AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, Amy Porterfield here. Welcome to another edition of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m thrilled that you’re here so thanks for tuning in.
Today’s topic is one of my favorites. We are talking about your About Page. We are getting very specific. I’m going to help you break it down and hopefully by the end of this podcast you will be excited to dive into your About Page and make it even better.
My guest today is a true modern renaissance woman. Melissa Cassera is known in her hometown of Los Angeles as a screenwriter, an actress, and a publicity expert who can take anyone’s book, website, or platform and get it on TV.
But if you don’t live in Hollywood you might know her through her website, www.melissacassera.com, the world’s most addictive site to get publicity and sales. Her website is filled with, not just marketing advice, but personality. This girl is so funny. Once you start reading you just cannot stop.
Melissa is also someone that truly practices what she preaches. You can tell she knows what she’s talking about in regard to marketing because she is really fantastic at marketing herself. That is always a good telltale sign.
As I mentioned, today I’m going to talk about a very important aspect of marketing with Melissa, your About Page on your website. It may seem like an afterthought sometimes. Maybe you have put down a few vital details like your name and education with a little information about what you do. Maybe you thought you would fill it in later when you get more time. Or maybe you are dreading working on your About Page because you just don’t like writing and you sure as heck don’t want to sit there and brag all about yourself.
I know how that feels. But we’ve got to put some attention to that About Page. Did you know your About Page is getting tons of visits when people visit your website? Sometimes it’s the most visited page on your website. So you’ve got to make it good.
There are some tips and tricks to really optimizing that space and that is what we are talking about today.
Melissa put together our free giveaway for today. Like everything she does, it is really fabulous and you are going to love it. It’s called Craft a Crazy Impressive About Page. It is not only going to help you a ton, it is super fun to use. It’s like playing MadLibs. Do you remember MadLibs back in the day? If you are super young you won’t.
Basically it is a fun way to fill in the blanks of every section for your About Page. Once you do this you actually have something of great value to put on your website. It is a template that you get to fill in. You can get this at http://www.amyporterfield.com/ 65download or you can text the phrase 65download to 33444.
You are going to love the free giveaway on this episode and thank you Melissa, so much, for creating it for us. It is so well done. I cannot wait for you all to jump in.
Before I bring Melissa on, as always, this episode is brought to you buy Lead Pages, my favorite tool of choice. It helps me grow my email list every single day. One of the features I’m loving the most right now is the pop-up box I can put inside my blog post. Now you can also use Lead Pages to put pop-up boxes inside your About Page so you can be getting leads when people are reading your About Page. I’ll mention that when I get into the interview with Melissa.
If you want to learn more about my favorite tool of all time, Lead Pages, I created a special workshop for you called Four Steps to Quickly Grow Your List Without Spending All of Your Time on Marketing. You can go to http:// www.amyporterfield.com/newleads and get access to it right away. It’s extremely valuable and I can’t wait until you dive in.
I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s go ahead and bring on Melissa.
Amy: Melissa, thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it.
Melissa: Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here.
Amy: I’m excited to have you because you have been mentioned on my podcast before. I am absolutely in love with your About Page and I got really excited when I thought about dissecting this and getting you on the show to talk about how you did it.
This is going to be a really action-packed podcast. We have so much prepared for it so let’s go ahead and dive in.
The first question I have for you is, “What makes the About Pages so important?”
Melissa: I like to correlate everything with Hollywood, just so everyone knows.
Amy: That’s a lot of fun.
Melissa: You will hear a lot of Hollywood speak. I like to think of an About Page as what you would wear on the red carpet. So think like Emmys, Oscars, Tonys, Grammys. It is something that should make you feel completely amazing but also show off your best assets. That way people are completely clamoring for your attention.
Amy: Well, you can’t go wrong with that.
Melissa: Absolutely. It should totally be tasteful but then it should also be playful. It should show off your personality in some way. It needs to be impressive, of course, and stack up your credentials, but not too buttoned up so that it bores people to tears.
It should leave people excited and I like to use the word dazzled but also leave people wanting more. You don’t want the About Page to be a complete thing and then it’s done. You want them to be salivating for more of you.
Amy: Okay, the exciting thing about this show is we are going to make it really actionable for everybody listening. So when you finish this episode you are going to want to run off and either rewrite your entire About Page or at least tweak it in some areas to make it even better.
Can you explain the difference between the 25-word bio, the 75-word bio, and the 150-word bio? You mention these and what are each of them and what is the common thread that needs to be in all of them?
Melissa: You do need to have multiple bios. Then, your About Page is also kind of separate from that.
Amy: Oh, whoa! Okay.
