How to Write an Engaging, Impactful About Story

Michelle Hunter by Michelle Hunter

The About page of your website is a key opportunity to build trust. Here’s how to share your story in a way that draws potential clients closer to you.

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The about page of a service provider’s website is an incredibly important sales tool. Before potential clients evaluate your services, they check you out. Buyers want to become familiar with you- your priorities, your values, your history- before seriously considering working with you, especially for collaborative work. Your about story is valuable website real estate.

There’s more to this than just credentials and experience. Hear me out…

When my husband and I decided to have some work done on our home, we evaluated a number of vendors. We needed to fix a chronic plumbing issue, and we decided to also remodel the primary bathroom in our home. We needed a team of skilled tradespeople who understood the parameters of the job and were able to coordinate their efforts to deliver results. We didn’t need to share their core values, per se- we just needed to feel comfortable with their expertise. Plumbing might feel transformative to the homeowner, but plumbing simply isn’t collaborative.

When a potential client needs creative work (design, writing, or marketing) the buying process is quite a bit different. The work, by its nature, is collaborative. The client has a need and possibly a vision for a solution, but is relying on YOU to help them clarify that vision and find a solution to their problems… even the ones they aren’t aware of at the beginning of the project.

Potential clients are buying more than your skills and experience. They are buying your collaborative process and the transformation your completed work will provide.

Creative projects require a high level of trust and engagement- much more than I had with my plumber. Your “about” page has a crucial role in building this relationship.

Sure, clients need to believe you can complete the project successfully. You need to demonstrate your expertise. But, more importantly, you need to share your story in a way that highlights your passion, motivation, and the values you bring to the work.

Honestly, if you want to attract the right clients to your business, I recommend you work with a skilled copywriter to craft your “about” page text. The money you invest here will pay off in impactful copy and higher conversion rates.

Either way, following this process will improve your results and help you create the engaging copy you need to make a big impact in your market.

Gather your thoughts before you begin to write your about story.

Your “about” page isn’t really about you. It’s about your potential client… their needs, desires, and problems. Before you can begin to share your expertise, you need to clearly understand the motivations your ideal client brings to the page before ever reading a word.

Start with the problem.

Your ideal client has a problem. She’s struggling with something or experiencing a feeling of some kind. Perhaps her website isn’t generating enough leads to meet her goals. Maybe she’s getting negative feedback on her eCommerce site or dealing with a lot of customer service issues.

The problem is associated with feelings, right? When a potential client is struggling to generate revenue, for instance, he might feel frustrated or fearful. He might doubt his abilities or struggle with a bit of anger or discouragement.

This problem is the beginning of your story. It’s the reason potential clients care about who you are and the services you provide. They want a solution for the challenge and they want relief from the pain the challenge causes them emotionally.

Do you understand the problems your work solves? What do those problems feel like? How does having these problems impact the people you serve? Think about it.

Think about your work in the context of the problem.

The problem is the beginning of your about story, the reason your potential clients care about working with you. It’s the context they bring to your business, and it’s important to meet them inside that context and build a connection.

So, what do you do? Maybe you design websites or use technology to build custom solutions to digital problems. You might write marketing material (like I do sometimes) or guide clients to a higher level of performance or achievement. Define your work in terms of deliverables (a natural place to start), but challenge yourself to go further.

Your work solves problems in a tangible way, but it also provides emotional value. Here are some examples to illustrate my point…

  • Revised website branding creates deliverables such as a refreshed logo, new color palette, and improved brand elements. It also replaces feelings of insecurity with confidence, creates a positive first impression for website visitors, and opens the door to increased brand engagement and conversions.
  • Completed copy provides marketing text as a part of a website project. It also tells the story of a business in a clear and compelling way, builds relationships with potential clients, and empowers business owners with core messaging they can use in networking and sales situation.
  • Performance coaching provides strategies for improved achievement and results. It also challenges limiting assumptions, shifts mindset, and creates feelings of confidence and capability inside the client.

Your work provides real results in the context of client problems and challenges. The collaborative process you use to do your work supports the client emotionally, provides leadership and education, and empowers the client to expand his skills or increase her impact.

Think about what makes you uniquely suited to this work.

My husband and I enjoy watching professional athletes. We’ve spent hours watching professional baseball, college football, and a variety of other sporting events. I’ve made a few observations while following my favorite teams.

No two athletes are the same. Each has a unique combination of talent, skill, and experience. Some rely on natural talent and ability for their success. Others are not especially gifted but have an incredible work ethic and dedication to honing their skill. An experienced pitcher approaches the mound with confidence a rookie might envy. A first-year quarterback may have a strong intuitive sense of the game that surpasses a veteran.

Here’s the truth:  Mastery is a combination of skill, experience, education, and perspective.

I’m a naturally talented writer with a gift for storytelling. My corporate sales experience and my educational background in accounting give me a well-rounded sense of business strategy. Personal experiences – some of positive, some negative – give me an intuitive perspective I use to gauge client reaction and understand the vision they communicate. My love of imaginative play as a child helps me create scenarios and weave tales. These factors together make me uniquely suited for my work.

