Is your about page conveying the story that you want it to? And more importantly, is it resonating with your readers? Mine wasn’t.
Up until a year ago, I never realized the power an about page held. Mine was decent on the surface but internally, I knew it was lacking across the board. For many of us, talking about ourselves and playing up our strengths in tidy little paragraphs can seem downright weird. Instead of coming across as proud and well-earned, it can feel more like flat-out boasting. And for the most part, none of us want to be that person. Yet, I knew that after launching Branch in September, it was time to own who I was and get over the awkwardness of talking about myself. I carefully tightened up my bio once again, mostly outlining my professional accomplishments.
Then, something happened — eerily similar emails kept popping into my inbox from new readers. A large chunk of my blog’s traffic is from creatives who are in college or entering their first professional jobs and they were essentially asking me, “How’d you do it?” They wanted to know how I’d gotten to where I am now but when I read back through my newly slick bio, it was leaving a lot out. It may have focused heavily on my accomplishments and been high on aspiration but the details of how I got from point A to B had been cut.
When it comes to your about page, there’s nothing wrong with being polished and professional but looking back, I feel like I’d fallen victim to the the marketing and PR machine — I am constantly absorbing the stories of people I admire in magazines and the intros usually focus on the present and how wonderful their existence is right now. Very rarely do they pull back the curtain and share their ups and downs, their personal struggles and their biggest failures along the way. And if we’re being honest, this missing piece is what we want to hear most because it’s what makes them human and relatable.
As I sat with my bio a little longer, I realized how many misconceptions I’d built up. In a way, I took it for granted that most of my readers had been with me for the long haul, since way back in 2007 when I launched this incarnation of my blog. Every few months, I’d been polishing up my about page to reflect the current me but not talking about any of the details of how I evolved and became who I am. I was stripping out the old and slipping in the new. I was missing the big picture: we don’t just become who we want to be overnight; a whole lot happens in between. Our past heavily influences our present and we shouldn’t discount that.
Think about your own About page: if a reader is dropping in now and just discovering you, they’ll see something very different than if they’ve been following you for a few years. We all have to start somewhere and I am guilty of clicking into a fabulous about page or portfolio and thinking, “I’ll never be good as them.” But then, sometimes I unearth glimpses of a creative’s past and realize that they’re just like me. They had to start somewhere.
About pages are incredibly powerful and if you don’t take the time to tell your own story, chances are that no one else will, either. It’s up to us as bloggers to own our stories and to get comfortable with sharing them. After all, our personal experiences are what differentiate us from everyone else. I’m still reworking my about page to be the best it can possibly be but in the meantime, it’s already an improvement from where it was. Baby steps.
How do you feel about your about page? Is it conveying what you want it to? Is it resonating with your readers?