Crafting a Freelance Writing Author Bio That Works
When it comes to finding freelance writing jobs, a strong portfolio of content is key.
But before an editor or hiring manager reads your portfolio, you need to persuade them with a strong author bio.
That’s why your author bio is prime real estate.
It’s a chance to highlight your skills and experience, while also showing off some of your personality and the value you bring to the table.
So how can you craft an impressive bio that convinces editors to give you a second look? While there isn’t just one right answer, there are specific characteristics that catch attention.
Generally speaking, a strong bio has:
- A unique elevator pitch
- Credibility backers
- A personal touch
- A call-to-action
While this may seem like a simple list, you’ll quickly notice there is a lot of nuance to each element.
Let’s look at each step individually.
Unique Elevator Pitch
The first couple of sentences should highlight who you are and what you do. Perhaps you’re a freelance copywriter with some serious email writing chops, or maybe you’re a nutrition blogger who doesn’t follow her own advice.
You’ve got about 30-40 words to sell people on why you’re awesome and convince them to read more.
When I say that a bio needs to be unique elevator pitch, I mean it should be tailored to the publication or company you’re pitching to.
One mistake that writers make all the time is focusing on too many things at once, rather than shining a light on just your best or most relevant skills.
What’s the company all about? Who is their target reader? What’s the tone and style of their existing content? Answering these questions will help you position your bio.
Let’s look at an example:
Lori Wade is a freelance content writer for Thriving Writer. She is interested in a wide range of fields, from education and online marketing to personal entrepreneurship. She is used to handling many writing orders at the same time and understands the importance of writing clearly and concisely. Follow Lori on Twitter or Google+ to keep up-to-date with her latest insights and wisdom!
Right away we can tell Lori is:
- A freelance content writer
- Specializes in education, online marketing, and personal entrepreneurship
- She is a seasoned freelancer
Tip: If you’re having trouble with this step, imagine you’re standing in front of a potential client and had one or two sentences to convince them to hire you. What would you say? Start jotting down some of the key points, and then use that list to craft your elevator pitch.
Credibility backers are about proving you’re a kick-ass writer.
This step is pretty straight forward. Listing your relevant writing achievements, past publications, and education helps reinforce your position as an expert.
Take this author bio by Liz Alton as an example:
Liz Alton is a technology and marketing writer, and content strategist, for Fortune 500 brands and creative agencies. Her specialties include marketing, technology, B2B, big data/analytics, cloud, and mobility. She’s worked with clients including Adobe, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Twitter, ADP, and Google. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MBA. She is currently pursuing a master’s in journalism from Harvard University.
Rather than mentioning publications, Liz lists some of her biggest clients. The list is impressive on its own but is most effective when pitching to other marketing or technology companies.
Tip: Here are some credibility backers to include in your freelance author bio:
- Have you started a successful blog?
- Have you been featured in a well-known publication?
- Have you worked with any well-known clients?
- Are you a member of any writing/industry associations?
- Do you have any relevant education?
- Have you won any writing awards?
A Personal Touch
Adding personality to your bio can help it stand out and make you more relatable.
But there needs to be a balance between personality and professionalism.
While it’s great to show some wit or humor, you should emphasize your experience, education, and achievements. Most companies that are hiring writers are looking for experts that know their stuff, so prove that to them.
Compare these bios by two writers that specialize in the same industry. While one isn’t necessarily better than the other, they have a noticeably different tone.
Carrie is an Austin, TX-based freelance writer and B2B content strategist who combines a background in journalism and decade of marketing experience to help technology and healthcare organizations captivate their audiences. When she’s not writing, you can find Carrie on her yoga mat, working her way through the ever-growing pile of books on her nightstand, planning her next travel adventure or sampling local craft brews. Learn more about her at www.carriedagenhard.com.
Taylor Mallory Holland is a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer specializing in technology, healthcare, and business leadership. As a content strategist, Holland contributes thought leadership content for some of the world’s top brands, including Samsung, IBM, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. She has been a contributor for The Content Standard since 2014.
The industry you’re writing for will also play a factor. A freelancer writing for finance companies might opt for a more professional bio, whereas a freelance food blogger might be more playful.
How you balance this is entirely up to you.
Call to Action
This is where freelancers have to put their marketing hat on. The end of your author bio should ideally have a call to action.
What’s a call to action?
It’s the point where you ask the reader to do something:
- “Visit www.yourwebsite.com to read my portfolio”
- “Click here to download by 30 best SaaS marketing tips”
- “Follow me on Twitter @YourTwitterHandle”
Have a look at this example:
Jane Friedman is an experienced writer with a ton of interesting experience and accomplishments. Notice how her bio ends with a call to action to “Find out more.”
Get more freelance writing resources, tools, and tutorials at the Freelance Writing Stack.