Your About Page Sucks
AKA your about page is as flavorless as cardboard, drier than dust and no more special than imitation vanilla, so why should we hire you?
It took eons of typing, deleting, cat videos, 3.5 cups of coffee and two bathroom trips before your about page was conceived.
Or at least started.
A nearly formulaic sentence with verbiage influenced from common peers: Hi! I’m [insert name] and I’m a [insert business] based in the Midwest/Minnesota, I’m a mom, love my husband, dog and photography….
Apply 2 more cups of coffee, three more bathroom breaks, snack, lunch, a stroll in the neighborhood and the progression of 3 weeks until being taskless once more has you re-evaluating the progress of the annoying chore of defining oneself in words via the about page.
Here’s the curiosity: when did cut & paste become the norm of an about page? Where’s the life and personality of the business, not just the person running it?500
— But, but… Cahlean, there are things I enjoy. Like Sundays, cardigans and coffee! Those things are on my about page! That’s my personality!
Indeed, they are notable points towards the person you are, they’re just so damn vanilla, sans sprinkles, cone or caramel swirl. They stand in unison with every neighbor on the internet, consistent and different-less.
For example (legit about page, fellow photographer I know):
“I’m [name], a chronic cardigan wearing wife and mama who happens to love telling stories and capturing joy through the lens of my camera. I have a sweet spot for outdoor ceremonies, greenery and boho vibes, and couples who belly laugh throughout their wedding day.
I’m a Minnesota girl with a love for traveling, running, spending time with my family, sipping hot coffee in a pretty mug (it really does taste better this way!) and being outside. I believe in all things cozy. Athleisure and oversized cardigans are my love language- the more neutral the better (I’m clearly not a style blogger!!)”
Resonates right at home right? As if it were pulled daintily from your about pages. Wait, that’s not your about page? How curious… Perhaps another example will modify your disbelief.
Another fellow photographer I know. Seem any different than Bob down the street?
“I’m a wedding photographer, storyteller, and professional third wheel based out of the Midwest. I’ve had an affinity for photography for nearly a decade and I’ve done everything from headshots to event photography to being a photojournalist for a local newspaper.
To me, the most important elements of wedding photography are aesthetics, emotion, and human connection. I consider myself an artist first and wedding photography is my medium of choice. I love getting to know my clients on a personal level and I’m committed to telling your story in a way that’s true to you in a fine art documentary style.”
The photographer does get some ginger cookie points for using “professional third wheel” though the rest of the content reads like a multitude of other wedding photographers in the world.
The curse of the about page ravages not only photographers. Can you guess the occupation?
“I believe that every being, brand and product has a compelling story. My talent is discovering that story, distilling it to perfection and bringing it to life. Topics I love most: natural beauty, eco fashion and conscious, compassionate living. With every project, my goal is to say only what matters in an authentic and memorable way. Have a brand that fits the bill? Let’s collaborate.”
If you guessed a freelance copywriter and editor, ding ding dig! If this was not what came to mind, what was your first impression of occupation?
How do we cast off the anonymity of vanilla paste and swap about pages?
Start with limiting the I. I = ME and nobody cares about you. Honest stinky blue cheese truth.
The people traipsing about your website are looking to solve a problem, be entertained or fulfill a need, they don’t care about when you started doing the thing, how long you have been doing the thing or the fact that you love the thing (business owners – we assume you love the thing you do because you have a business that involves the thing you love, no need to state it.
- Solve their problems
- Give the benefits
- Infuse with personable points
Shall we give this a go? The revamp for example one is below:
Revamp #1: Cardigan
Over-sized cardigans, athleisure outfits and coffee from your loveliest mugs (you know coffee always tastes better in a pretty mug) define you to perfection. Each aspect of your life is filled with comfortable casualness, a touch of boho style and deep belly laughs bested only by the love you share with your partner. Understandable in planning the details of your wedding day there is the added worry about your images being taken by a stuffy, formal to the book photographer.
Send your worries out for a run. Cardigans and casual are our code.
During our engagement session, you’ll find the cardigans and casualness lend to something greater – a relationship as friends. We will be a troupe of friends out for an evening adventure in the greenery, one of us with camera in hand. When your wedding arrives, you’ll have a boho inspired photographer and friend on hand to capture the story of the moments.
Coffee and cardigans are ready, you bring the mugs and we’ll get started on this adventure!
“Cardigans” says similar things to the original about me (pretty mugs & greenery, boho & casual) but the tonality has changed. No long I/me but you/us. Problem solved, the benefits and personality. Want to add a little extra get-to-know me factor? Create a list of 5 things that in their configuration make you you and makes a connection with your ideal clients. Such as cardigans you own, music you always sway with, the collection that lives on your shelves, so forth.
Let’s do a revamp on the second example.
