Your About page is critical to strengthening your brand identity and creating a connection with potential customers. Think about it. Your customers are about to make potentially one of the biggest investments of their lives - building or renovating their home. They need to know that the person they are trusting with their home or business is the right architect for the job, and this is your chance to tell them why.
An unforgettable About page is more than just a biography and qualifications. The aim is connection. It should give insight into who you are and why you’re better than the rest.
There are no set rules about writing a memorable ‘About’ page, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re writing yours.
You probably think this page is about you, don’t you?
It may seem strange I know, but your About page is more about your reader than it is about you.
You need to keep your customer at the centre of your messaging. What’s in it for them? Consider these 3 key questions people want to know when they read through your About page:
- Are you a real business, with real people, and real skills?
- Are they going to like you and enjoy working with you?
- Can they trust you?
This is your chance to blow your readers’ minds and set your practice apart from your competitors - after all, it’s your people and culture that make you different from the company down the road. I love this short and snappy company page by Fabricate, an Auckland-based architecture practice.
Aim for authenticity
In case you haven’t noticed, the current communication trend online is for transparency, unapologetic candour and personality. People want to connect with people, not brands.
You are unique, and your About page - including the style, language and format - should all be unique to you. There are no rules here, but here’s a question I ask all my clients when it comes to writing their About page: how do you want people to feel about your business?
Take a look at your About page. What language can you change so that it’s less about you, and more about how what you do makes your customers feel?
What words would you like clients to use when they talk about your business? Down-to-earth. Professional. Creative. Knowledgeable. Innovative. Trustworthy. Reliable. Successful. Brilliant. Charismatic. Attentive. Flexible. Create a list that resonates with you… are these characteristics reflected in your copy?
Don’t let down a professional website with a stiff and awkward About page. People tend to feel uncomfortable about talking about themselves, so they hold back on the creativity. Modesty may feel the natural response but remember that your visitors need to be sold to. The challenge is to come across as clever, rather than cheesy.
The trick to this is to write like you speak - only with impeccable grammar and correct sentence structure! Use plain language - if you were standing at a barbecue and someone asked you what you do, what would you say? I doubt you would deliver a whole bunch of buzzwords that actually have no meaning.
Explaining something out loud is the best way to get an idea for the rhythm of a sentence and is a natural way of injecting colloquialisms or a less formal style into your writing.
“Fluff is boring. Candor is compelling. Be who you really are and make that your advantage.” - Jeff Haden
Your objection is probably: but I’m just not a writer! To pinch a quote from Julia Cameron “Did you write today? Then you’re a writer today”. You’ve probably written something - an email, a text message, a note to your kids? So, you’re a writer! Pulitzer Prize, here you come.
Take a look at how Sydney architects, Georgina Wilson, have added a personal touch to their team profiles without needing to be wordsmiths.
Remember - you actually don’t have to appeal to everyone. Being polarising can be good. If they don’t like your style, then they’re not the right customer for you.
How can you be different?
There are no doubt many reasons why you’re great at your job, and it’s time to let the world know! But, a word of caution, there is a fine line between charisma and arrogance.
Write with a genuine message and you can’t go wrong. I like how London architecture practice, Feix & Merlin, send a clear message on their company values and approach with their About page formatting. Use these ideas to give your readers a little insight:
- Why you do what you do
- What you love about it
- Who you love to work with
- Your goals
- Share some personal facts that give a bit of insight into your personality or interests - these little factoids often helps to establish common ground with new clients and make the initial onboarding process a little more comfortable - hey, you love karaoke? Me too!
Share your story
We connect with stories - and we remember them. So what’s your story? Share the romance, the comedy, the plot twists and the triumphs of the central protagonists.
You might not think you have a story, but you do. And I don’t just mean the boring facts of your company history. Tell your readers how you came to be in your role, what inspired you to start your business, why you love working with your customers, what gets you up in the morning. Invite your customers to share the journey with you.
Don’t try to be someone or something you’re not
When I first started my copywriting business, I wanted to appear bigger than I was. This was a mistake. Not only was it untrue, but it actually wasn’t what people wanted. They wanted to connect with a copywriter, not a brand, who would get to know their business.
Concentrate on the strengths that being a small business provides. You have a great advantage over face-less brands and uncaring corporates.
Your about page will be dynamic - just as you and your business are. You might look at it again in 6 months and think that it is no longer the best reflection of who you are, where you’re at, and how you want to be represented. It’s important to regularly check in and ensure it’s still on point.
So, to sum up:
6 essential points to include on your About page
- Favourite / most challenging / most interesting projects
- What projects you love working on
- Who you love to work with
- Your particular approach or philosophy
6 mistakes you need to avoid:
- Simply repeating what appears on your home page or services page
- Presenting your about page like a resume and expecting readers to connect with it
- Writing in third person
- Being sales-y
- Not considering your audience
- Lacking personality and punch
6 essential rules of an awesome About page:
- Always write in first person
- Include social proof - testimonials, awards, press coverage, endorsements, clients
- Open with punch - an attention grabbing mission statement, manifesto, unexpected anecdote
- Always include a photo
- Keep it snappy - don’t waffle on about yourself, no matter how impressive you are
- Don’t agonise over it or you’ll never get any words down - bust it out quickly, and then refine later.
A bonus #7: if all else fails, consider hiring a professional. They’ll give you a bit of clarity and help make you awesome if you’re having trouble tooting your own horn.
Have you got an awesome team page or personal profile? Share your tips below.