You have a lot of choices in this day and age, as you build your digital-copywriting business… and one of those choices is whether you’ll create your own business website.
When you leave a networking event with a raspy voice from having had so many conversations, or your fingers cramp from having sent so many emails out to prospects… you may find yourself wishing you had your own website to direct people to – one that more easily generates the leads you desire for your writing business.
Yet, one challenge consistently trips up copywriters when they sit down to work on their website: the About page. How do you talk about yourself and all you can offer in a genuine way, that doesn’t feel like bragging and effectively gives interested prospects a final push to become a client?
I, too, face this struggle.
Writing your About page can make you question your whole identity as a writer.
I find myself wondering, “Do I want to write copy to persuade others to take the next step? Or, do I prefer content that serves as a source of information with a dash of persuasion? Should I do both?”
Those kinds of questions can lead to other more doubt-filled questions: “Do I really have the experience to make this work? What exactly am I offering clients that will make them choose me?”
Grappling with my writing identity always leaves me tongue-tied, unable to talk confidently about myself. Not so good, when you’re trying to write an engaging, persuasive About page.
I figure I’m not the only writer facing this issue.
So, I reached out into the copywriting field to ask several experts – people I view as role models.
Here are the experts I approached on the tricky challenge of writing an About section:
- Danielle Hughes
- Lisa Mullis
- Ilise Benun
- Terri Trespicio
- Nick Usborne
- Katie Yeakle
Talking to these amazing experts left me with a new problem: So many ideas. Too many gems of wisdom to choose from. And not enough space to do them all justice.
But, like a miner panning for gold, I sifted through the wealth of information to draw out the biggest, highest-value advice I plan to apply to my own About page… and that I would like to pass on to you.
The About Section’s Role and Why It Matters
The experts universally agreed the About section on a website is very important. Danielle Hughes and Lisa Mullis rank the About section as the second most-visited web page on a copywriter’s website.
Your About page’s goal is to introduce your human side. It needs to answer the unspoken question prospects have: “Who is this person I’m going to be working with?”
“People are hiring people, when it comes to services and products, too,” Mullis says.
Your About page also gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to write in an engaging and persuasive way. Terri Trespicio puts it as a “chance to show your feathers.”
In a Zoom interview, Ilise Benun assured me your About page doesn’t have to be long. You only need to “say enough to start a conversation,” she said.
How you write your About page will set the tone of future conversations. That piece of wisdom came from an email exchange with Katie Yeakle.
View your About page as your chance to clearly describe the types of clients and people you want to work with. Use it to cultivate a connection with your audience that you’ll build on in future conversations.
Knowing the purpose of your About page is just the first step…
Applying Style and Voice to Your About Page
As a writer, you know your word choices matter. The structure you use, the voice you bring to your copy… it all adds up to influence your reader.
But, what’s the right way to write your About section, so it strikes the right note with your dream clients?
“I don’t believe one size fits all,” Hughes remarks. She explains the style and voice of your About page will depend on your audience and your goal.
Let’s dig in a bit into different About page styles.
What Style Will Work Best for Your About Page?
Writing an About page isn’t a one-size-fits-all process.
In fact, Benun teaches three styles in her FastTrack to Pro: 21-Day Challenge (a class I found informative and motivating in how to use LinkedIn to meet prospects). These styles, in brief, are:
- I know the industry – share how you connect to your client’s industry
- I know what you need – share how well you understand your client’s pain points and how you can help relieve those pain points
- I am multi-niched – share your diverse background and how your experiences tie into the services or products you want to provide your client
Experts also have to talk about themselves. For example, Mullis began her business, Paraphrase Communications, as a solopreneur. Since then, she’s acquired a team to keep her business moving.
Mullis’s About page is an umbrella. The first part talks about Paraphrase Communications as a company. This section then narrows to highlight Mullis herself, where she talks about being the principal writer for the company. As she transitions from talking about her company to talking about herself, she moves seamlessly from “we” to “I” language.
Let’s talk about point of view, specifically first person singular versus first person plural. Which should you choose?
The answer, Nick Usborne shared, is, “It depends.”
Singular or Plural
Just a quick dust-off of the basics… first person singular means writing from your individual perspective, so you’ll use “I” fairly frequently. First person plural means writing from the perspective of a company or group, meaning it’s more common to use “we.”
For the most part, the experts agree first person singular is the best. Your About page’s goal is to flesh out the person behind the business, so writing about yourself as an individual just makes sense.
“You want to be yourself,” Hughes advises. “Don’t pretend to be who you’re not.”
If you use first person plural, you may create the impression your business has more than one person behind it. And, Hughes describes “I” language as a means of having a more effective conversation with a single prospect, while “we” language, in her opinion, creates a wall.
But, what if you do have a team of writers, rather than a solo freelance business?
Circling back to Mullis, she began solo, but then her company grew. She crafted her About page to talk about the business and then herself. It works, because it’s honest and transparent.
That goes to the heart of what Usborne meant by, “It depends.” How you write your About page should reflect your specific circumstances.
It’s important how your About page portrays you, because you’re giving your audience a lens to see through, as Trespicio says.
Now that we’ve explored styles and voices, let’s look at some dos and don’ts for About pages.
About Page Dos and Don’ts
When I asked each of the experts for their personal dos and don’ts, I received so many good responses. I’ve highlighted some of the most important information from each expert.
Ilise Benun: Being specific helps. You should say clearly who you write for and what specific niche you serve or specialty you have.
Katie Yeakle: Your goal is to have the reader walk away with confidence in you.
Danielle Hughes: Flesh out the writer [you] and what it’s like to work with you.
Nick Usborne: Give your reader what they expect.
Lisa Mullis: Write a robust About page that kicks off with what you do for your audience.
Terri Trespicio: Think of the About page as the author’s bio you find on the back of a book.
Ilise Benun: Don’t write an About page that’s generic, boring, or full of jargon.
Danielle Hughes: Don’t focus on you and your company at the expense of your audience.
Nick Usborne: Don’t turn your About page into a promotion of your services.
Lisa Mullis: Don’t mislead by using “we,” when it’s just “you.”
Terri Trespicio: Don’t be afraid to say what you’ve done and where you excel.
In addition to a number of useful dos and don’ts, the experts I interviewed also shared some helpful tips and tricks.
About Section Tips and Tricks
Here are my favorite tips and tricks from each expert I spoke with.
Ilise Benun: Keep it simple, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Katie Yeakle: Start with the reader and figure out how to best connect with them to build trust.
Danielle Hughes: Break [your About page] up with bullets and subheads and be creative.
Nick Usborne: Basic user service 101… deliver what you say you’re going to deliver. (Tell the clients about you.)
Lisa Mullis: Have credibility markers, but also communicate the benefits and results you deliver to clients.
Terri Trespicio: Every brand is different, because everyone is different.
As a digital copywriter, your writing skills are important, but so is who you are as a person. Your About page is your moment to show the person behind the words.
As Trespicio says, you choose the lens through which you tell your story, so write your About page in a way that feels most natural and true to you.
The most important takeaway I leave you with is that it’s okay to revise your About page. You can change it up as you grow. Your business may change, and, if that happens, your About page needs to change with it.
You have to start somewhere, and even though writing an About page can feel daunting, I hope this article has offered you the confidence to get started on this important piece of your professional website.