5 Ways Your 'About' Section Might Be Turning Readers Off
There’s an art to getting people to like you. And while being “liked” probably shouldn’t be your top priority in your personal life, it’s kind of a big deal if you want people to support your business. Branding is that art. The way you talk about yourself - the way that you tell your story - is a part of your branding. It’s also really easy to get this part wrong if you choose the wrong tone or have a hard time getting the information across that your audience really cares about. I’ve definitely left a website or two because of an off-putting “about” section and never looked back. And I know I’m not the only one. So, let’s explore 5 ways you might be turning off your readers without even knowing it.
1) YOU’RE BURYING THE LEAD
If you remember learning how to write an essay in English class, you might've been taught to put your argument or thesis in the first paragraph. The point of this is to let your reader know exactly what you’re writing about from the beginning, then you spend the rest of the essay proving your point. You could think of brand storytelling in a similar way. If you’ve buried the most unique or compelling feature of your brand in a lengthy, overwrought “about” section, you’re probably losing your audience before they’ve reached the goods. People want to read copy that gets to the point and touches on something that matters to them. I often tell clients that if they can’t summarize their brand’s purpose in 1-2 sentences, no one will care that they can in 1-2 paragraphs. Figure out your bottom line and put it up top.
2) YOU’RE TRYING TOO HARD
You're using a bunch of big words, listing credentials that have nothing with what you offer, and relying on fluffy, poetic language that doesn’t add clarity to your brand. Why? Just stop. When you’re on a first date or at a networking event, can’t you tell when someone is trying to be impressive? Don’t make your “about” section that obnoxious. People will connect with a genuine tone more than a boastful one. And they WILL know the difference. So, read your "about" section out loud. If it doesn't sound like something you'd say in conversation, start simplifying your tone and get back to basics.
3) YOU’RE SPEAKING IN THIRD PERSON FOR NO REASON
In a way, this ties into point #2. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes writing in third person is the more appropriate choice. But in many instances, it sounds like you’re trying to make your business sound larger than it actually is, or like you’re trying to inflate your own importance. If you are the voice of your brand or if you’re the sole owner and operator of your business, avoid third person in your "about" section. One strategy I've used for this was to write my "about" section in first person and link to my extended bio, which is in third person.
4) YOU’RE CONFUSING THE HELL OUT OF PEOPLE
This one is super important, and it’s all about consistency. You can be complex and have various layers and interests, but your brand messaging needs to be focused. If your Instagram bio says one thing, your website description says another, and your content focuses on a third thing altogether, how is anyone going to figure out who you are? Nail your key messaging, and commit to it. Some people mistake this advice as a creative barrier. But if you’ve developed a truly solid mission for your brand, a key message is not a barrier at all, but rather like a motto.
5) YOU SOUND NEGATIVE
We’ve all got something to prove, especially when you’re really trying to sell the benefits of your brand. But you shouldn’t sound like you have something to prove. This means, when talking about who you are or what your brand offers, don’t directly insult the things that you are not. An “about” section that sounds bitter, competitive or judgmental is an immediate turnoff. What are you so mad about? Focus on sounding passionate, informed and invested instead, and you'll naturally set yourself apart.
Let's be honest. Which of these have you been guilty of? Share your thoughts in the comments!