Five Steps for Writing an Engaging Bio (with template!)
It’s easy to talk about ourselves, so why is it so hard to write about ourselves?
If you’re like most people, writing a bio can be an intimidating, awkward exercise that commonly results in some frustration and frequent taps on the backspace key. And while it may be difficult to figure out what you want others to know, a captivating bio prominently displayed on your website and social media profiles gives readers a quick glimpse into the kind of professional (and person!) you are.
In the age of social media and reviews, you can’t just be a good lawyer anymore. You have to be good at talking about it. Here’s where to start.
The first step to take when writing a killer bio is to do some research. Look at the biographies of respected attorneys in your field or even your favorite author or successful entrepreneurs. Simply reading how others crafted their bios is a great way to draw inspiration and find out what you want – and don’t want – to include in yours. Also, make sure you’re looking in multiple places like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s helpful to see how people use different platforms and a limited number of characters to their advantage.
Now it’s time to grab the pen and paper. This sounds like a no-brainer, but start by writing down your name, job title and firm information. Then list five to eight things you’d like to include. Some topics to consider include:
1. Prior work experience
2. Recent recognition
3. Community service
4. Family facts
5. Hobbies or interests
The most important thing to remember when making your list is to keep your audience in mind. Write for your clients, not your fellow attorneys. Your bio shouldn’t be a resume, but rather a narrative. What do you want them to know about you? Maybe you’ve won an award or been recognized in a publication recently. Or maybe you’ve been selected to a Super Lawyer’s list. People want to know they’re working with a reputable and trustworthy professional. Makes sure that shines through, along with your personality.
Stand out and get noticed.
Make sure you capture all of your experience, major accomplishments and your human side, but be brief about it. Don’t use this space to go in-depth about your life as a law student or a specific case you won. People don’t want to spend a lot of energy reading about you when they’re searching online, so respect their time. A good rule of thumb is to keep your bio under 300 words. It’s enough to cover the important details without losing a prospect to a page full of text.
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio uses his bio to discuss current and past work, professional accomplishments and some personal tidbits all in under 300 words.
The point of your bio is to give people a reason to contact you, right? Provide them with an easy way to get ahold of you. Have your email or phone number prominently displayed so prospects can get in touch with you directly.
In this example, Scott offers two different ways to get ahold of him directly. While you may only want to provide a phone number to your firm’s front desk, a clear call to action should be present next to your bio.
Don’t let the time you spent writing an engaging bio go to waste. While your prospects will appreciate reading about you, they also want to see you. Include a professional headshot so people can put a face to your name. Poet Rupi Kaur brings bright colors to her headshot to call attention to her bio.
Another thing to remember: maintain it! Your bio isn’t something you only write once. As a successful professional, your career is continually evolving so don’t let your bio go stale. Put a reminder on your calendar every six months to review your content and see what kind of information you can add to it.
Get to it
You know the steps; now it’s time to start writing. Follow these tips as you begin on your adventure to create a compelling biography prospects will want to spend time reading.