Author: Neil Patel / Source: hubspot.com If contributing guest posts is part of your content distribution and promotion strategy, you're
If contributing guest posts is part of your content distribution and promotion strategy, you’re probably familiar with the following scenario: You write a great article for a guest publication, and at the end, you’re compensated with a teeny, tiny paragraph about yourself.
Unless you wrote the article for purely altruistic reasons, this paragraph, though short, is quite critical. Not only does it connect you to the article on a level beyond your byline, but also, it provides space for links back to your website or social profiles. And who wouldn’t want even that little bit of glory?
But what are you supposed to write in that brief paragraph, anyway? How do you make your author bio compelling, powerful, and effective — without a whole lot of space?
As it turns out, there are quite a few seemingly small ways to approach your author bio that can help it have a much bigger impact. But what do they look like, exactly? Read on — you’re about to find out.
How to Write an Author Bio
1) Write in the third person.
Different publications will have different standards — Forbes, for example, seems to encourage guest contributors to write in the first person, as per below:
However, the general practice is to write your bio in the third person. If it feels a bit self-congratulatory, that’s okay — you can even turn it into a joke, like Mark John Hiemstra did in his bio for a post on the Unbounce blog:
Once you’ve written the bio, be sure to re-read it to make sure you’re not overusing “he” or “she.” And if you are, try replacing some instances of these pronouns with your name to improve the flow.
2) Remember: It’s not really about you.
Even though this paragraph is allegedly about the author, it’s not actually about you. It’s about your reader, and what that person is looking to learn or gain from your article. It helps to think of this setup as a well-composed sentence — you’re the object, and the reader is the subject.
That concept can be a bit confusing without context, so have a look at how Matt Southern pulled that off below:
Notice how Southern’s bio focuses on both himself and the reader. By explaining that his real passion is to help marketers, it serves as a nod to his readership — after all, your readers are the ones who ultimately decide if your piece is worth sticking around until the end, sharing, or discussing. Write for them.
3) Establish credibility — truthfully.
As the digital landscape only becomes increasingly crowded, it’s important to have a prepared, accurate way to answer the masses asking, “Why should I listen to you?”
Readers are right to ask that question, especially with many now questioning the accuracy and reliability of news. So, in your bio, establish your credibility, and be honest. Why are you qualified to write on this subject? Why should readers believe you?
If you write about conversion optimization, for example, explain what kind of experience you have with it. If you have academic degrees, list them — but only if they’re relevant to the publication or article. A bachelor’s degree might not be considered outstanding enough to warrant a mention in your bio, though there are exceptions to that rule. Let’s say you’re writing about women’s issues. If you attended a women’s college, it might be worth mentioning in that particular instance.
Let’s have a look at how this concept looks “in the wild.”
When Forbes contributor Ian Morris wrote the above article on a mobile device, he used his one-line bio to explain why he’s qualified to write on that subject. “I cover mobile,” he explains, as well as “internet services and the good and bad of tech.” And in his full bio, he expanded even further on that:
4) And while you’re at it, explain what you do.
It’s the inevitable — and often dreaded — question of any social or networking gathering. “What do you do?”
Chances are, someone reading your work will have the same question — it goes along the same lines of explaining why you’re credible enough to be writing about a certain topic. So think of your bio as an opportunity to answer it — after all, it’s a meaningful fact about you, and it deserves a line.
Notice how Yvette Tan immediately addresses that question in the first sentence of both her author and Twitter bio, highlighting the importance of…