Melissa: So if you think about it, there are actually four different things you should have. That sounds like a lot but I promise there are common threads and they all sort of build upon one another so it makes it really easy.
A 25-word bio is basically just your intro. That is when you are at a cocktail party networking event or even just talking to someone on the phone and they ask what you do. What do you say? Some people call that an elevator pitch. I think that term is super boring so I call it the cocktail mini.
Amy: I like it.
Melissa: That sounds more fun. Essentially, where you are coming with that is you are just saying, “Hi, I’m Melissa” or “Hi, I’m Amy” and then you are telling them how you serve.
Instead of rattling off a bunch of boring titles, and in some cases our titles are really confusing to people, especially if they aren’t in our target market, so when you say I like to help people or serve people or teach people to do this or that it makes a lot more sense.
The 75-word bio is what is called a byline. Some of you may be familiar with that and some of you may not. It is actually a term that is used quite often in the press in magazines, televisions, newspapers, etc. A byline is essentially a mini descriptor of who you are. If you have ever guest blogged before you have probably put together a byline.
A byline is essentially talking about yourself in the third person. You wouldn’t say, “Hi, I’m Melissa.” You might instead say, “Melissa Cassera is a PR expert, blah, blah, blah.”
Really, the key element of that is just sort of twisting what would be your 25-word into something that is written in the third person yet still talking about how you serve your audience, again, not rattling off boring titles but just saying, “she serves by doing this,” or “she helps the world by,” and then having some clear call to action there.
A byline is supposed to be for an external source so that wouldn’t go on your website. It would be externally driving people back to your website. In that case you have to have a super clear call to action. Please do not miss that. The call to action is usually, for your opt in. Sometimes it could be to buy or purchase something. I say it is better to send them to your opt in so they get on your list and get to know you for a little while. So that’s the byline.
The 150-word story, again, is something that will then move into your About Page. Your 150-word story is just a little bit more detailed about you. It would kind of build upon your byline and 25-word intro. It would include how you like to serve the world and where they can find you.
It will also include a few other details, a couple of personal things about you, maybe things about your family or hobbies, and maybe some fun facts about you. You might have a few extra credentials stacked in there as well. It’s sort of a built-out bio. That is useful for people that ask you for a longer bio.
If somebody says they want something between 150 and 200 words that is the perfect one and it is what you will use.
I feel like there is a lot going on here. The difference with the About Page is that it goes on your own website. This is when people are clicking around and think you look really cool so they want to learn more about you.
When they go to your About Page they have the opportunity to learn more about you. Your About Page comprises all of the things I just talked about. Specifically though, I would say it is the closest to the 150-word story except you should really write your About Page in first person.
Amy: That’s good to know.
Melissa: The only time that will be different, and actually this is a mini tweak, if you have a larger company where you are not at the helm of it (What I mean by that is you are your own brand so you are Amy Porterfield, I am my own brand, Melissa Cassera, but some people create companies that are not about them. If your company is Toyota that’s not about one specific person) there may be kind of a more generic company bio. But there would then be the bios for the key leaders or executives. Again, those should be more personalized. I don’t know if Toyota does that but it’s my opinion on it.
Amy: I agree.
Melissa: For us, especially if you are an expert (I think a lot of your audience are teachers or coaches or consultants and their brand depends on them), you really need to personalize that section. That is super important. When someone lands on the About Page it should feel like they are meeting you in person and shaking your hand.
You never want to talk about yourself in third person because that will come off rather strange.
Amy: A little awkward.
Melissa: A little awkward, right? So, I am sure we are going to go through some key components of the About Page coming up and how to build that out specifically for your audience. But that’s the essence that they should get. They should feel they are in the room with you talking to you in person with you just telling them about yourself in a really compelling and interesting way.
Amy: First of all, I love this idea of the 25-word, 75-word, and 150-word bio because these are the things people are asking for constantly if you are guest blog posting, if you are speaking somewhere, if you are doing this or that. It is so nice to have those written and then put them somewhere.
I am a stickler for systems and processes in Dropbox. But, put them somewhere so that you can do a quick cut and paste. If you have a small team your team should be able to access those at any time. This is something I didn’t do in the very beginning and I was always scrambling for those little bites about what I do and who I am. It is just so nice to have it done with a cut and paste kind of thing. I love that you have your clients do something like that.
Let’s talk about the About Page even more. What is the North Star for someone creating their About Page? What should be guiding them through the process?
Melissa: As far as the North Star, always think about how you serve the world. I think a lot of times we get caught up when writing About Pages or bios. We think about a title that everyone will know. We question whether we should use marketing expert or branding expert or health coach. I see a lot of people get so stuck into that as opposed to looking at your “Why” for your business.
