This is the “Shadow Post”
Ahhh … you’re a deep diver like me! Thanks for your interest.
I wanted to include a few more thoughts and examples that were excluded from the earlier post.
1A: Who you are and why I know you (outwardly focussed, talking to the visitor)
1B: Who I am/we are and what I/we do to help other like you
Cerries Mooney, in writing her philosophy has managed to morph from 1B to 1A. I recommend reading her whole page, it is very well done.
2: Your big “why”, your mission or your motivation, in engaging story form
I’m sure you familiar with the theme of the second most viewed TED talk of all time, Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”. The simple message is this: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Chances are you have some big motivations an a strong desire to serve your ideal clients and support them in transforming their businesses and their lives.
I think James Clear captures this very succinctly:
Another example of intrinsically linking your Brand to a resonant philosophy is “Boom by Cindy Joseph”. This is a skincare and beauty brand for Baby Boomer women doing a bang on job of getting “real” with their audience. Boom By Cindy Joseph – Philosophy
A useful template for writing an intriguing origin story, especially for creatives is by Alexandra Franzen here
If you would like help writing engaging stories, perhaps my recent post about the skills of storytelling will help.
To the question about writing in first person or third person, Austin Kleon handles this cleverly, by having a “cut and paste” bio written in third person and his own writing in first person.
Include Personal tidbits
If you’re not a story teller, you’re a one person business (or partnership) it is appropriate, and a lot of fun, to include some tasty personal facts. These generally appear a ways down the page, but add a lot of colour.
The fabulous blogger Alexandra Franzen, strikes just the right note in her “personal” blurb towards the end about page.
Other bits & bobs.
I was born in Los Angeles. I currently live in Portland. My favorite human is Mister Rogers. My favorite poet is Rumi. My chosen spiritual leader is RuPaul. My hair is naturally brown but it is currently blue. I love almond croissants, airports, road trips, smutty books, all kinds of music (from country to dubstep to classical), crystals, postcards from around the globe, surprises (the good kind), and basically any opportunity to write, think, create and grow.
3. Offer social proof and testimonials
A good way to feature social proof is to include media appearances and awards, it is very simple and you see it often. Here is an example from James Clear’s about page.
Another effective proof image is what I call a “logo compendium” which features clients, here is one that has been well curated by Ruby Slipper.
4: Describe the experience, reassure, answer questions, address objections
Whilst you’ll deal with FAQ’s on another page, this is a clever way to introduce new visitors to your best work and invite them to explore, like Austin Kleon does here:
5: Striking, authentic images
I love this one from by Jessica Hische
I recommend my clients who need “humanising touches” in their brand include a personal picture that grounds you in some way. It could be in your environment, pursuing an interest or with your family or pets.
If you can’t afford a photographer, one tip is look for stock images that are framed in a way you’d like and ask the best photographer amongst your friends to help you restage the shots.
For example, I recently suggested this stock image as an example to a client with a boutique digital agency. His about page lacked any sense of him as a whole person.
A shot like this presents him as a caring father, with a casual Australian beach lifestyle but doesn’t compromise the privacy of his children.
6. An Invitation to Connect
Another great example of a gentle “choose your own adventure” invitation from Sasha Allenby
I reviewed more than 100 about pages for the previous post, these were the ones I was most impressed by. Most were mentioned in the post for some aspect or another, but the whole pages are worth looking at, because many hit 4-5 of the suggested ingredients superbly.
Shopify About Page (for company brands)