How to Write a Staff Bio That Sells
How to Make an Engaging Staff Biographies For Your Website
If you have been to any of our service business websites, such as one for a law firm, AEC companies, or wealth management firms, you’ll find a section dedicated to the key staff at the company. There’s usually a picture of each person, name, title, optionally some contact information and a link to a biography. For lawyers, it lists cases they were involved in, and for AEC, you’ll find links to the projects they were involved with. While sharing this information is important, it's crucial to show it in an engaging, readable, and interesting way. If a lawyer lists all their cases, education, and published works, all in one paragraph, it's going to be hard to read and in all honesty, probably won't be read at all. We often see bios like that which miss out on a huge opportunity for business.
Did you know that the staff biographies are one of the most important parts of a service firm’s website? For example, for our site, the staff page is the third most visited page on the site (our home page and portfolio pages are the first two). Staff bios make up 15% of our site traffic, excluding the home page. Anecdotally, we know that our potential clients read them -- topics from them come up in sales calls and one time, we had a potential vendor send a personalized gift to a team member based on the information in the team member’s bio!
So, not only can boring bios be damaging, the bio is one of the most-viewed and referenced parts of your site. That then begs the question, what makes a good staff page? How do you take a story of someone’s career development and make it exciting and engaging? Here are some tips:
Remember Your Audience
A mistake that many team members have is that they write their biography for an audience of one: themselves. You may be very proud of a specific accomplishment in your career, but is your pool of potential clients going to be impressed by your arguments in Smith vs Tanning-Stuart, a case that involved damages of $100? Probably not. Likewise, the case that was all over the news with a splashy verdict in your favor that was easy, you worked as part of a larger team and you aren’t personally impressed with might be more compelling to use in a biography.
One way to help this is to engage a professional copywriter. Leadership team members usually are good writers, but they don’t often write marketing copy for a website -- and a copywriter can help bridge the gap between good writing skills that make for good corporate memos and great biographies that attract clients for a website.
Be Visually Appealing
The first step to making any biography look better is to get a graphic designer involved. The most boring text can be made to be more engaging simply by having an appropriate graphics treatment. Pull out quotes, use fonts that engage the client, and a creative display of the team can be helpful in attracting attention.
On the subject of creative displays of the team, consider a way to show off your staff in a way that's still on-brand for your business. Clients and colleagues alike will love seeing creativity, while still staying professional. Look at Atlassian’s leadership team -- modeled as bobbleheads dressed in all black. It is tasteful, professional -and attracts positive attention (imagine how many people call them and compliment them on this!).
Not sure how to have a little fun while still looking professional? Consider an option as we do at efelle by having cohesive overview images, and then fun detail images that share a bit more of each team member's personality.
Make it Personal
Firms in the service industry often forget their biggest asset is their people. They have no physical product to sell - so essentially they are selling their people. That’s where a robotic or dry biography can hurt -- people like to work with people or robots. Make a big point of accentuating the human element: make the family mention less brief and talk about volunteer work or other humanizing characteristics. It is also helpful if the personal data is uniform across the company -- consider adding a section for a favorite musician or the answer to a question for everyone in the firm to answer.
Consider asking coworkers to edit or add to your biography -- they might be able to notice details about you that you think aren’t important but others will be impressed with.
Tell a Story
In college, my School of Journalism classes taught me how to write a story for the news. In your biography, consider approaching the task as an opportunity to tell your own story. Edit out parts of your life experience that don’t fit the narrative you are trying to present. For example, if your college degree is in philosophy and you are a member of the leadership team at an engineering firm, that doesn't have much to do with your story at the moment. Likewise, your experience with Legos as a kid that got you excited about engineering might be more useful.
Add the Right People
Many firms only give space for a biography for leadership team members, and we often ask you to reconsider. As a service firm, you're selling a relationship with the people of your firm. The “everyday” people they speak with are the ones who they will form relationships with so it would be a great idea to include those people who your clients will actually work with. Be sure to include a section to your new employee onboarding process that includes getting a headshot picture taken and a biography written - so that your website stays up to date. This also helps build employee morale -- an employee who is important enough to add to your site will feel important and will be happier with their position.
That said, make sure that whatever staff listing you add to your site can be maintained over time. If your firm has hundreds of employees, add lifestyle photos from team events and group photos as a way to show off your team without taking hundreds of employee bios.
Unsure How to Present Your Team On Your Website?
With over 800 websites under our belts, we know what works best for each industry. Whether it's a law firm with decades of experience, or an eCommerce website showcasing their creative team, we're here to help show your business the best practices. Fill out this form and let's get started.