Think about why you do what you do, how you serve the world. You really want to paint a picture of the world or society or lifestyle you are trying to create through your business. I can give you a more tangible example and I will use your bio as an example.
On your About Page you could say, “Amy Porterfield is a Facebook expert that helps people do better with social media.” Great, everybody would be like, “Okay, snooze.” They are going to die of boredom.
Instead, you don’t talk about that in the beginning. You don’t open with that. Instead you open with helping people craft a life that they love out of what they do. I think that’s your opening sentence or at least opening paragraph.
That’s really important that you did that because it is your mission. That is the picture you are painting of a better world for them and a better society and better life and business. That’s the North Star. It is what you want to think about, how you serve.
I provided a download that I am sure you are going to mention as well, but I provided a template that will accompany this. In the template I have a whole bunch of little zingers and things that can help you figure out what that is. I would also say if you are completely lost about what your “why” or movement is in the world to make sure to read the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek.
Amy: Oh, that’s a really good one.
Melissa: It’s a good one, yes.
Amy: I love that. You mentioned the PDF giveaway that we have for this episode. I want to talk about it because you created a post, Build a Better Bio. It’s like creating an About Page with MadLibs. Do you think MadLibs is just a certain time? Do you think the young’uns listening won’t know what that is?
Amy: This is where I start feeling a little old, but we loved MadLibs. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is basically a story where you get to fill in the blanks and it usually turns out pretty funny once all of the blanks are filled in.
You have created a template that people can use, like a MadLibs-style template, to create their About Page. That is the giveaway. You can get it at http:// www.amyporterfield.com/65download.
Let’s break it down here. Let’s make it really actionable. Can you walk us through the key components of an About Page? You have it set up where people can fill in the blanks but can you tell us what’s important about each of the blanks you are going to walk us through in the template?
Melissa: Absolutely. The first section is kind of just going to spiral off of the discussion we just had. You need to have a personalized introduction. It should feel like a handshake. It should feel like they are in the room with you.
You don’t want to talk about being Amy, the Facebook expert. You want to talk about how you serve people. This gives people a reason to care about you and this is what you need to create true obsession from your audience.
This is what’s going to tick them to say, “I really want to know more about this gal” or “I really want to know more about this guy” because you are hitting an emotional trigger point in them to make them excited to work with you or learn more about you.
That is the first section, instead of just rattling off your titles or the things you have accomplished, you want to start with how you love to serve the world. Just like Amy does in her bio where she helps you craft a life you love out of what you do, in my bio it’s about running a business that feels like a guilty pleasure for you and your audience. That is my “why”, there is lots of pleasure baked in.
You want to start and kind of kick off with that. Again, that will be in the template to help you figure that out. If you need to go deeper and are totally lost on that you should read Simon Sinek’s book, I highly recommend it.
The second section of your About Page will be about your credentials. We do need to share with people what our accolades are, the things we have stacked up and maybe things we have accomplished through education or through our company, our awards or other notable things that have happened.
It is important to do that because you have to have some kind of credibility with your audience. If you have no credibility then after you talk about how you serve the world they might just check out. So now is your time to impress them. You want to get them to stick around.
You want to impress them with some things you have accomplished. If you are just starting out with your business don’t worry that you don’t have ten years of experience or that you haven’t won a boat load of awards.
There are some things you can think about and think through your business. You can always sort of turn them into magazine headline-worthy bullet points. I’m not saying to trump up your expertise but you can write them in a way that feels really fun and doesn’t just sound like you are rattling off a list that is super boring to consume.
Some things you can include are potentially the number of years you have been in business, if that is the case for you. Even if you worked in the corporate world and transitioned into entrepreneurship that matters. The fact that you were in marketing and you worked in marketing for ten years in corporate and you are only in year one of your business still means something. All of the years that you accrued are really important for people so that they can see proven experience and longevity. If that’s your case then definitely include that.
Impressive clients and companies that you have worked with or even the number of people you have served can be included. In some cases some of us have worked with large companies that are recognizable. If you can and are allowed legally to mention their name that is a great place to do it.
If not, why not think about the large number of people you have served. That doesn’t need to be clients. It could also be audience. Let’s say you only have one class and you have only taught 100 people or have only had 100 clients or even 20 clients. But your list has 3,000 people on it. So you can mention that. You can say you regularly serve 3,000+ people with the following advice.
Think about the total number of your community. That’s what I mean about spinning magazine headline-worthy bullet points here. Think about that kind of terms, how many people are you serving when you combine your newsletter list and social media followers. That will look like an impressive number. And it’s true because all of those people are on your list and they follow you. You just want to write it in a way that feels really exciting and impressive.
