One day, you decide it’s finally time to hire a copywriter – a task you’ve been stubbornly putting off for way too long. You hop on Google, type in “freelance copywriter in my area” and click the first link you see.
You land on the home page and scroll through it briefly. Where do you go next?
If you’re like me, you head over to the About page to answer the question: Who is this person and are they someone I can see myself working with?
But the words on the page are dry. It has three sentences talking about where they went to school and how many certifications they have, but it says nothing about who they are and what they’re all about.
The About page is one of the most important pages on any website. It lets your audience know, up front, whether you’re the kind of person who can solve their problem and be someone they can see themselves working with.
It’s your biggest fan. It’s your best salesperson. But it can only do its job if you have the right elements involved. Let’s take a look at what those are.
1. Your (Company’s) Backstory
“The most important things to remember about backstory are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting. Stick to the parts that are, and don’t get carried away with the rest. Life stories are best received in bars, and only then an hour or so before closing time, and if you are buying.”Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
All my life, I was obsessed with stories. At any point in my childhood, you could find me sitting in a corner, nose-deep in the Warriors series (talking cats? yes, please!), staying up past my bedtime watching movies with my older brother, or creating my own stories through video games like Neopets, The Sims, and Donkey Kong 64.
Like many 90s children, I grew up surrounded by stories in all sorts of formats – but I never realized what I was consuming could actually grow to be a career. Later, when I transitioned from studying Journalism to Fashion Marketing, I started analyzing everything around me.
I broke down books and movies into story structures in my head, thought about every billboard I saw on the side of the road and became increasingly frustrated with the low quality of storytelling in the ads I saw on TV. As I learned more about the power of marketing, I was simultaneously taking in the marketing around me and thought: there has to be a better way than this.
That’s when I realized: storytelling is a better version of marketing. It takes away the meaningless and over-promising sales techniques and incorporates a much-needed taste of authenticity to create deep connections with customers. That, combined with my passion for helping women-owned businesses reach equality, has brought me to where I am today.
The above excerpt is an example of a backstory. Now, imagine if I had simply told you:
“My vision is to create a world where female creative entrepreneurs can thrive at the same level as their male peers and feel empowered to use their stories to build brands that will improve the standard of living according to the standards of each culture.”
That’s all well and good, but my vision doesn’t actually mean anything until my audience has a better understanding of who I am and why I care so deeply about using storytelling to help women-owned businesses.
Your About page is the perfect place to incorporate your backstory. As you’re thinking about your backstory, ask yourself: which parts of my life are the most relevant to my customers?
In my case, if you’ve ever thought “there has to be a better way” than the over-promising and bragging methods of advertising and marketing, my backstory should have resonated with you. That’s the magic of storytelling.
But just like a vision is meaningless without a backstory, the same goes for the other way around. That’s why you also need to include your brand’s fundamentals on your About page.
2. Your Brand Fundamentals
What drives you to wake up every morning and run your business?
Hint: It’s got to be more than just for the $$$.
Your brand fundamentals are the reason why you do what you do and why customers should buy from you. They include your mission, vision, values, and value proposition. This builds the core of your brand and gives your audience something to align with.
If you haven’t come up with these fundamentals yet, it can be a bit difficult to think of ones that work best for your brand. So, let’s break this down:
Don’t worry – I’m not asking you to determine the purpose of life and turn into an existentialist who wanders the woods barefoot asking the trees why you’re here. However, if you’d like to go do that, I’m all for it. You do you!
What I am asking you to do is sit down and really think about what you’re being called to do. Try new things. Open yourself to new experiences and new people. Write down your thoughts and pay attention to what gives you the most energy. Soon enough, you’ll find the hints that will lead you down the right path.
What change would you like to see in the world? What can you do to get that change to happen?
Let’s be clear – the vision doesn’t have to be as big and scary as “solve world hunger.” While that’s a great goal, it’s likely not achievable by yourself or even, unfortunately, in your lifetime.
Come up with a vision that states exactly what your business and mission are here to accomplish.
Your values make up who you are and what you’re working to achieve while you’re on this planet. If they’re not well-defined, it’s impossible to find clarity.
Determining and understanding what your true values are will help you move in the right direction, no matter what life throws at you.
Discovering your values takes a lot of thought and time, but once they’re set, they’ll provide the framework for every decision you make from now on. In turn, they establish the core of what makes you stand out.
Your Value Proposition
The last thing we’re going to consider as a major portion of your brand story is your value proposition. This is a literal statement of who you are, what you provide, and how you stand out.
In 1-2 sentences, your value proposition should sum up everything your customer will get out of interacting with your product/service. No pressure, right?
3. A Strong Brand Personality
Have you ever walked away from a conversation with someone you just met and thought, “wow, they have no personality”?
If so, there’s a strong chance you’re not so eager to chat with them again.
The same goes for your brand. Interacting with a brand with a personality as engaging as a 4-hour accounting lecture in a stuffy classroom is not only boring as hell, but it’s not going to leave a great impression.
Upon first glance, creating a strong brand personality may seem like an unnecessary burden. After all, why should you spend a bunch of time and energy to do this when you could simply create and sell your products instead?
Incorporating personality into your brand not only creates loyal customers but also allows them to connect with your business on a deeper level and feel as though your products are made just for them.
As you come up with your brand personality, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want to be known for?
- How would I describe my personal style?
- What are my superpowers?
- Who are my customers and what will resonate the most with them?
Once you’ve established your brand personality, come up with 2-3 words to define your brand voice. This can be something like: fun, sassy, and quirky.
As soon as you’ve established your brand voice, don’t be scared to use it in full-force. Don’t half-ass it because you’re too scared to piss someone off. Remember: you know you’re successful when people love and hate you. If everyone likes you, you have a lot of work to do.