and over again since working for myself. Earlier in my career, I've been hired to do things that have made me feel at best, in-over-my-head and at worst, completely resentful and stressed out. All because I was still too unclear of my own brand and business vision to say no or put solid boundaries in place.
BRAND CONFUSION CLUTTERS UP BUSINESS BOUNDARIES
Listen, a lot of us creative entrepreneurs who border on being Type A control freaks (I see you) are good at A LOT of things. In fact, we can do or figure out just about anything—it's what makes us confident enough to wear so many hats as solopreneurs. So it's hard to say no when you need cash and desperately want to make a living working for yourself – or when you simply want to please the client you've grown to really like – or when you want to close the deal on that rad project that is just barely out of your scope of expertise. In reality, I'm sure there are a lot of things you won't do for money (Indecent Proposal, anyone?), but if you're confused about your own brand and business vision, it's easy to accidentally fall into situations where you're doing work you don't really want to be known for.
“If you're confused about your own brand, it's easy to fall into doing work you don't want to be known for.” (Tweet this)
For years, Tara and I have been helping creatives get underneath what their brand is all about, and we learned early on that asking what they ARE NOT all about is a great way to get clear on who they are and what they want to be known for.
So ask yourself this: what will you NOT do for money? Look at your "about me" page or your "how to hire me" page on your website – is there anything about it that might confuse people into thinking you do something that you don't?
NEED MORE BRAND CLARITY?
We’ve created a free e-book: 7 Ways to Brand You & What You Do to help you get clear of your own brand and business vision. This workbook includes seven chapters + lots of brand exercises that will help you understand how to share your vision, create the work you actually want to be doing, narrow in on your dream client, and create a process that your clients respect.
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