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When it comes to writing a professional bio or about page, copywriters are typically paid to paint a perfect picture.

We make a family business sound like an idyllic family business; an entrepreneur sound as though they made all the right choices. But truth be told, in some cases, a client’s biggest failure or lowest point can be the brightest and most compelling part of their brand story.

The decision to reveal the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in a personal bio or about page can cause angst among business owners.

How vulnerable should you be and how much should potential clients know? If you honestly share your low moments, will you still be perceived as strong and credible?

Tell it like it is

Earlier this year, I wrote copy for an entrepreneur in the charity sector who wished to share what he considered to be his weakest and most vulnerable life moment.

I began writing his story the way I begin writing all stories – with the target audience in mind - in his case, blue-chip organisations based in the UK. Perhaps, because of the buyer persona, I found myself censoring the ‘ickier’ parts of his past - the drinking, the drugs, the suicidal thoughts.

Then the bolder part of me checked in. I realised that the darker parts of my client’s past and the way he had overcome those challenges was the story. His testimony needed to be honest and vulnerable so it could open hearts.  

The client called me recently to brief me on another project. He told me that he had just signed up two major blue-chip clients on the back of our work together.

When it comes to telling your story, it can pay to tell your truth.

The power of stories

Last month, I was briefed on a video script for a humanitarian client focusing on malnutrition, cholera, and coronavirus in Yemen.

While I’ve already forgotten the specific UN statistics I researched and used, I can clearly remember the case story, which was the heart-wrenching personal testimony of a father who lost his baby girl to cholera. He held nothing back in recounting his story with raw honesty and it is a story I will never forget.

When you tell your story with honesty and authenticity, your audience may not remember the precise facts and stats presented. But they are likely to remember the part where you opened-up and told your truth.

If you are thinking about how to write a professional bio, you are more likely to create a true human connection and leave a lasting impression by being yourself.

Build your brand with truth

To build a credible brand, organisations and individuals must come across as authoritative, trustworthy, and credible. So, of course, highlight your experience, certificates, accolades, awards, testimonials, and client list. But, to create true connection and lasting relationships, dare to be vulnerable.  

A quick Google search reveals plenty of examples of wildly successful business owners who have spoken honestly about their low points and how they overcame them.

Henry Ford created one of the world’s most famous brands, which I’m proud to say I have written copy for – FIND OUT MORE. But before his success, Ford was unable to secure financial backing for his first two automobile ventures. He used these failures to instruct his future success and to inspire others. Ultimately, Henry Ford’s story became one of the most famous brand stories ever.

Tell your story

So, what were the struggles you overcame that enabled you to better serve others with your product, service, and experience. Could they become part of your brand story?

Are you ready to be brave and open-up about the challenging places that led you to where you are now?

In the words of my three-year old son: ‘Try it!’

Be unique. Be captivating. Be unforgettable.

Be honest.

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