One of my pet peeves is seeing a writer’s or speaker’s bio that doesn’t include links. Where can I find out more about this person? Which social media platforms do they use? How can I connect with them? How should I tag them in posts?
The point of a bio is to tell readers more about you and get them interested in what you do. Don’t let that interest fade away. Encourage readers to click that link and connect with you.
Professional Bios Stick Around
If you’ve written or spoken professionally, it’s likely that a publication or organization shared your professional biography with your audience. It’s also likely that the online bio is still out there, ready to be found by new readers, perhaps even potential clients or employers.
Even if you haven’t done these things, your bio still likely exists somewhere: in a professional directory, perhaps, and certainly on your social media accounts.
Adding links to places where readers can engage with your further is a huge opportunity to hang on to this audience. Don’t waste it!
Even your email signature should contain links. A prospective client will want to research you; providing them the research helps you put your best foot forward.
And if your bio will be printed? Add easy URLs. You can customize shortened URLs through Bitly and similar services to make the address easy to type.
What Should You Link To?
Add links to any web page that you want to direct readers to. For example:
- Your website or blog
- Your book’s product page on Amazon
- The website of the next conference you’ll speak at
- One of your social media accounts
If your audience is potential clients, send them to your website to learn more about your services.
If you have something to sell—a book, seats in a course you’re teaching—send your audience to the web page where they can purchase that book or course.
If you want people to show up at your next presentation, give them the link to the event.
You get the idea.
Marketers refer to this as a call to action (CTA): the push to get your audience to immediately take the next step toward doing business with you. CTAs are generally written as commands (Call now! Operators are standing by!). That link is part of your CTA, so make sure it’s in your bio.
Promoting Yourself Is the Point
But it feels like shameless bragging, you say.
Of course it does! That’s what bios are for. It’s not just OK to show off a little—it’s expected.
It’s not enough to say “This is who I am” if you want to grow an audience or win new clients. Readers will simply walk away. Invite them to get to know you better. To connect with you in some way. The more readers get to know you, the more they’ll remember you and trust you. And if they trust you, they’re more likely to hire you, buy your book, or attend your talk.
Review Your Bios Regularly
Review your online bios at least once a year. Have you changed your focus in the last year? Maybe you have something new to promote. Make sure you’re sharing current information and that the links are correct and they work. There’s nothing more frustrating than a dead link.
Why not take a spin around the web now, updating your bios and ensuring you’ve added links?
A version of this article first appeared on Copyediting.com on January 29, 2016.