As I have discovered, most entrepreneurs have a hard time discerning what is important to put into a bio and what is not. For this reason, I have without fail tossed out the working bios of incoming clients, writing brand new ones that get my clients the attention of their target audiences. Here are four steps to writing a professional bio that gets you noticed:
Establish your credentials.
Your bio needs to make it clear why someone should trust and work with you. To prepare for writing your bio, make a list of your formal and informal credentials. Formal credentials include degrees, certificates and job titles. Informal credentials refer to life experience that has positioned you as an expert in your field. You may not have a culinary degree, for example, but you may have grown up in a family of gourmet chefs. If you are a restaurant owner, that life experience is key to include in your bio.
Showcase your expertise.
To demonstrate that you are a leader in your field, you need to establish that others recognize you as such. To this end, make a list of media outlets that featured you; books and articles you published; awards you received; venues where you presented; and VIPs with whom you worked in some capacity.
Highlight your bling.
A shortcut to establishing trust is emphasizing the accomplishments that will make readers go "ooh-ahh." Review your lists of credentials and expertise, identifying which are the most impressive to your target audience. Perhaps you have been featured in two national magazines with name recognition, as well as 10 local cable and Blog Talk shows that nobody ever heard of. Include the two national magazines in your bio, and leave out the rest. It will look far more impressive. If your bio targets a niche market, of course, be sure to include the most valued accomplishments for that sector, even if they are not well-known to others.
Keep it short and simple.
Your main professional bio, which among other things should be used for press releases and press kits, should be one or two paragraphs long, depending on how extensive your accomplishments are. You always can have a longer version of your bio available for those already interested in your work -- for example, on the "about" page of your website. Just be sure to start with the main bio, then tack on any fun or quirky information in the following paragraphs, to ensure you still grab the readers' attention and establish your expertise first thing.