Do you ever look at the About Pages on other people’s websites and feel like everyone else has some really cool story about finding her true calling? Some amazing, A-ha! moment about starting a business that was “meant to be”?
You sit down to write your own About Page and feel like your life has been totally boring by comparison.
Where’s your epiphany? Where’s your tear-jerking story?
Maybe you’ve started feeling like you need to go out and climb a mountain or feed a village before you can write the story of your business. Or maybe you’re considering divulging your biggest fears and failings just so you have something memorable to share on your About Page.
There’s no need to save the world or share your secrets to get people’s attention.
You can have one of those cool, “transformation” stories you’ve read on other people’s websites or heard told from Oprah’s couch. The secret to a memorable About Page is telling a good story.
What Makes a Good Story
A good story isn’t what happened; it’s how you tell what happened. >>Tweet that.
Adding in every dramatic event you can think of is actually a story-telling crutch. It can backfire and overwhelm readers. Blasting people with dramatic or traumatic events is like bad cooking: Imagine making a stew and not seasoning it as it cooks, and then at the end sprinkling on a bunch of cayenne pepper. There’s no subtle, nuanced flavor. There’s just a wall of spice that has folks running for a glass of water.
Instead of looking for big, dramatic events, tell a great story by letting people connect to you and see the world from your point of view. That’s what builds tension and keeps readers enthralled.
The Ingredients of a Dramatic Story
The drama in your story will come from the main character — that’s you — going on an inner journey. We call this journey the character arc, and it’s the core of any story.
Why do we care whether or not Dorothy gets home from Oz? It’s because we’ve watched her grow and learn and care for others. Why do we cry when Jack slips off the raft into the frigid ocean? Because we’re invested in the love story between him and Rose. If he were dying peacefully in his sleep, the story would feel just as dramatic because we’re connected to the characters.
The arc of your story will be defined by three points:
- where you started
- how you changed
- where you ended up
Telling a true story has a big advantage over telling a made-up story: You already know the ending!
Did you know that it’s a lot easier to start planning your story from the end and working backwards? Man, luck is really on your side today. 🙂
The other events you’ll want to include in your story are the ones that brought you to where you are right now.
Once you have some key features of your ending point, you can find your starting point by asking where you were and what you were doing that was in contrast to where you are now. Then, it’s just a matter of describing how you got from the “before” to the “after.”
Where You Ended Up
Brainstorm on your secret sauce: What do you do in your business now that…
- is unique
- satisfies you
- challenges you in a good way and helps you grow
- helps your customers in a fulfilling way
- utilizes your special talents
Where You Started
Where were you before you discovered this or started acting on it? Your “before” should be a place where you were stuck or dissatisfied, but it doesn’t have to be dramatic or painful. It could be…
- a personal wall / obstacle / frustration / barrier
- a professional wall / obstacle / frustration / barrier
- a plateau
- a realization or feeling that you weren’t using your skills or operating in your zone of genius
How You Changed
How did you transition from one state to the other? What was the initial catalyst for the change? How long did the transition take? What did you start doing differently? What small changes in yourself or your business did you start to witness? Your change might have come about through…
- trial and error
- a moment of clarity / epiphany
- hard work over many years
- mentoring and input from others
- healing and becoming whole
Take Action: Outline Your Story
In the steps above you brainstormed on the three key parts of your story. But remember that we worked out of order to make things easier. Now it’s time to outline your story by putting your thoughts in order:
- Where You Were
- Your Transition
- Where You Are Now
Way to go! Now that you have an outline, go ahead and draft your About Page story.
Here are some helpful tips:
Only share what feels comfortable and relevant to your business. When you share how you changed, remember that this is the part of your journey that tells your customers why you are the perfect person to help them. Include details that showcase your skills and position you as an expert.
- Show how you built or discovered your skills in your transition.
- Demonstrate your passion and talent for what you currently do.
- Help readers relate to you by sharing relevant flaws or insecurities. For example, if you’re a photographer, you might talk about how you used to hate getting your photo taken so you totally understand that it can be uncomfortable, so you focus on helping your clients have fun and feel relaxed.
- Alienate readers by making it seem like you’re perfect or your transition was totally effortless.
- Blame or bad-mouth people or practices you’ve left behind; your “after” is about you thriving, not about other people “doing it wrong.”
- Overshare about personal or painful topics that you wouldn’t reveal to customers in the course of your work with them. For example, if you’re a photographer, don’t share that the reason you used to hate getting your photo taken was because you were stalked by a crazy person who found a photo of you.
Once you’ve outlined your About Page story, share what it is in the comments! I’d love to hear about the story arc you discovered.
Once you’ve got this story, your About Page is nearly complete. There is one more ingredient you definitely need to add, and one more I highly recommend.
At the end of your story, you need a call to action. Now that customers have read your story and connected with you, what next step should they take? Should they sign up for your newsletter? Maybe they should check out a product or schedule a consultation with you.
Right after someone has read your story and bonded with you is the perfect time to take the relationship to the next level. Help that reader become a contact or customer.
There’s one more piece that’s optional but that I highly recommend: Start your About Page with your Business Bio. This will give readers an overview of who you are and how you can help them.
Put an additional call to action at the end of this short-form bio. Some visitors to your site will just want the short story and then a way they can get started with you.
Others will want the full story. They’ll scroll down, read about your transition, and start bonding with you and wanting to work with you.
Struggling with your About Page story? It happens to a lot of us because we’re so close to our stories. Sometimes we need an outside perspective to help us see our own journeys. If that’s you, I’m here to help! Book a time to chat and let me know where you are in this process so I can help you map out your next steps.