Revamp #2: Third Wheel
You’re going to be nervous. It is your wedding day, the day that you give your vows to your partner, swearing to uphold them until you depart from the world.
And this is the day that has 5 million moving parts and clockwork coordination that have all extensively been pre-planned for months. Nervous is understandable.
What you don’t need to be nervous about is your photographer. By the end of our engagement session, we will have forged a relationship so deeply comfortable and organic that you will forget there’s even a third wheel along photographing you.
When your wedding day rolls around, you not only have a photographer, you have gained a friend.
Let’s leave the nerves for everything else on your wedding day.
Hello I’m Luke!
When’s your wedding?
#2 Example “Third Wheel” negates the nervous worry away, gives the benefits and infuses with personality, keeping a notation towards the third wheel. Without these, the about page reads as an I/me instead of the you/us/we. We want to forge a connection and have a conversation with our clients instead of just rambling about the merits we have and the things we enjoy (yes, we can mention the merits & things we enjoy, the best place is after we have solved the problem and started the relationship).
Want that little extra spice? As mentioned in Cardigans, add those bits of personality as a series of 5 things that make you you AND speaks to the clients you want to work with. Make mention of your support of LGBT because you are aligned to it, you bake a sensually mean macaron, you’re a dog dad, any other points that clients can relate to.
For that dandy copywriter (who could be pretty much anyone anywhere who works with businesses), the revamp:
Revamp #3: Copywriter
There is always a compelling story behind every business and each person that runs it. Each is unique in design, brimming with passion into each part of the story. Yours is no exception.
The only problem? Words.
Indeed those letters merged into words, formed into sentences and tasked with capturing the passion and engaging your community are, at best, lax. You struggle in conveying your story in an authentic and memorable way, the end result a generic cut and paste that matches the eons of similar businesses and passions in the world. Oh the struggle!
The cure/remedy/fix? Better words.
Words that compel relationships, that build community, words faceted in trust, authenticity and passion, strung together with delicate finesse exactly how you would personally dictate them.
Start with an in-depth interview that wears like a casual coffee date, where your business, passion and tone are recognized, noted and brewed/aged for further development upon our departure. The conception begins.
Field your worry, we will be a collaborative team throughout the process, refining the words until they are engorged in passion and brimming with the uniqueness that is you. The finished copy will hold words that engage, build relationships and forge trust all uniquely flavored to you, your story and passion.
Tell me about your business, your passion and your story. Your words are waiting.
Example 3 “Copywriter” revamp mentions the problem – words. The reason people look for copywriters? Words. The problem’s solution is a bit of how the process works and what the end result will be (the benefits). There’s a transition from I/me to you/we conveying the sense of team to get to the perfect words.
“Copywriter” could be refined even further pending on the types of clients they work with (natural beauty, eco fashion and conscious, compassionate living were a bit too all encompassingly vague from the original about example – what the f*ck is eco fashion?). This way they speak to the people they want to work with, who in turn want the words of said copywriter due to being aligned in personality from the words used.
Personally, in regards to copywriters: spunk and sass reigns supreme. There are reasons why Ash from the Middle Finger Project holds the status of a motherf*cking badass unicorn and Jesse of Copybot holds a mildly flaccid interest akin to a common sparrow.
You relate to people who speak in your language. The people hiring you do the same. Don’t let your about page be cardboard imitation vanilla with a copy paste aftertaste.
If your about page sucks here’s what you can do:
Do it yourself
Replace your name with the next photographer/coach/copywriter/etc and it reads like a copy paste about page (go ahead and stalk some about pages of your peers) then aim for a revamp. Write the way you would talk to your potential clients.
Use these as guidelines:
- Solve their problems
- Give the benefits
- Infuse with personable points
** Need an extra bit of help in the word department? Check out this MEGA awesome course on creative writing from the fan-FREAKING-tabulous Ash of the Middle Finger Project (its an affilate link, fyi)
Hire a copywriter
– Kayla Hollatz is local to Minneapolis, and seems to have a nice bit of spunk (and also an awesome about page!)
* (sheesh, in Googling copywriter Minneapolis / copywriter in Minneapolis / freelance copywriter in Minneapolis the results are 90% towards offering you a job position in them, less than recommending a person to hire. You may have to go to the 3+ page into the rabbit hole to find a copywriter. May luck be on your side. )
** here’s a small list from 2017 of locals operating under advertising companies (no idea on their whims towards smaller businesses) – there’s more info under the platform of Modern Copywriter, logistics of locality unknown.
The hesitation comes from the current conversation with a photographer.
Aye, tis true, I am a photographer.
Though not just a photographer, but a storyteller in much more than just images. Words are old comrades, traipsing in well read books, conjured into written stories with an editorial streak that is constructively brutal. You could call it skill in word marriage. Granted, this isn’t the right choice for everyone.