You can also list any press mentions. If you have been on a top blog or if you have guest blogged somewhere or have been featured in a magazine or on television or the radio this is a great place to mention that. Those types of things add a lot of credibility; third-party endorsement as well. If you have been featured in one of those places that means that person thought you rocked and that is why they featured you so that is a really beautiful ticker for third-party endorsement.
Lastly, you could mention some client success stories if that is relevant. I don’t mean to weave in testimonials unless you could say something like, “My clients often call me the Olivia Pope of PR.”
Amy: That’s good!
Melissa: Right. So I get that a lot from my clients. I might say that. I don’t think I have that on my About Page now but I might use that because that’s really fun. If you get that kind of thing from your clients quiet often where they say, “Oh my gosh, you are like Mother Teresa,” or “You are amazing,” you might want to put it in there, “my clients regularly call me .”
That is a really fun one to do. Between those four things you should have enough to be able to stack up some credentials in that section and make them feel exciting.
One really quick thing though before we move on to the next section that is super important is to please make sure whatever credentials you post are understandable by your ideal client. I see this a lot. For example, I will have clients that will post, “I won the Harold J. Thompson III award for excellence.”
You ask what the hell that is. To them it means something because they know what it means. But their clients have no clue. If that’s the case and you won the Harold J. Thompson III award for excellence you can say that you won it but then add a little ticker on the end of it to say it is “basically the Academy Award for health coaches.”
You explain to the your audience what that award means in your industry. Don’t assume they will know what that is. So that is an important one. I also have a lot of clients that have lots of educational credentials and they will list titles. That is great. But if you are going to write that you need to explain what the credential means.
You need to say, “I went to the Harvard of health coaching schools.” You have to say what it is so that people will understand.
Amy: Got you. Okay.
Melissa: Are you ready for the next section.
Amy: I didn’t want to say anything because I thought you were going right for it. Yes, what is the next section?
Melissa: Now we are getting out of all of our business stuff and are moving into what we do when we are actually not working.
Amy: I think this is the part that sells. I feel this is big.
Melissa: It totally sells. This is about giving your audience a glimpse into who you are as an actual person in the world and not just a business owner. This is where you can talk about family or travel or hobbies or quirky side passions or whatever that looks like for you.
This is so important, not only because it makes an emotional connection with people an allows them to get to know you on a more personal level, but it also sets you apart from the competition, this section alone.
I think one of the top questions I get is how to differentiate yourself from the competition. I often feel it is so easy because if you just show off your personality and give people a glimpse into who you are no one has that same personality makeup as you. No one in the world will have the same exact credentials and family life and hobbies and quirky side passions and personalities as you. So that’s how you stand apart. This is the easiest thing you can do.
Just beef up this section and that’s how you can differentiate from other people that sell similar products and services but they don’t have the same lifestyle makeup as you. This is also important because it allows you an opportunity to present a really accurate depiction of what your lifestyle is.
Going back to that beginning part where I said you have to talk about how you serve people, that’s how we open our About Page. This section should drive that home. If Amy is talking about loving to serve people by helping them create a business out of what they love then she had better prove in this section that she has a business that she loves.
Amy: That’s good.
Melissa: I think you do that very well. But, let’s say your business is all about giving people freedom by running an online business, that’s your “why”, you want more freedom in the world. If this is the picture that you are painting, then in this part of your bio I want to see that you are living a freedom-filled life, whatever that means.
That could mean you are traveling the world or that you have all of this free time to pursue a really fun side passion, whatever that looks like. This is where you need to drive that home and show people that you practice what you preach.
Amy: I have a question for you that might be a little tricky so it’s okay if you can’t answer this one. One thing I notice that some of my clients do is start to tell stories about themselves because this is the time they are going to bring in the personal. But it is so indulgent that it almost loses me. When I look at yours it is like you are telling your story but I still feel like you are bringing it back to me somehow or another.
Is there a fine line or art or science to that where you are talking about you but you are really making it about them?
Melissa: Yes. Absolutely. I kind of use a combo of two different things. The first thing is, any time I write anything in my business (this goes beyond About Pages, it could be for other content and blogs) I always check myself multiple times through that writing. I ask whether what I am writing is really going to help somebody.
Amy: I love that. Okay. Simple question.
Melissa: It is a simple question. It sounds super easy but, I’m telling you, if you check yourself and get honest with yourself you will eliminate a lot of things in your content that doesn’t need to be there. You question whether it is just a brag or if it is really helping someone.
I use a combo of checking myself and then (I think this helps and if it isn’t your natural personality then please don’t do this) I am a little bit self deprecating. I will poke fun at myself. I love revealing quirky things, things that will make people say they can’t believe I do that.
