Discover the 7 components of an optimized byline with 7 high-converting author bio examples to show you exactly what to aim for.
Creating quality content is challenging.
You have to find a unique angle on an often well-covered topic. You have to research data to back it up. You have to create a compelling headline. You have to create curiosity in the opening, polish your grammar, get the tone right, yada yada … all this while fitting the piece into your brand’s or client’s overall content marketing strategy.
With all that work, it’s important that you are getting maximum value out of your content, whether it’s published on your website or a 3rd party publication.
One incredibly easy yet often overlooked way to increase the value of your content is to optimize your author bio.
There is actually quite a bit of value you can derive from your bio, and yet most marketers and writers simply throw something together and never think about it again. Such a waste!
Today, I’m going to highlight the 7 components of an optimized bio, with 7 high-converting examples to show you exactly what to aim for.
Before we begin, let’s cover the basics.
How To Write An Author Bio: What is a Byline?
A byline is a short paragraph that tells readers a little bit about the author and how to contact the author or read additional content by the author.
In most online content, the author bio can be seen at the end of the article.
As a general rule, you want to keep your bio to 2-3 sentences or 40-60 words. This gives you enough room to include the 7 components we’ll talk about today without creating a wall of text that scares off readers.
An author bio is sometimes confused with an author byline which is technically not the same thing.
An author byline is a line at the top of an article that names the author, usually lists the date, and occasionally includes additional information
Author bios and bylines have become much less distinct in the internet age, and on many websites, the two will be merged in some form or other. But in most cases, you will have the ability to create a distinct 2-3 sentence bio for yourself that shows up at the end of any article you write.
So let’s talk optimization. The following 7 components will help turn your author bios into legitimate lead generators for your business.
STEP #1: Say who you are and what you do.
People who consume your content have got three big questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why should I care?
Your bio should answer all three.
Nail them and they’ll be keen to find out more about you — and gladly follow you into the kingdom of your products and services. Most bios don’t address these essential queries. Some do but in a dry matter-of-fact-Wikipedia way. Think of your bio as an elevator pitch in two or three sentences.
Henneke Duistermaat gets hers right.
She sums up who she is, what she does and who she does it for using an engaging style. Crucially, she tells readers the benefits of doing business with her. Because there’s something in it for them, her readers would want to check her out.
STEP #2: Establish your authority in the space.
Authority is the tipping point of winning a hesitant prospect over or boosting your trust with clients.
Becoming a trusted voice in your space draws more prospects and causes your clients to stay with you longer. That’s why influencer marketing is the rage right now. Use your byline to underline your authority. Prove you’re worthy of a prospect’s business.
Here’s a great example from Ann Handley.
Pixel after pixel, Ann proves her authority… Wall Street best seller, CCO, Entrepreneur columnist, keynote speaker. You may not have her star credentials but there’s always something to share.
Your vast experience maybe? An industry award? Or a mention by a notable publication?
Whatever it is, slip it in. Impress clients before you say a word. However, don’t shamelessly brag about everything you’ve ever done as Sammy Blindell points out in this post:
“Brand, don’t brag. It’s easy to compose a list of all your accomplishments — and it’s also a mistake. Use only those achievements that your ideal customers will see as beneficial to them, because this is about THEM. If you recently completed some extensive training in recognizing dog aggression, your financial planning audience isn’t going to care. In fact, they’ll probably turn away from your brand. However, if you were a keynote speaker and advisor for the annual International Financial Advisory Convention, that matters.”
Amen to that Sammy.
STEP #3: Include an image with some personality.
I’m amazed how many content marketers miss the importance of a photo on social media profiles. It’s SOCIAL media for goodness sake — how can you socialize behind a silhouette? That’s like showing up at a party in a hood.
LinkedIn statistics show having a profile photo can get you:
- 21x more profile views
- 9x more connection requests
- 36x more messages
The same applies to your content marketing, and yet many marketers use a photo that either looks like a mugshot or a shot where the cameraman said, “Say ‘professionalism'”. Ugh!
Want to boost your brand’s perceived competence, likeability and influence? Use a professional shot with some personality!
A great example comes from John Nemo.
John’s shot exudes confidence, warmth and authority. Prospects are more likely to connect with him. And, oh, please smile. It makes you more likeable. To improve the quality of your photo use editing tools like Pixlr and Fotor.
