Why Bother With an Author Bio?
A good author bio is short, direct and informative.
Some of us might dash off a quick two to three sentences and feel that our work is done.
Some of us might stare at the screen for hours wondering what we should write and whether an author bio is such an important thing anyway. In reality, you’re probably wondering what kind of credentials you can give when you haven’t really done anything of particular note to be considered an “authority” in anything.
The author bio is your introduction to the reader
Imagine you were mingling amongst a throng of people at a party, and a friend taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith owns the bakery on the other side of town.”
When it’s your turn to be introduced, what does your friend say about you?
If that friend were a good friend, he’d be sure to sell your strong points in a way that makes Mr. Smith think you were an interesting person worth having a conversation with.
And your friend would accomplish this in just two or three sentences. Possibly even less.
Now consider the throng of people that make up the daily traffic of online readers and writers.
They search for and stop and read content that informs them about something they are interested in.
Some might not care a whole lot about who wrote the article. Others might appreciate knowing a little more about the author of the content they are reading.
But a well-crafted and informative author bio, whether at the beginning or at the end of the content, lends a bit more credibility to your content.
Think about it. An article that lacks a byline, or one that only has a simple name attached to it, with no other information added, simply doesn’t ring with as much authority as an article with an author that takes the time to introduce himself or herself properly to you.
It means that the author is owning his or her content, and that he or she has the background and work or life experience to make his or her content interesting and worthwhile for you.
And if your content truly stood out from the crowd, you might make the reader interested enough that they start watching out for any other content you publish.
If you make a truly standout author bio, they might even watch out for your content simply because they think you are an interesting person with interesting things to say.
Let your author bio be the friend making your introductions
Most author bios are written in the third person.
I used to wonder why this was so.
Was it something that people did simply because everyone else did it, too? Or was it an industry practice whose roots and evolution over time somehow became lost and forgotten in the shady history of author bios?
Some say it is more formal and therefore appropriate – as opposed to the author coming right out and saying, “Hi, my name is Jill. By the way, who are you?”
Personally, I think it has to do with the niceties of making introductions, as we discussed above.
There is no rule against author bios being written in the first person, just as there is no rule against you introducing yourself directly to people.
But not everyone may be comfortable with being approached so directly.
So, we seek out introductions, through a friend, a colleague, or a family member.
They vouch for us, give us credibility, and pave the way for new acquaintances and possible friendships.
An author bio written in the third person accomplishes the same thing – an indirect, more appropriate, perhaps more comfortable introduction to the reader, that lends us credibility, perhaps even authority, whom the reader would hopefully find interesting.
A well-written author bio enhances your content
All in all, a well-written bio can boost your content, while a poorly written one can do the exact opposite.
An author who couldn’t even be bothered to get introduced properly probably won’t exert the same effort in the articles he or she writes.
The lack of an author bio, on the other hand, unless you are publishing on an established authority website, might make the reader wonder who the author was and why they think they know so much about the subject.
If there isn’t even any byline at all, they might wonder if the content was churned out by a writing mill of ghostwriters only interested in getting paid than creating valuable content? Worse, was this content generated by an AI software that automatically curated content and aimed to eliminate writers altogether?
Nah. No machine or AI could possibly replace thoughtfully crafted, value-laden, interesting online content.
And if you are that kind of writer, give yourself the pat on the back you deserve. You can do this by taking the time to write a really standout author bio and owning what you write.
© 2020 Jeng Pablo