That does really help with my audience because they feel it is real. They think it is great that I did some cool thing but then I also didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 30 years old. It is like I have cool things in my life but then I am humanizing myself again. I try to counterbalance that.
If I am talking about something that would be perceived as impressive I also want to include something that is either quirky or weird or different. I am a big fan of showing your brush strokes. I wrote a whole blog post (Don’t Hide Your Brushstrokes) about that.
That means don’t hide your journey to where you got to today. It is unfortunate that so many people do that. I think they do it because they think they don’t want to show their mistakes because they are scared. In fact, that is an opportunity for people to say, “Thank you for sharing that because now I don’t feel alone.”
A way you could weave that into this section if you are uber successful and are a multimillionaire now and travel the world you may include a line in there about how there were a lot of trials and tribulations that got you to this place and that it was through the stumbling blocks that you learned the biggest lessons.
Maybe you just include a small line like that to make people thank you for saying that because they now know you are human and have had fumbles. The fact that you look at your fumbles as the best opportunity for success makes others feel better about themselves.
That is a good place to check yourself and talk about things you are doing that are impressive yet also make sure your audience feels included and know that your goal is to help them to get to the same place you are and not hide your brush strokes of how you got there. Does that make sense?
Amy: It does. I love that. I am going to link to that article for sure in the show notes and the article, Build a Better Bio. I think those two are fantastic. You have so many good articles on your blogs. I will link to your blog in general but I am going to highlight those two articles for sure in the show notes.
I have a question, I want to jump back to when you talked about skills and all of that. Before I do that, did you go through all of the sections of your About Page?
Melissa: We have two more very quick sections.
Amy: Okay, tell me those and then I am going to jump back.
Melissa: The next section is actually super fun because it’s called “Fun Facts”. It may seem frivolous but this is actually the section that I guarantee you will get the most people contacting you about.
Amy: This is why I fell in love with you, your Fun Facts.
Melissa: Thank you! See!
Amy: Yes, this worked for me.
Melissa: Yes, it works. I get emails every single day, “Oh my God, you like erotic fiction. What’s in your Kindle?” People will contact me because of this.
This is the section where it hits an emotional trigger with people. It gives them a real sense of what it’s like to work with you, to play with you, and what’s going on in your world behind the scenes. It is really super appealing to your ideal customers. That is very important for everybody to know, we are not writing our bios for everybody. Our bios are intended to really turn on our ideal customers and they should be turning off the people that you don’t work with.
Amy: Oh, that’s good. Say it one more time, that’s so good.
Melissa: Your bio or About Page is only intended to turn on your ideal customers and it should be repelling the people that you want to turn off.
Amy: Okay, that’s good.
Melissa: That’s super important. This is your section to have fun, list ten fun facts or five fun facts about yourself, little quirky things. Then, finally our last section is to include some kind of clear action step.
We talked about this earlier with guest blogs. If you are giving them a byline you need some kind of clear action step for them to do at the end. I also like to include this in my bio because by the time they have read all the way to the end if I have done it right they are probably wanting to be in your world and want to do something with you.
Have some way that they can play with you. What’s the next step? That might be to grab your opt-in gift, it could be to check out one of your products or services, it could be to contact you to set up a consultation or whatever. Whatever your specific action step is just give them some thing to do so that if they want to make that next move you are telling them specifically what you want the next move to be rather than leaving them to their own devices.
When you leave people to their own devices they will either click away or click around the site and eventually flitter away and be gone. Be really specific with how they can work with you next or how they can be in your world next.
Amy: Perfect. That’s the final piece of it?
Melissa: That’s it.
Amy: That actually reminds me, I have a few questions for you. You also have a great blog post with four things…
Melissa: Four Questions to Help you Identify What’s Not Working in Your Business.
Amy: I will definitely be linking to that one as well. But here is something you said, “Having millions of fans can be great. Getting on TV can be fun. But getting famous is not all it’s cracked up to be and getting featured in the media doesn’t always lead to sales either.”
I love how you word that because when it comes to sales are we supposed to be selling on our About Page?
Melissa: In my opinion, no. I am not a huge fan of shoving a sales message down people’s throats when they are just getting to know me. It doesn’t feel like it is at the right phase to do that. However, in your call to action (which I mentioned), that is the place where you are telling them what next step you want them to take.
In my opinion I think you should make that next step something about free content. We are all building the know, like, and trust factor online, and especially online. There is a big difference doing business online than off. It can be very hard to build that know, like, and trust with people when there is a barrier of a computer and you aren’t actually meeting.
