I have a confession.
You know those tasks you put on your to-do list — but you never do them? You keep carrying them over day after day thinking, “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”
For the last few months, I’ve been sitting slack-jawed in front of my laptop every time I tried to start a writing project. I’d write a few words, hate them all and put it off for another day.
The project? My “About Us” bio page.
The bio I had was…OK. It did what it did to do, but I felt that it didn’t have much pizzaz. Nor did it reflect my personality. It was mechanically correct, but flat from a copywriting perspective.
Never was that issue so in my face than when I redesigned the site. When I asked people to review it, one of the top comments was, “You don’t really showcase who you are or what you’ve done. You’re an expert. You need to put that front and center.”
Sadly, I knew they were right.
Although I can expertly tease out a client’s unique benefits and make them sing on the page, I have a hard time doing it for myself. I write things like, “Heather has been the leading expert in SEO copywriting…” and immediately hear a snide internal voice say, “Who the heck do you think you are? If you’re that good, you don’t need to brag about it.”
You may have had the same issue. You may be super good at something…but instead of shouting it to the rooftops, you downplay your accomplishments. You make yourself smaller rather than bigger. You try to blend in rather than stand out.
How. Incredibly. Stupid.
The purpose of the “about us” page IS to stand out. It’s where you can connect with your readers and showcase your brilliance. If you sound just like everyone else, why would a client bother hiring you? After all, there are lots of other people just like you…and they may work for much less.
If you sell yourself short, you will always lose. Always. It could be a big contract. Or a cool speaking gig. Or a sweet contact. You. Will. Lose.
I decided to slap myself silly last week and get to work on the page. I’d tried free-association writing. I tried using an outline. So this time, I tried something different.
I wrote up a list of interview questions and wrote down my responses. Some of my questions were:
– How long have you been in the industry?
– What makes you different than other SEO content providers out there?
– Who have you worked with?
– What kinds of awards or special recognition have you received?
(You know. The same questions you’d send to any new client.)
I spent a long time answering my interview questions (actually, more time than I spent writing the About Us page.) I went through past emails to remember what I’d done and how I’d helped. I even asked my husband to remind me of my cool accomplishments.
(As a side note, why is it so easy for me to remember when and how I’ve messed up. But it’s so darn hard to remember what I’ve done well. Sheesh!).
Once the interview process was complete, I let it “sit” overnight and started my About Us page the next day.
30 minutes later, I finished my rough draft. 30 minutes! The writer’s block was gone!
I made some edits the next day, took the page live and finally (finally) crossed that item off my to-do list.
Here’s why I think my process worked:
– I believe that going through my normal client process helped me emotionally detach from the topic. That detachment made it easier to write about myself. Even though I was still writing about me, it almost felt like I was writing about a client. I’m more apt to push the writing envelope with a client and play up their strengths. If I’m writing about myself, I tend to be a bit more subdued.
– Answering interview questions forced me to think about my career. After 17+ years in SEO content development, accomplishments and milestones tend to blend together. There were quite a few things I didn’t even remember until my husband reminded me about them. If you’ve been in one career for a long time, you probably know what I mean.
– All the information I needed was right there. I wasn’t staring at a screen trying to yank factoids out of my brain. I could look at a sheet of notes, highlight the main points and start writing.
My About Us page isn’t 100% perfect yet, but it’s light years ahead of what it was. I finally feel like I have something that showcases what I’ve done, who I am and a little about my personality.
Plus, and more importantly, I can tackle my other pages with confidence. And I can finally (finally) rewrite my other pages, too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a new home page to write…
What about you? What writing tips and tricks have you used to write about yourself or your company? Discuss them in the comments!