Whether I’m pitching a client to write an opinion piece, speak at a conference or suggesting a trend to a features writer, inevitably the first question I will be asked (if I’ve not already included as part of my pitch format) is “Can you send me their bio” and they want it immediately.
It is surprising how many businesses have been going for years where the key stakeholders don’t have a biography on file when in my opinion, this should be one of the first assets you create for your media toolkit. Or, if they do already have a bio, it tends to be a bit dull and I’m bored halfway down the list of all the professional accomplishments.
As part of any comms strategy, I will spend time with the key stakeholders for an informal interview to ask about them both personally and professionally. Done right, your bio isn’t just a boring tool for promoting yourself and your business, it is part of your personal brand which journalists, new business prospects and customers will engage with.
Here are my top tips to writing a kickass business biography:
Tip One: Tell me everything
Generally, entrepreneurs fall into two camps, wanting to share absolutely everything OR fearing they don’t have enough to say. To begin with, write down everything because not only is this a useful exercise to uncover all your forgotten talents and experience but because it may also unearth something different that you can build on. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What skills do you have that are relevant to this business?
- What are your relevant academic or professional qualifications?
- What is your industry experience?
- Any other strengths to highlight
- Do you have a quirky hobby and/or habit?
Tip two: The red pen
Going through all of this information which is the most important. Rank the different points as to what are the most relevant. And start your cull of what might be irrelevant for your first draft. (Keep a long-form version of everything for future use and to keep updating).
Tip three: What’s your name and where do you come from
Cilla Black always nailed a good intro. Having read some monstrosities out there it’s worth flagging to start simply and with the basics. Your name and where you currently work or some examples of who you currently work for if you are freelance.
Tip four: Add a personal detail
Back to those interesting hobby or habits. As mentioned earlier, people relate better people who are personable so consider adding an interesting titbit. It gives the reader something to care about and might spark a wealth of opportunities.
Tip five: Keep it succinct
Bonus points if you can keep it down to less than 150 words but absolutely no more than 250. If you start putting too much information down, it actually distracts from you as an expert. You may struggle to keep it short and want to include everything but remember people don’t remember long bios, they get bored by them. You can always link to your website to encourage people to find out more.
Lastly, remember your bio is not a one size fits all template, it will need to evolve dependant on which platform or business is using it. But having one master biography on file stands you in good stead.
Increasingly, business owners and key business stakeholders need to kickstart their own personal branding and learning how to hype yourself is key. To get the building blocks in place to do this, make sure at the very least you have a kick-ass biography on file and update it regularly. People want to relate the real person behind the business and a strong biography are the foundations of this.
She also consults for innovation, marketing and public relations consultancies, building their go-to market strategies, raising CEO profiles and developing their thought leadership. Lucy uses her own profile to demonstrate how other small businesses can do their own publicity
and has written a ten-day e-learning course for Highbrow called How to get press for your business. She was recently shortlisted as a finalist for Growth Business Enabler from Startups.co.uk. Her first book “Hype yourself: A no-nonsense DIY PR toolkit for small businesses” is launching in January 2020.
Latest posts by Lucy Werner (see all)
- How to write a great business biography (And why you need one) - March 6, 2019
- Get better at talking about your start-up to journalists - October 30, 2018
- Own a startup? You don’t have to hire a PR firm - August 5, 2016