I believe you should be driving them to more valuable content. Whether it is an opt in or a free challenge or maybe a compilation or library of your best blog posts or best podcasts or whatever your content bank looks like, that’s what I think you should do rather than asking them to work together right away.
The only exception would be for some consultants and coaches who have an intake process that actually gives people an appetizer-size portion of what it is like to work with them. They might do a 15 or 30-minute free consult. If you have something like that then that could be fun to put there. Then you are just taking the next level of “let’s get to know each other” because you are hopping on the phone or on Skype and getting to know them.
I find that works a lot better than linking them directly to purchase something. At that point they may just not be ready. They don’t know you well enough. They have just read something really awesome and now you are already to sell them something.
Amy: I totally agree. That’s everything I teach so I am on the same page with you for sure. Make it a great lead magnet (what I call it) that somehow relates to what you have just talked about inside the About Page so there is good alignment. I think that’s fantastic. And I personally love to use Lead Pages pop-up box so there is a link that might say, “Click here” and then they click and there is a pop-up box so they don’t have to go anywhere else. They can stay on the About Page if they still want to keep reading but there is some opportunity.
Derek Halpern, of Social Triggers, was the very first person years ago that told me I had to add some opt-in opportunities on the About Page because he actually said that About Page is one of the most frequented pages on your website (I also mentioned that in my into) would you agree with that?
Melissa: Yes, absolutely. I have a thing at the bottom of my About Page that says, “Whoa, slam on the brakes hot shot.” It says something like the ride is ending but the fun is just beginning and then I have a link to my opt in. I absolutely agree with that. I think it is really fun if you make the bottom part, the call to action, something about that. I know other people will link to their welcome gift or opt in throughout and I think that is okay too. Just make sure it is on there somewhere.
Amy: Perfect. I did have another question about those bullets you were talking about inside the About Page. Let’s say you are certified in some skills that don’t really seem to have any connection to the product or service you are offering to your audience. How can you get across what those credentials mean in a way that connects with your audience instead of confusing them?
Melissa: It is going to depend on what the credentials are. In some cases they are so out there that they never connect.
Amy: Okay, so maybe they don’t sometimes.
Melissa: Yes. What I normally do, and I work with a lot of medical professionals, weirdly enough. They have a laundry list of credentials. What we normally do is make a list and vomit them all over a page so that they are all there. We then start to tick off.
First you would look at things that are nationally or internationally recognizable. If my client went to Harvard or Stanford that is super recognizable. You want to make sure you put that there. Then there are going to be things that are so niche and the only people that would ever know are your peers. You have to think about those and wonder what they really mean. What does that accolade actually mean?
We have an example that we used earlier where there may be a cool award that you won in your industry that is like the Oscar or the Tony or Emmy of your industry. If that’s the case, that’s how you describe it. You would say, “I am the recipient of blah- blah award which is basically the Academy Award of my industry.”
People need to understand what that is. Then, frankly there will be some things that do not fit. You have to put your brain into the mode of whom that bio or About Page is intended for. Your About Page will always intended for your ideal client, your bio, not so much; sometimes it’s not.
I have clients that go for book deals and are pitching agents or publishers. I have clients that are trying to get television spokesperson deals. If that’s the case remember that your idea client is no longer that normal picture that you have painted. Your ideal client is now the person that is going to sign you for that book deal or that producer that is going to put you on television. If that’s the case just flip your mind into that and then you need to adjust your bio accordingly for that audience which may mean adding in some of those extra credentials.
Amy: Perfect. Now, how do you feel about putting images on the About Page, images of you and I don’t know what else?
Melissa: I love that.
Amy: Okay, good.
Melissa: Yes, I love that. It really depends on how your website is set up and a lot of people nowadays have their image in their header so that every page you are clicking will have the images. If that’s the case you don’t really have to go overboard and put a bunch more images in your About Page unless you want to.
If you absolutely have no images in your header or anything visible on that About Page, absolutely have some professional head shots done or professional lifestyle shots done and put one or two on that page. That’s really important with online business. People need to see you.
Amy: I remember seeing an About Page not too long ago and the guy was talking about how he’s always been an entrepreneur since he was a little boy. He started with lemonade stands. He has a picture of him at five years old at his lemonade stand. What do you think of something like that?
Melissa: That is cute. I like that a lot and I have seen some people do that really well. That’s usually a design element. So, if it is designed really well to where it is a beautiful flow of a story it can look great. I have also seen it go very wrong where people will list out too much of their background and will tell you at age 5 I did this and have a photo, at age 7 I did this, and it is too much. We have to chop it down.
