4 Tips for Writing A Bio

Dec 8 2017

by Katie Weinberger

The Southern Coterie blog: "4 Tips for Writing a Bio" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Danielle Hulsey for Guide2Athens)
The rules for writing a bio is can be likened to having a conversation over cocktails about your work – know your audience, don’t cite all of your credentials, and inject personality! (photo: Danielle Hulsey for Bulldawg Illustrated and Guide2Athens)

Since I’m a now officially a monthly contributor for The Southern C (thanks y’all!), I was tasked with providing a headshot and writing a bio. Most of us understand how important having an updated headshot is, but how about a bio? It’s essential to have one on hand to give at moment’s notice to press or anyone who wants to further learn about you and how you relate to your business and craft.

A few basics to writing a stellar bio:

Know your audience

The first rule to preface all writing, you must know who your reader is.

For example, in writing a bio for this blog, I considered that the audience is:

  1. Mostly women
  2. Many with children and
  3. Many with an active lifestyle.

You can read in my bio (below) that I wrote to connect based on these elements of my audience, so I included info on my family and the fact that I like to paddleboard.

In contrast, my profile on our website at King Bean reads differently. My audience is people who are interested in knowing more about our business, people who drink coffee, love coffee, and want to buy it.

Infuse personality

What do you like to do in your spare time? What’s your favorite food, your dream vacation, your aspirations? Infusing your interests and hobbies rounds out your personality and enables people to better connect with you. If you’re interesting, people would like to know more about you.

Don’t overload information items

Can you leave out your alma mater? The professional organizations that you belong too? Your certifications? Definitely. Too many “facts” equals YAWN.

How do you pick which items are important? Again, think of your audience. Choose only essential information items your audience must know and only include them they pertain to your relationship with your audience and / or establish you as an authority.

For example, in writing a bio for this blog I included my role at King Bean because:

  1. We’ve sponsored the Summit several times; it’s my connection
  2. My title of Marketing Director gives me authority to write in this space.

Also, keep it short! Your overall bio should ideally be 200-300 words.

Write in your voice

How many times have you read a bio that tried really hard to be clever and cutesy when you knew in real life that person was as serious as they come? It’s hard to build trust when your bio does not reflect your true nature. If you are serious, it’s okay to have a serious and professional bio. If you’re playful, write playfully. Your bio, after all is a reflection of you.

Get that red pen out and start editing. We’d love to read what you come up with. Copy and paste your bio in the comment space below!


Katie Weinberger View More Blog Posts from this Author

Katie Weinberger is the marketing and creative half of the husband-and-wife duo behind King Bean Coffee Roasters. As a lifelong reader and writer, she aims to read a book a week and writes regularly on her personal site, writingdownadream.com . She lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, son, cat, and dog. On the weekends you can find her paddleboarding upriver to the sandbar with her son and pup.

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One response on “4 Tips for Writing A Bio

  1. Lea Anne Foster

    Thank you Katie! It is tough stuff to write about oneself. You’ve given us excellent tips. I have applied your guidance in an attempt to rewrite my bio and would love any insights you have on ways to improve. Please keep the good advice coming and thank you again.

    Draft bio:
    Lea Anne Foster is relishing a new season of life. After nearly two decades in politics and working in the White House for the Vice President of the United States, Lea Anne changed course to write and be home with her children.
    No House of Cards here, Lea Anne served alongside decent people who pushed for sensible policies. She aided in response and recovery efforts to natural disasters, briefed the traveling White House press corps following a military base bombing while in Afghanistan and spent countless nights studying and strategizing.
    Lea Anne credits growing up in South Georgia where she rode her bike on a red dirt road and worked in her family’s peach orchard as good training ground for the national political scene. She learned discipline, teamwork and humor because the sand shifts under our wheels sometimes regardless of our best efforts on the handlebars.
    She honed instincts to read people and situations on political campaigns. It was on one of those campaigns that she met her wonderful husband. The campaign was not successful, but the marriage is. Theirs is a noisy home in Virginia with two children and a dog.
    Lea Anne writes on culture, love and parenting. She leaves it all on the page, desiring to give a reader hope or, at least, a chuckle.

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