Trout Fishing in America

Writing About Yourself Online

I’ve spent a lot of this week writing about people online — not about myself, but the kinds of things you might write about yourself. I’m happy to share some suggestions, in case you don’t have anyone to do it for you.

Treat your profile or About Us page like an article.

That is to say, you should have a main point to make and organize your data in support of that main point. I had the opportunity to redo a LinkedIn profile for a favorite client. I was able to brag on him without sounding like bragging because I just marshaled the facts into a readable and persuasive document.

This requires deciding on the main point you want to make and narrowing your focus. Use bullet points and bold letters to draw attention to the facts that support your thesis: “Ken sells 95+% of the homes he lists, while the metro average is 66%” is not a boast; it’s a fact.

Grouping those facts by topic (service awards here, sales figures there) makes your point more clearly than a long list.

Consider appropriateness.

I’ve been working with another favorite client on a website for a new branch of their business. Over the years, I’ve written all kinds of stuff for these guys, and I know what their clients love about them: huge parties, cool events, the best places to see and be seen. Their site receives millions of views every year, either because of my compelling content or because of the numerous pictures of half-clad women. I started out their About Us page with their usual USP, assuring everyone that they have been “rockin’ Chicago with great parties, hot ladies, and the best music…”

However, this new business is a limousine service. The very things that make these guys so popular in their other businesses cause their potential new customers and partners to think about paparazzi, car crashes, and vomit stains. Not the right mood at all. I corrected it.

When you write about yourself, you have to think about the intended audience and how you want them to see you. You may have different sides of your personality to show at different times, and that’s okay.

Match the medium.

My third example is yet another favorite client (yes, I do have a lot of favorite clients), who had a nearly naked page over at Spoke. You might have one over there, too — there are a lot of naked pages over there.

At LinkedIn, you can be a bit sales-oriented, on your About Us page you can do unabashed announcements of how great you are if that’s your style, but info pages need a neutral, unbiased “just the facts” approach. Spoke is okay with a bit of sass, but Wikipedia absolutely is not. These differences mean that you have to look around a bit and analyze the situation both to conform to the rules so your entry isn’t flagged, and also to make best use of the medium.

Can you add a video? Do so. Are links allowed? Make best use of the them. Can you import your RSS feed? Go for it. You won’t know what extra options you have if you don’t make the effort to find out.

If it’s hard for you to write about yourself — it is for a lot of people — I’ll be happy to do it for you. Contact us and we’ll take care of it.



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One response to “Writing About Yourself Online”

  1. Best of copywriting blogs: Week ending 19/2/12 | Thoughts on copywriting

    […] Writing About Yourself Online […]

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