I’m in the middle of rewriting my bio on my website. It’s been the same for a long time, and I’ve changed. It’s time for an update. Today, I have different interests, passions, and pursuits than I did when the old version was constructed. It’s time for a refresh.
More significantly, while my bio is moderately entertaining, it needs to do a better job of telling my story. I’d rather say less about me than I do now and tell more about who I really am by telling the stories that prepared me to make a difference in the lives of my clients. Prospective clients care less about my credentials and more about my passions as they relate to the work I do for my clients.
It’s hard to know exactly what resonates with prospective clients. There are so many types of people reading my bio. Each person has his or her own agenda and his or her own needs. All of these people are looking for something different. They each have different priorities.
What Your Bio Should Say About You
One thing that’s clear to me is that our bio readers don’t want what they usually get. They don’t want a list of schools, degrees, and graduation dates. They don’t want a list of courts we’ve been admitted to or articles we’ve written. They don’t want to know the names of the firms we’ve worked for in the past. They want to know who we are and what we’re about.
Working on my bio and talking with my writer have me thinking lots of thoughts that you might find useful. Here’s what I’ve got. More to come when the project is complete.
1. Use a Pro
I enjoy writing, but writing about myself is difficult. Plus, writing documents targeting someone other than lawyers is difficult when you’ve been writing with a legal style for a long time. The cost of a professional writer pales in comparison to the value received (sadly for writers, writing gets cheaper all the time). Have a professional write it, edit it, and tweak it to perfection.
2. Be Likable
Use the bio to make yourself likable (not an easy task for me). People need to like you in order to trust you, so, regardless of how annoying you may really be, do your best to make yourself more likable.
Pro tip: Don’t lead with all of your life successes. No one likes a big-headed lawyer.
3. Highlight a Conflict
Let the bio explain a challenge or problem you confronted. What was holding you back or in your way? Be willing to reveal your struggle. Don’t hold back. Let people inside the castle.
When you define your struggle, be sure that you come up with something relatable. Don’t blabber on about how hard it was for you to get admitted to Yale. Tell us something real, like how you managed to overcome the head injury you sustained in a motorcycle accident or how you got rejected by the man of your dreams. Go with something that people can understand and relate to based on their experiences. The only person without a problem worth sharing is the person so secretive that he won’t let us know what’s really going on.
You might explain how you resisted taking on the problem. You might want us to know that the problem seemed so big that it couldn’t be overcome. You might want us to know how you procrastinated and delayed because it seemed insurmountable.
4. Describe the Action
Then explain how and why you decided that it had to be done. The problem couldn’t be left unresolved. It peaked, and you had to deal, so you pushed forward. Show us the struggle and the obstacles you encountered. Let us know what it felt like, how it looked and smelled, and what you did to overcome something that seemed insurmountable before you took it on.
5. Explain the Change
Finally, show us how you were transformed. Make it self-evident that you changed as a result of facing your fear, slaying your dragon, beating down the barriers, and getting where you needed to go. Let us see your personal growth and change. Show us how you became a better person because of the decisions you had to make to get where you ended up after your transformation.
6. Connect the Dots
You are who you are because of the challenges you’ve overcome, the battles you’ve fought, and the challenges you’ve faced. Show us how the being you’ve become connects to us and our problems. Show us how your unique position in the world is in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to help us face our fears, overcome our challenges, and defeat the obstacles we face. Show us how the likable human we just met is able to be a part of our lives, solve our problems, and leave us better than when we placed that first call to your office.
We want to hear your story. We’re interested. We came to your bio page with the specific intent of learning more about you. We want to know you, and we want to know you’re someone who cares about us, our problems, and our lives. Show us who you are by telling us your story and how it made you better and how that makes you the person who is right to help us.