You have to remember that people are reading this and they don’t have four years to get through your bio. In that lemonade stand example it could be really fun if he tells you he has been an entrepreneur since he was five and then have a really funny picture of him selling at his lemonade stand. He can then say he has used all of the expertise up until today where he has his own new lemonade stand which is now my “this” with this being whatever his current business is.
Amy: Got it.
Melissa: That could be really funny from a design standpoint. It is still a quick story. It is quick and fun and punchy as opposed to listing out your entire background.
Amy: Good point. If it works then definitely put it in there in the flow of the story. Another thing I have noticed, especially on your website, you have My Story, Start Here, and Work With Melissa.
Would those all be considered a version of the About Page? And, do you think they are needed for most brands?
Melissa: I will give you my intention with those pages. My Story is actually my About Page. I call it My Story. I only do that because my people like that language. Some of that is trial and error like learning how your people like to talk to you. I don’t really use the words About Page in general conversation. I say, “My story is…”
Amy: That’s a great point. Most of us have About on the top. I am pretty sure I do. It is so funny because I don’t look at my website all that much so I can’t remember every element, which is a little bit weird. Anyway, I think we need to change that. I think that sounds super clinical almost. It is an internal phrase. I love that you changed that.
So you’re My Story is your About Page…
Melissa: My Start Here page is actually a library of some of my best content. For people that are brand new to my site…
Amy: Oh, I love this!
Melissa: Yes, they just land there and they wonder what to do. There are so many things to click on and look at. I have that so that they know to “start here.” The will immediately see they have to start there.
They go there and this is where I basically have a compendium of what I think is my best content based upon two things 1) what people have responded to the most (my bio challenge is at the top), and 2) other things that give them a sense of my brand.
I talk a lot about addiction and obsession when it comes to business. I do a lot of edutainment such as merging entertainment with educational things for my audience. I make sure I include all of that there so that they get a really clear picture of what that is like. I also do a link on that page to my “Work With Me” page.
I don’t do that because I am trying to sell them right away but because I want them to know there are opportunities to work with me and that I have an actual business. I did that because I find, especially in my community, that people get very confused between just having a blog and actually being a business.
I don’t want to be viewed as a “blogger” because that’s not what I am. I am a business owner and I blog to promote my business. That is why I have that there. Every audience is different so I don’t think everyone needs to have that. But if you tune in to your audience you will kind of learn if that’s going on for you. If people are asking whether you are just a blogger or whether you have a business then you want to make it a little more prominent that you are a business owner and there are ways they can actually pay to work with you.
Amy: That’s good.
Melissa: You just have to kind of dial into your audience. My Work With Me page is pretty self explanatory. It lists the ways you can work with me. It gives them, right off the bat, a couple of reasons they should work with me. It gives a couple of reasons I am a cool chick that people can work with.
Then, if they are ready to rock and roll I give them the options. For me, I only have two options. One option is only open once a year, like a B-School model where I have one program that opens once a year. The other one is a self-study class that is always available for purchase. That’s my business model. Everyone will have a different section for this and also a different intake.
Some people have a business where you can buy right away. Some people have a waiting list and some people have an intake form and you can’t work with them unless you fill out an application and get selected from that. So that page will depend on the person.
Amy: I do have one more question after this but tell us real quick. You have the program that is open once a year. What is that program called?
Amy: Okay, and what is that one about? I love your names.
Melissa: That is a year-long training program that helps you to build an audience that is totally and entirely obsessed with you. That is important because it reduces the time that you need to market and sell your products. It is based upon building a really engaged audience. I believe size doesn’t matter. It is really about the level of engagement.
If you have really high engagement in your community then you can sell things like hotcakes. I teach people and train people how to do that through the program.
Amy: Then the self study?
Melissa: Self study is The Swirl Effect. It is for people that are multi passionate like myself.
Amy: That’s perfect for my next question! Tell me about that.
Melissa: Beautiful! Swirl Effect is for people that have millions of different interests and a billion different business ideas but they have no consistent message. They are all over the freaking place. That is just based upon my own life.
I used to be an actress/business owner and now I am a screenwriter/actor/business owner so the slashes just keep growing. It is really about how you communicate that to your audience without completely confusing them and turning them off.
Amy: So that kind of leads me to the next question. You are obviously a versatile kind of girl. You have a lot of talents and a lot interests. I know this comes back to the whole swirl concept. But how in the world do you narrow down what you should be focusing on your business and then treat the other things like you hobbies and things you love that aren’t necessarily brought into what you are doing in business?
Melissa: That’s interesting because that’s the whole entire Swirl Effect class.
Amy: If you are listening and that’s you, you need Swirl. This is not my problem because I always tease that I’m not incredibly creative with a million ideas. I think that’s how I get so much done because I don’t have a lot of ideas. But many of my friends and entrepreneurs are the creative types with so many ideas swirling around in their head (swirling just happens so I guess that’s a perfect name for the product) and they struggle with this.
