Introducing yourself – whether on a sales page, an about page, or the bio at the bottom of a blog post – is one of the more challenging aspects of copywriting for people.
It’s not actually hard to do. It’s hard to get yourself to do.
It brings up a lot of personal stuff and internal self-consciousness that makes the average person want to go check on the laundry.
Do they want to check on the laundry? Hell, no. But it’s better than having to… I don’t know… brag about yourself? Make yourself the center of attention?
Being uncomfortable writing about yourself is not mandatory.
I’ve written a lot of copy for people who are too uncomfortable to toot their own horn. I get it, I truly do. Our society has a lot of mixed messages on self-promotion.
But if you’re selling something – whether it’s a product or your expertise – you’re going to need to get comfortable with it.
Once you’re comfortable, the sky’s the limit. You can talk about yourself and all the cool things you have accomplished, learned and experienced in a way that connects with the value you bring to the world.
Now, that’s a beautiful sentiment, but how do you get truly comfortable with writing about yourself? To the point where you can do it well, and without being self-conscious?
You have to do two things: Normalize and templatize.
First, you have to look at other people as examples.
When it comes to self-promotion, we often skew towards the worst-case scenario. We think it’s going to look icky, or pretentious, or narcissistic.
Well, that’s probably because self-promotion often IS icky, and pretentious, and narcissistic.
So we’ve normalized that. We all know what pompous asses sound like. Examples abound. We can’t move for them.
But what most of us haven’t done is normalize the OPPOSITE.
We haven’t noticed all the examples of people who talk about themselves, or write about themselves, in ways we actually like. (Or, at the least, tolerate neutrally.)
To learn to write about ourselves without feeling weird about it, we have to flood ourselves with examples of other people writing about themselves that doesn’t generate an “ewww!” response.
Here’s how to normalize in a hurry.
Go read a bunch of people’s sales pages, or About pages, or bios at the bottom of blog posts. (“About the Author” pages in books are good, too.)
And when you read them, read them. Look at them and ask yourself how you feel about each particular piece of copy.
You don’t have to pay attention to the parts that make you cringe. You already know what’s cringe-worthy. What you do NOT know right now is what comes across as totally okay in your books.
When you’re reading that copy, stop and think about it, even for just 10 seconds.
Ask yourself why that particular phrase, or story, or whatever was “okay” with you. Just sit with it long enough to actually notice it.
Do that, and you’ll start training those very attractive neurons of yours to recognize and normalize what’s perfectly okay. What you can say with a straight face.
You’ll remember some of that when it comes time to write copy about yourself. If you take some notes during the process, you’ll get there a lot faster.
Ok, that’s normalizing.
Next, you’ve got to find yourself some templates.
This part is easy because you can do it while you’re normalizing. (Hint: it relates to the aforementioned note-taking.)
When you see someone with good copy – or even simply acceptable copy, you should hold on to it as a template.
Here’s a little copywriting secret: There is no such thing as “original”. It’s all inspired from other sources.
When Random House has to create an “About the Author” page, they do not go, “Ok, I guess we better reinvent the wheel.” They either dig into a stash of templates, or mash up lines that worked well on a hundred other pages.
They are not “figuring out what to say”. They use existing material as inspiration.
Here’s a simple example from my bookshelf.
Naomi lent me her copy of Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant.
The little bio on the back cover says the following:
“Kamal Ravikant has meditated with monks in the Himalayas, served as a US Army Infantry soldier, walked 550 miles across Spain, and cofounded companies and a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. He honestly doesn’t know where he lives.”
Let’s say Naomi needed to write a bio for herself. She could use this as a template and come up with something like this:
“Naomi Dunford has coached New York Times bestselling authors, created 30+ online products and courses, taught classes to thousands of small business owners and retired before 40. She honestly doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.”
That’s one template.
Say 4 noteworthy things about yourself, and add a kind-of-funny thing at the end that involves “honestly doesn’t know”.
Here’s another example.
I took the liberty of braving the living hell of pop-ups that is Neil Patel’s website to fetch this short bio:
Neil Patel is co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.
Ok, let’s look at this template.
State your relation to multiple projects. Say what you help people with.
I’ll give it a shot for me.
Kris Faraldo writes at IttyBiz.com and is the author of Easy-Peasy Sales Pages. She helps solo business owners grow their product sales and blog traffic.
Boom. Template achieved.
Then you experiment with mashing it up.
Now let’s say we decided to get really racy and combine pieces of these two templates to create the lovechild of Kamal and Neil.
I could take my bio and turn it into something like this:
Kris Faraldo helps solo business owners grow their product sales and blog traffic, and is the author of Easy-Peasy Sales Pages. She honestly doesn’t know why everyone doesn’t have a cat as their avatar.
Is this the height of copywriting genius? No, it’s just an example of what you can do when you notice the structure of other people’s copy and use it for your own.
There’s all kinds of other templates out there if you take a few moments to look.
Everyone’s bio, everyone’s About Page or sales page story is like that template we just looked at – it’s a bunch of specific things that happen that we can put words to.
List 4 noteworthy things. Give a kind-of-funny closing line.
State your relation to multiple projects. Say what you help people with.
If you looked at 10 people’s bios today, you’d be able to identify the specific things that are going on in there. You’d have 10 different fill-in-the-blanks templates.
You can use a template outright, or you can create a mashup.
And with enough “specific things” in your toolkit, you can create a mashup that’s made of so many bits from here and there, that it looks as unique as your fingerprint.
Normalize and templatize, and copy “about you” gets pretty easy.
You’re probably on a fair number of mailing lists, or following marketers on social media.
Every time they launch something, look at their sales pages in the spots where they talk about themselves, and see what feels good-and-not-good. Normalize the stuff that’s “okay” to say.
Same with any emails where they talk about themselves.
Same with their About pages and end-of-post bios.
Whatever feels “acceptable” to you becomes a contender for your templates. Experiment with taking their copy verbatim, and plugging in your details, and see how the templates suit you.
You’ll be a pro at writing about yourself in a week or two.