Writing a bio can be dreadful. Yes, even for someone who has been doing and advising people for years. Writing about yourself is hard. No one is immune. Writing your own bio can drag up thoughts you’d rather stay buried in the deep recesses of your mind.
You're not a real writer.
You can't say that.
You sound like you're trying too hard.
Once I’ve escaped the mind chatter, I contend with summing myself up in just a few, short words.
Listen. Writing a bio is hard. All of us fumble with it. It’s not easy to communicate who we are in a natural way. How do you sum up who you are in 140 characters, the length of today’s Internet mini bios?
I’ve been on every side of the divide. There are times I’ve been insistently focused on getting it right, constantly iterating on my bio. Other times, I’ve just dashed off a quick description and ignored it after that. If you work for someone else and don’t have a side project to promote, this digital calling card may not matter as much. But you need to write one anyway. Might as well make it reflect you in the best, possible way.
Since I’m sharing my work more these days, I’ve been tweaking my bios. I did a huge refresh on my website bio recently but my other ones needed a bit of work. Here’s how I write a tiny bio.
A few tiny bio basics
Keywords; I don’t optimize for them. Maybe I should. It just doesn’t feel natural. I do try to help my audience find me by being clear about who I am and what they can expect from me. To make myself more findable, I use hashtags in posts.
Consistency across mediums isn’t important. There's an argument for consistency, but I focus on communicating my message in that medium. I don’t have a standard formula. Sometimes I use lists, other times I use longer phrases and links. It changes depending on the medium and what I’m sharing at the time.
Irreverent phases are hard to pull off. I don’t go with irreverent stand-alone phrase for my bio. This works for some, especially when your audience already knows you well. But it just doesn’t for me. If I use a phrase, I put it into context with the rest of information.
Being yourself is everything. Don’t try to be like anyone else. While I like to see what others are doing, I’d never make my bio a carbon copy of someone else. Being a copy of someone else is no good.
Tiny Bio Writing
First, I begin with me.
If I’ve been on a platform for a while, I look at my own feed. It helps me see how others might perceive me. I can also see themes to my content, something that’s easy to miss while tweeting and sharing from day-to-day. Scribbling down a few notes, I think about what’s most important to me. I noodle on what I hope to do with a particular outlet. What I post on Instagram may not be the same as Twitter. Am I trying to make new connections? Strengthen existing ones? Express myself? Promote something? All of these factor into my bio. I distill my thoughts into a list of themes, typically no more than four items.
Then, I look outside to others.
Only after I’ve taken notes and perused through my own thoughts do I look at other profiles. Mostly I look for inspiration. People are finding ever creative ways to express themselves. After browsing a dozen or two, my own bio starts to formulate. All this prep work makes tweaking an existing profile or building a new one from scratch much easier.
I begin to tweak or build.
Thinking about my purpose for the medium helps tremendously as Twitter, for me, tends to be more business oriented, while Instagram is more about creative expression. While the tiny bios might vary slightly, the core themes are similar. I also use a link to my main site on every tiny bio. I iterate on a tiny bio until it sounds like me and visitors will know what they’ll get from me. I rearrange the words, playing with different combinations until something just clicks. When it’s just right, I start to see myself on the page.
My Instagram tiny bio iterations
My three themes:
1. My creative identity (my filter for everything)
2. My lens to the world (travel + everyday objects)
3. What I believe (what I want others to know)
This is where I started.
travel, tea, books, dogs + NYC. Tw: @suzanbond
Writing Bet On Yourself: guides for the self-employed.
Brooklyn ll Worldwide
Moving from lists, to descriptions. This made me sound dreamy and less practical than I am.
writer, dreamer, wanderer, finding beauty in the everyday.
you’ve got this.
This iteration hit all three themes but didn't quite flow right.
Writer + Creative Director
Epic wanderlust. Finding the beauty all around us.
Mantra: All you have to be is you.
writer with epic wanderlust.
finding beauty in the everyday.
you’ve got this.
Where I landed.
writer + wanderer
finding beauty in the everyday.
p.s. you've got this
That’s how I write a tiny bio. I’d love to see yours. Will you share it with me?