And then put your best face forward so people fall in love with you and your brand.
STEP #4: Inject your personality into the bio copy as well.
When you really think about it, you and your competitors sell similar products.
The differentiator? Your unique personality. Personality, an aspect of authenticity, leads to higher ROI and appeal. Sadly, when people write business copy, they insist on sounding business like — whatever that means.
As a result, ho-hum bios abound.
People do business with people. So you better sound like a human. You’ll bond better with your audience and win more business. Jorden Roper reveals a glimpse of her personality very well.
Jorden isn’t just a freelancer. She’s a fuschia-haired one that frolics with Chihuahuas. I have an inkling that, like her Chihuahuas, she’s:
Bold. Lively. Devoted.
In one fell swoop she humanizes and brands herself by talking about her pets. Let your hair down. Flee from high sounding nothing aka corporate speak squeak.
Be yourself. Be human. Be relatable.
Then more people will desire to learn more about you and your products.
STEP #5: Include a lead magnet in your byline.
Your conversion goal for your piece should extend to your byline. For better conversions, your offer should be related to the subject of your piece or at least relevant to the topic.
Discussed pitching? Offer readers a pitch template.
Enumerated on the benefits of content creation and management software? Offer readers a demo.
Talked about the health benefits of sex? Offer them hands-on private coaching sessions at the nearest hotel. Nah, bad idea. But I’m sure you get the hang of it.
Your bio is a great opportunity to attract direct leads from your reader base.
Here’s a great example from Beth Heyden.
What the byline doesn’t show is how the offer is an extension of her piece. Here’s a snippet of one of her main points.
Her offer? A free report entitled ‘The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Warm Welcome Message.’ You’d almost feel dumb not to sign up for it since the report completes the piece. This way, her conversions are likely to soar.
Note the singularity of her offer. Countless content strategists overload their bylines with links which overwhelms readers and tanks conversions. Plus, by making one uncontested offer, eyeballs are instantly drawn to it.
STEP #6: Follow up your bio link with a landing page.
Capitalize on the heavy lifting done by your content by linking to a landing page not your homepage.
People who read all the way down your content are potential red-hot prospects or brand loyalists in the making.
Don’t let their enthusiasm go poof — into cyberspace oblivion, without harnessing it. Reward them with something special, on a special page tailor-made for them.
Give them something cool and useful like:
- A super-relevant lead magnet
- A discount on your latest product
- A free beta version of your product
- A slot to win a prize in your competition
See how Jacob McMillen does it below. This byline on a guest post:
Takes you straight to this landing page:
Notice how his CTA, the last words on his bio, are the first words on the landing page? This way the byline is perfectly coupled to the landing page thus increasing conversions. When a reader clicks his bio and lands on the landing page, she smoothly continues her conversion journey.
Harmony wins the day.
Step #7: Be very specific in everything you say.
Your bio offers you a chance to position your brand favourably.
Be clear about what exactly you do. You’ll generate more interest, attract higher quality leads and close more sales.
Next time I see a byline that reads ‘Andy Awesome is a marketer who resides at…’ I’ll organize an online march against dud bios. Dude, you ain’t saying nothing. They’re 271 bajillion marketers out there. Add a descriptive to specify what you do.
Only then will you stand a fighting chance of being heard above the me-too roar.
Lianna Patch stars in this regard.
Need help with email and landing pages? Then Lianna’s your girl. Her copy makes that crystal clear.
Brand yourself precisely. You’ll see an uptick in the number of prospects who approach you.
Finally, use your bio to boost your rankings for your target pages as Jacob McMillen explains:
“Bylines are a great place to link to a primary service page you are hoping to rank in search. It can be really challenging to rank service pages over blog posts, but including a back link to my main service page in every byline is one of the biggest reasons it’s ranking front page for 40+ key phrases.”
Conclusion: Get Every Ounce of Juice From Your Author Byline
Here’s the heart of the matter:
Your bio is an intricate part of your marketing and branding.
It’s a tiny hinge that swings huge marketing doors — a gateway to your world. So value it and craft it with care. Stretch all your investment in PPC and FB ads, SEO, outsourced content, site design and more to its fullest potential.
Make every click count.