Think about the questions clients ask before hiring you.

Those questions are gold, because they give you insight into the thoughts of potential clients. As you tell your story, weave in the answers to these questions… anticipate and respond before the questions are even asked.

For example, do potential clients ask you about how you got started in your field? Include, conversationally, your journey. Maybe you started out in the corporate world but felt constrained and unable to express your creativity in that environment. Share how this situation moved you toward entrepreneurship.

Weave the answers into your story in a way that feels friendly and warm. Write as you would speak to a friend at a coffee shop… and resist the temptation to default to the stilted language of a resume or professional bio.

Thinking about your story is the first step. Then it’s time to write.

You’ve thought long and hard. You’ve clarified problems, both tangible and emotional. You’ve thought about your unique qualifications and put them inside the context of your work with clients. You’ve gathered your thoughts… time to create a rough draft.

Working with a copywriter? You still need to do some writing. Create a rough draft to communicate all this great thought work to the professional wordsmith you’ve hired. You’ll be glad you did!

The thought work you’ve just completed is actually the most difficult part of crafting your “about” story. The writing is the easy part, believe it or not.

My clients often tell me they aren’t good writers. They talk about the struggle to put words together coherently and complain about the bad marks they received in middle school English Composition courses. Those are just excuses.

Mechanics are not the reason most people don’t write. English grammar isn’t keeping you from communicating your thoughts. Format isn’t the issue either. You already know how to write emails to friends, witty posts on Facebook, and notes to your significant other. You know how to use words to communicate your thoughts… writing is not the problem.

Your biggest problem is mindset – that little voice inside your head that discourages you and laughs judgmentally at your best efforts.

We all have an inner critic who reminds us that writing is hard… or boring… or scary. This critic is the same one who whispers that your work isn’t good enough. She nods her head knowingly when a potential client doesn’t buy from you and whispers that your skills are “only average” while you read a glowing testimonial or bit of praise.

Your inner critic is a pain in your backside, but she doesn’t keep you from doing your work. She couldn’t stop you from starting this business and achieving some success. Don’t let her stop you from writing, either…

Want to shut the mouth of that noisy, critical inner voice? Start free-writing.

Grab a pen and legal pad (if you’re old school like me) or open a blank doc and grab your keyboard. You can open Evernote or grab the back of your child’s most recent drawing. The mechanics don’t matter at this point… you just need to get started.

Tell the story of you. What problems do you solve? How do your clients feel before they work with you? What makes you uniquely suited to work collaboratively with people to solve problems like these?

Share your mission and your passion.

Why did you start this business? Why do you love it? Share your history and the perspectives you bring to your work. Talk about your credentials, but be sure to tie them to real questions your clients have or real challenges they face.

There’s only one rule to free-writing… you can’t read while you write. You can’t edit while you share.

Start with the problem and your unique qualifications and perspectives. Then, when things start to slow down and words begin to stick in your mind, shift to the solution your work creates.

This isn’t the place to get detailed or super descriptive. We’re not looking for features here or a list of deliverables. It’s just time to give potential clients a glimpse of something better… to create hope inside their hearts and show that things can be different in their businesses.

Your client can…

  • move from frustration to satisfaction; from confusion to clarity; from insecurity to confidence.
  • find satisfaction, joy, happiness, success.
  • achieve goals, break through plateaus, create momentum.

See how engaging this is for potential clients? Be careful to share real results you know clients can experience… not hyperbole or crazy promises. Just tell the story of what you do for people and how you use your abilities to deliver results.

Share how you help clients get the solution you’ve described.

This is the point where you begin connecting things together for your client… tying your unique qualifications to the benefits your work creates. Apply everything you’ve shared to the solution you provide.

You are fun and creative, so they will enjoy working with you.

You are experienced, so you can easily show them the way to the solution.

You have a proven system, so they can move forward with confidence in the results you’ll provide.

Your client is not really interested in you… you can see that now, right? Your client is focused on the issue, challenge, or problem that drew him to you and your business. She doesn’t care about how many cats you have or what you do for the weekend. Your personal manifesto or thoughts on world peace aren’t relevant here.

Potential clients want to understand your passion for your work. They want to know you care and they want to trust you as a person. They want to believe you can help them. That’s all they need to know to work with you.

Are credentials, education, and background important for your about story?

Save your credentials, education, and professional background for a short bio (written in the third person) at the bottom of the page. Provide a link to your resume or CV if you like. But don’t talk about all this stuff in the main body of your story.

Why? Because bragging about your qualifications feels awkward in normal conversation. Don’t be that girl- the one who tells everyone how smart she is. I did that a time or two during my teen years, and I still carry the scars and painful memories.

Your potential clients will move forward into your sales process because they feel emotionally connected with you. They don’t need your professional bio to get to know you, learn to trust you, or feel comfortable talking to you. It’s okay to share it- and it may be helpful at some point in the buying process- but it’s not a good fit inside the conversation you create here.

Thinking as you read that this feels more like writing instruction for a sales page? You’re right. As a creative entrepreneur, every page of your website is a type of sales page. Write your “about” story in this context and you’ll naturally move potential clients closer to buying from you. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

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