Thread: Writing a Bio

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Writing a Bio

    Writing about yourself is never easy, yet it is often necessary. Especially in the real estate industry, an agent bio is a necessity. It helps personalize an agent for their online client base, and lets them know what skills, training and experience the agent has. It also shows personality, and, obviously yet often overlooked, grammar and spelling skills.

    As a writer with REW, I've written a few bios/ "about us" pages. Personally, I think bios are often read by website viewers. I often read bios when I'm looking at real estate on the internet (a bit of a hobby of mine—always looking for greener pastures). I don't think I'm alone. I think humans are curious, and any bit of personal information about others is a source of intrigue. If I'm right, a good bio page on your website should definitely be a priority.

    One of the biggest obstacles is the actual sitting down and doing the writing. Writing in general can be hard for a lot of people, but writing about yourself is even harder. However, look on the bright side: at least you know your subject matter. Even if you are hiring a writer to fill the content of your website or whatever else, you will still have to provide personal information for them to write an "about" page. In this case, you are off the hook in terms of grammar, but a good effort still needs to be put in. To overcome this form of self-concious writer's block, it is best to just do it, even if it is in point form to start with. The details, such as the "voice" of your bio, can be fixed up later, after you've spat all the facts out.

    One of the keys to writing about oneself is to balance being humble with informing your audience of all your great skills and experience. Let's face it, the goal is to convince the reader that you are so great they should hire you immediately.

    So what facts do you include? Well, after your name, a good place to start is your skills and education experience. Include all certificates, degrees, diplomas, and even non-credit courses on this list. Even if the degree is in an area seemingly unrelated to your field, include it. It helped build your skills, and chances are it influences you somehow. If it is really, really irrelevant to the business you are trying to advertise with the site, then include it in your hobbies. This brings me to hobbies.

    It is always good to list some hobbies, as this is really what personalizes you. Who knows when a potential client will contact you because they share one or more of your hobbies? That said, keep it clean and intelligent. If gambling and tv watching are your hobbies you might have to find a creative way to word it. Also, don't over-write about the personal. Your professional experience should dominate your bio. Your personal information helps the reader get to know you a bit better, but they don't need the sordid details of your life.

    Another important bit of information, especially for a real estate agent's bio, is where you work, where you live (and have lived), and how long you have been doing what you do. Hopefully the rest of the site makes it obvious where you are working—if not you've got bigger problems than writing your bio. But people often want to know how long you've been in an area, as this will impact your experience there. If you haven't been somewhere long, write about why you moved and what you love about your current area, where you now work. This will help readers know you understand the place.

    When writing a bio, as with any writing, avoid using too much metaphor. While a little bit of well-timed metaphor is creative and intriguing, too much is cliche, and does little to actually tell anyone about you. Similarly, avoid making your bio a "sell". Yes, you want the reader to want to hire you, but by selling yourself too hard the effort will backfire. Be honest, and keep it simple. Don't exaggerate, but don't sell yourself short, either.

    If you need to write a bio for yourself and don't know where to start, try reading other agents bios. You will immediately know what you like and don't like, and will get ideas about what to include, what to leave out, and what tone to set the information to (first-person, third-person, friendly, humorous, clinically professional, etc).

    Don't underestimate the importance of your bio. And be sure to include contact info right after it. If they're impressed, they'll click.

    Does anyone have any other bio-writing tips, pet-peeves, favourite things?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    western North Carolina
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    2,352

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    I think bios are often read by website viewers.

    I agree, in fact, I often look at the metrics and see that the "About Us" page is often the one most visited.

    Over the years, I've been asked to take a look at bios written by the site owner. In every case, the bio needed "tweeking".

    It's extremely difficult to be objective about oneself ;>}


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Canada
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    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    I agree, I think the About Us page is key when customers are looking for an agent. They want someone competent, likable, and seems like a good match for them.

    I also think they're really hard pages to write. I hate writing about myself on a resume or cover letter, so a bio page that tries to attract clients would be quite daunting.
    Tracy Boutin | Writing & SEO
    You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    8

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    Good topic Rose - I love bio pages, especially since we have so many clients who we write for but will never meet. It gives me a little snapshot that helps me think of them when writing, or might inspire an article idea.

    When I was looking for my first home I had a bad experience with a realtor who thought he could pressure me because I didn't know what I was doing. Bad move on his part, because I quickly found another agent. Because of this I am always a little suspicious of realtors who appear overly slick, so in addition to the achievement/education stuff, I like the ones who mention their families, pets and/or outside interests. It humanizes them and makes me feel like they are people I can trust. Faulty reasoning, I know - it's sad but it's true.

