This article was originally published on my LinkedIn Pulse, 04/09/2020.
A lot of you have written content on external websites before (i.e. published guest posts on other blogs). That means you know you have to submit your author bio along with your writing.
As an editor for guest-authored content – and a person who’s read through (and edited) innumerable author bios – I’ve come up with some tips for creating the perfect author bio for someone else’s website.
Keep it short
I restrict guest writers to a bio of 300 or fewer characters. Why? Because your guest author bio should be a snippet into who you are, not your whole life story.
You probably have a lot to say, and it might be difficult to boil your life down to such a short paragraph, but this isn’t a place for your autobiography or memoir. It’s somebody else’s website, and you should only include what’s most important about who you are professionally.
Only include relevant details for identification purposes
You might be wondering what the “relevant details” are. For starters, the basics: name, title, current place of employment, and a fun fact if you feel inclined. It’s that simple. You should be recognizable (in the business world) by these few things. Anything more can be gone over on your personal website.
Here’s my author bio on G2. It’s a cool 281 characters long and only includes short details about who I am and what I do – and that’s my home company’s website!
Make sure you use a professional or semi-professional headshot or photo
Selfies are cute, but they don’t look great for author bios (nor do group photos). If you must use a selfie or non-headshot image, make sure it is clear, the image quality is good and bright. Make sure that you use a square photo so that your image isn’t weirdly stretched out or ill-formatted.
Don’t overwhelm your bio with multiple links
If you want to include a link to your professional social platforms (i.e. LinkedIn), go for it. Include one to your company/personal website, but don’t include links to blog posts, books you’ve written, or anything extra. If you’re linking your site already, why link to individual posts as well? Don’t you want people to click through to your website?
Separately, if there’s room to include social media links (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) and the external website allows it, go for it! But overloading on hyperlinks in your bio is a big no-no.
Stop mentioning all of your previous jobs
It’s great that you worked for Company ABC for 5 years, and 10 years ago you worked for Fancy Tech Enterprise 101, but people (as mentioned at the beginning), don’t want your entire life story. They only want a brief who are you / what are you doing RIGHT NOW type of blurb. If they want more info, they can visit your website or LinkedIn.
Plus, not revealing every aspect of your life leaves a little mystery, which will encourage them to engage with your LinkedIn, website, or other social platforms you want them to find you on.
Feel free to include your education background – but only briefly
Unless you are fresh out of college without any work experience to tout, your education should not be your main talking point. To be blunt, nobody needs to know the full university name where you attended (acronyms work!), the coursework you took, or anything that takes attention away from your professional presence as a whole.
If you are a professional writing on professional blogs, make sure other professionals reading your content know that. There’s nothing wrong with having a little school pride, but it should take a backseat to your professional gains since graduation.
Stop bragging about your company’s successes
Yes, you’re proud and your company has been successful. That’s wonderful and you should feel pride in that. However, nobody’s reading your bio to learn about your ARR or any other financial-based wins you’ve had. If they REALLY want to know that information, they’ll read a blog on it.
This might leave you with mixed feelings on what is/isn’t relevant or necessary to include in future guest author bios, and frankly, I hope it does. Your online presence on other websites (not your company site or personal site) should differ.
In short, give people a peek into the author behind the article – not the full rundown. Convince them you’re interesting enough in 300 or fewer characters. If you do it right, I guarantee they’ll click through to YOUR site. And in the end, isn’t that what we’re all striving for?