Over the last year or so, Michael Margolis’ article on the power of the bio – and the waning usefulness of a resumé – has gotten a lot of attention. And for good reason: he’s absolutely right that most people in most industries are better evaluated by the full body of their activity than by whatever highlights can be squeezed into a page or two of copy.
As I re-read the article this morning, I realized that his points are applicable to companies and not just individuals.
Your bio should address the following five questions:
- Who am I?
- How can I help you?
- How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?
- Why can you trust me?
- What do we share in common?
A business should apply those ideas to their website, though with some provisos: “How can I help you” should be the top of the list. It should be the focus of your home page and the driving force behind your content marketing strategy.
Your marketing should also establish “Why can you trust me” with testimonials, reviews, representative client lists, and social proof. Reducing the perception of risk for prospects who are deciding whether to work with you is an important part of the sales process.
“What do we share in common” is, for companies, related to the trust issue. Whether it’s relevant or not, many prospects want to know you’ve helped others just like them.
The last two items on his list are less relevant to business marketing. Who you are and how you got here are fodder for the About section pages of your website. It’s good info to have, but it typically serves to flesh out the initial impressions your prospects have. Rarely is that the first stop on their tour of your site, and rarely is it the kind of information that draws prospects to you in the first place.
“[Your bio is the] linchpin for expanding your thought leadership and recognition, especially online. It frames the conversation and sets the tone. It’s your job to reveal a bit about yourself and how you see the world. Do this well, and people will eagerly want to engage with you further.”
This is perhaps even more true in marketing a firm than in marketing an individual. It’s not about being better than the competition. Everyone claims that; no-one believes it. It’s about being different – staking out ground where your capabilities are unparalleled. Content marketing will be a big part of establishing your perspective, point of view, and expertise. Make sure your voice is consistent and aligned with your sales objectives.
Finally, his thoughts on “inviting people into a relationship” are spot on, as well. Whether you’re an individual establishing his or her reputation in an industry or a small or even large firm wanting to connect with potential clients, it’s the relationship, and strengthening it over time, that will drive sales and increase profits. Make sure your content marketing supports that relationship building.
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