Then I feel like those are the friends of mine that do not have focus. They really struggle with focus. So tell me a little bit more about that.
Melissa: It’s true. A lot of this is like a testing process. If anyone has ever gone through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte where, during the entire book, you are whittling down until you find your core desired feelings, this is very similar in tone, I would say.
The methodology is that you are kind of listing out all of the things you want to do. You have a bagillion ideas and passions and things and you want to do this and that. Then it is really about whittling them down to what is actually just a side hobby, what is an actual passion, and what you actually want to make a business and make money from.
Those are completely different things. An example might be that you say you love riding horses and you want to be a professional jockey. That could be in your brain because you are fantasizing. I actually did this with sewing and thought I was going to be on Project Runway. I had all of these fantasies and then I got a sewing machine and sewed one skirt inside out.
It was horrible and I hated every last second of it and I was angry and hostile. Then I realized it was not for me. But the only way I knew that was because I tried it. So a lot of this is testing and trying and learning if you love the journey. That doesn’t mean you are going to love every second of your journey. I do think there is hard work and I do think there are ups and downs with anything you do.
But you have an inking when you are actually going through something whether you enjoy the journey or whether you completely despise the journey. You often don’t know that until you actually give it a shot.
I usually take people through a process where I ask if they have all of these things on their bucket list that they want to try then how about picking one at a time and giving it a shot for a couple of month? You are not looking at end results or expectations or some kind of huge win. You are just looking to see if you can tolerate or find joy in the journey.
If you can find joy then that is a good inkling that that needs to go in your little swirl. If you hate every last second like I did with sewing, bye bye. That means it was just a fantasy. Through that process we often find that a lot of things we think we will love are really just fantasies. There are things we have painted in our mind or we are looking at somebody’s end and comparing it to our beginning.
We are looking at a really famous actor or somebody who is super successful in online marketing and saying we want to be that. But when you actually realize the journey and the work it takes to get there then you might say…
Amy: Not for me!
Melissa: Right, not for me. It is a testing process and whittling down process but it is really fun. To me, I also like it because it is experimental. You can try a bunch of different things and just have fun with it and really learn what you love and what you don’t and then end up with your core swirl.
Amy: For all of my multi passionate entrepreneurs who I often envy because you have a million ideas and you get excited about so much, I definitely want you to at least check out this self-study program because I think it would be really valuable. Plus, one thing I love about Melissa is she infuses fun in everything she does.
I am pretty sure you can’t create anything without having fun. Would you agree?
Melissa: Oh, agree.
Amy: That’s so you.
Melissa: If it’s not pleasurable I don’t do it.
Amy: Its’ out. That’s awesome. I cannot thank you enough for being on this show. I really wanted it to be like a mini training all about the About Page. I think we definitely nailed that. And, with your MadLibs template to create the About Page, that’s going to be really valuable.
Will you tell everybody where they can find out more about you?
Melissa: Sure! You can come to my website. http://www.melissacassera.com. I am sure Amy will have eight million links to it.
Amy: You know it’s a good show when you have tons of links and I have a big long list of everything I want to link, all of your articles, your products, your About Page, for sure. I will definitely put that all in the show notes.
Melissa: Cool. Yeah, come and play with me over there. I also have a free eBook that’s about 75 pages. It is super juicy and has lots of things that build upon what we talked about today. If you want additional help and advice beyond our conversation definitely grab that.
Amy: That’s on your website?
Melissa: It is right on my website. It is everywhere!
Amy: Just like it should be, that’s awesome. Thank you so very much. I am glad we got the opportunity to chat.
Melissa: Thanks, so much. Thanks everybody.
Amy: Take care. So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my interview with Melissa as much as I enjoyed actually sitting here and talking about the About Page, breaking it all down, and learning some new stuff. You can be sure to see a new About Page from me in the next month or so because I’m going to be tweaking mine.
I think About Pages can be so much fun. You can put so much personality into them. It’s just sitting down and figuring out what you want to include and how you want to do it. I think the free PDF for this episode is going to help you do just that. If you want that MadLibs-style About Page template go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/ 65download or download the phrase 65download to 33444.
Thank you so very much for being here. I can’t wait to join you again next week. Next week we will reevaluate the business. We are going to see where you are right now and some tweaks that we might want to make so that the rest of the year goes a whole lot smoother. We are reworking some stuff, reevaluating, and I am going to take you through an exercise I just did in my own business to help you do the same.
I will see you next week. Until then make it a great week. Bye for now.