    Of all the clients pages I've seen, my favourites (and the ones that stuck in my head) are one for a mom/daughter/son-in-law combo who talk about their new addition to the family, and a brother duo who have photos of mountain biking and walking a dog in the forest. Slick marketing ploy? Perhaps, but even if I question it I still buy it. My least favourite are the ones that just use a lot of adjectives to convince me that they are the best/most trust worthy, etc. I say, "show don't tell".

    I also like when they include photos other than the standard head shot.

    Would I feel the same way if I was a business investor? Maybe not - but for the residential market I want real people who are going to look out for me.

    Are there any realtors out there who have personalized or depersonalized their bio? How did it effect business and/or traffic?
    __________________
    [FONT="Franklin Gothic Medium"][FONT="Trebuchet MS"]Sara
    Writing Team
    Real Estate Webmasters
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    While I agree having information available is an important part, I also think it depends on many other factors as well.

    I have experience as a licensed Broker, Builder, Home Inspector and even combined this with and performed real estate appraisals for a couple of years.

    I have several designations including DAD, and my interests and hobbies over the years has changed to church, family and work.

    No matter how I try to write it it never conveys the message as I would wish it too, so I decided to just use a list of germane items to the real estate business.

    I have never been concerned after I noticed how few people ever see this page. Other then the pages I removed links to a month or so ago, the 'About Me/Us' page is the least viewed page on my site.
    Looking for your new home, or needing to sell the home you have in the Greater Pinehurst - Southern Pines - Fayetteville - Fort Bragg area - give Don Price a call and/or visit Advanced Real Estate Services & Staging's websites - Pinehurst Area Real Estate, Homes, Land & Lots For Sale or Fayetteville - Raeford Real Estate, Homes for sale by Bragg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinehurst Real Estate Guy View Post
    I have never been concerned after I noticed how few people ever see this page. Other then the pages I removed links to a month or so ago, the 'About Me/Us' page is the least viewed page on my site.
    Interesting point, Pinehurst Real Estate Guy. Maybe it isn't as important to others as it is to me? Although I did need to use your site map to find "about us", so maybe I was just missing the link or maybe it's a usability issue - users might not be able to navigate easily from the home page (and most probably won't go looking for it).

    I think I would leave religion and politics out of my bio
    __________________
    [FONT="Franklin Gothic Medium"][FONT="Trebuchet MS"]Sara
    Writing Team
    Real Estate Webmasters
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    My point exactly. If no one was going to it, why use up the love juice from the HP to it?

    I also agree religion isn't something to expand upon but I feel it can be incorporated tactfully so it doesn't seem righteous or greater then thou.

    Too many 'about me' agent's stuff makes me wonder what in the world the agent really is selling?
    Looking for your new home, or needing to sell the home you have in the Greater Pinehurst - Southern Pines - Fayetteville - Fort Bragg area - give Don Price a call and/or visit Advanced Real Estate Services & Staging's websites - Pinehurst Area Real Estate, Homes, Land & Lots For Sale or Fayetteville - Raeford Real Estate, Homes for sale by Bragg

  8. #8

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    Dont have one about me. I just want them to register and find homes on my site. I cant really brand my self, I look like Im 12. I still get plenty of leads. I'm planning to sell my site oneday. So I just brand the site it self. Who cares about me.
    Alex G.
    Portland Real Estate

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    See, now that you tell us you look like you're 12, I really want to see a bio page.
    I see what you guys mean from a business standpoint, but I agree with Sara that residential real estate seekers probably want a name and a face. I wouldn't contact a company that had no bio information, personally. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
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    12,596

    Default Re: Writing a Bio

    Quote Originally Posted by Portland Real Estate Guy View Post
    So I just brand the site it self. Who cares about me.
    Do clients have to deal with you face to face? If so, they DO care about you. I think one reason why few users visit the about page (if that's the case) is because most of them aren't interested in the realtor behind the site. They just want to see inventory. But for those who ARE looking for someone to phone, a decent bio is paramount to their decision.

    If you're concerned about your appearance (many realtors aren't but should be ), you don't have to include a picture in your bio. Or maybe you could use a picture of Yoda, or a photo that is OBVIOUSLY just Brad Pitt. (Myself, I'd use a photo of Freddie Mercury.)

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