Haley Rae knows a thing or two about branding. After all, she’s one of the creative minds behind The Inspiration Lab’s website, workbooks, and more. As a marketing maven and a design wiz with her own boutique firm, Studio Wilde, she’s well-versed in what it takes to establish your personal brand. One of those key components: a carefully crafted bio. Here Haley gives insight on the types of bios, along with examples and tips to inspire you to perfect your own.
Ah, the dreaded bio.
You might not look forward to writing one for yourself, but we all have a favorite bookmarked somewhere. You know, that one bio you stumbled upon and said aloud, "This girl gets me — I know we'd be friends in real life."
Your own bio can connect with people in that way too. The first step is deciding what kind of bio you're ready to attempt. I've classified bios into three styles: The Snack, The Meal, and The Buffet. Today we're going to take a look at each style up close.
Keep in mind, when done right, a bio will attract and repel. It's going to reel your ideal client in closer and subtly suggest everyone else keep it movin'. The perfect match is out there for every client and we want to make it easy for people to find what they're looking for.
1. The Snack
If the thought of writing about yourself gives you acid reflux, start here with the short and sweet bio. You can still attract your ideal clients without writing a novel, but you'll need to be more intentional with your words. If you’re hesitant to write anything personal, think of it this way: It doesn’t need to be intimate; it just needs to be human. We’re all looking for connection and just telling me you like lattes probably won’t strike a chord. What obstacles have you overcome? What made you realize you wanted to do what you do?
Jasmine Star quickly takes us on her journey and lets us see behind the curtain. She makes a human connection without revealing anything too intimate, which is probably what’s comfortable for her. She tells us how she got her start and even introduces us to a couple people close to her, painting a picture of some of her values.
2. The Meal
We've all read long-form bios. These are perfect if you're comfortable telling your journey in detail and the story really connects with your readers. But long-form bios can be hard to get through if you don't make them easily digestible. One way to do this is by breaking the bio up into smaller sections with headers.
Marie Forleo starts us off with a one-liner, goes into her background, and gives us the full back story on how she got to where she is today. We get to see a few things she enjoys, like hip hop and writing, and then she moves into a separate part of her bio: her values/beliefs and how they connect to her audience. Not only does her ideal audience get a pretty good idea of who she is, they likely feel seen by her because she talks about her struggles, how she overcame them, and how she now serves people. Her bio is lengthy, but easy to read because it’s broken into sections with page breaks and different sized headers.
3. The Buffet
These are my favorite and, if you ask me, the most successful. The Buffet bio is when you offer a short bio at first and then invite the reader to dig into the long-form version if they want to learn more.
Beth Kirby gives us the gist upfront and invites us to read her full story if we're up for it. Her snack-sized bio tells her reader enough to decide if they want to get to know her more. Further down the page, she goes into detail about her journey and how she ended up where she is now. And she even gives us a “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) version, which tells you everything you need to want to fly to Tennessee and “accidentally” run into her at Whole Foods, chat over coffee, and casually become best friends.
The Big Picture
I hope you noticed something consistent in these three bios: These women are not afraid of celebrating their wins. They talk about the empires they’re building, the hurdles they’ve jumped, and the lives they're impacting. When you celebrate your success, it gives others permission to do so too. It positions you as an authority, the go-to in your field, and someone who others can trust. Jasmine, Marie, and Beth all gave us peeks into their lives in ways that were comfortable to them. They each went into varying depths about their journey and how they serve their audience. Each of them either attracted or repelled you as a potential client/Instagram follower/hypothetical new Whole Foods bestie.
Give it a go!
You can create this kind of attraction in your own bios too! Here are a few tips and topics to consider as you get started:
Tell your transformation story. Write about the moment everything shifted for you, when your purpose became clear, what you decided to do about it, how you made it happen. Write it all out. You don’t have to use the whole thing in your actual bio, but it will help you outline what your bio will eventually say.
What are you known for? What are things your friends come to you for?
What are you passionate about? If you remember my post about refocusing on your brand, I wrote about defining your values. Your bio is a good place to sprinkle those in.
What are your hobbies/pastimes/things you love to do? If you’re stuck, go through your camera roll; I bet you’ll see a pattern.
What do you do? Who do you help? How do you help them? Here’s a good exercise to fill in those blanks.
This exercise should get you going and you can elaborate as much or as little as you’d like. Remember, we’re all looking for connection points, things we have in common with someone. We all have a message and your bio is the introduction to yours.
You can’t spell “message” without “mess,” so don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a little of yours.