8 Guidelines for Representing your brand On The Web
What you say and how you say it
As the founder, you’re always representing your brand, but some small things can get overlooked when you’re working on the big picture. Simple and chance meetings, blurbs here and there over the web and the one opportunity that often gets overlooked, the about page.
A couple of weeks ago on the blog, we broke down the parts of branding. We put the whole concept of branding into neat little sections. Logo, brand identity and brand personality.
In this post, we’ll get a little more specific. As we drill down into finite details of your branding strategy, we’ll take a look at how you talk about your brand in different scenarios. From simple elevator pitch to your about page. This post is all about brand personality. If you’re not sure if you want a brand personality or create a personal brand this article from Big Brand Systems will give you a good comparison of the two.
The goal is to help your ideal customer get to know you and your brand at a more intimate level.
Rules of engagement
What you want to say and how you want to say it should be wrapped in what your ideal customer needs. In other words, your message needs to cater to your ideal clients. Your about page is not about you. It’s about what you can do for them. Take every opportunity to tell your customer how you can help them. Realistically, your customers don’t care about you. They only care about how you can benefit them. It may sound harsh but, think about the last time you read a company about page just because you wanted to know more about them. For most of us, the answer is never.
These rules will help you stay focused on your message. More importantly, these guidelines will make sure your ideal client hears what you have to offer and how it can assist them.
Don’t make it about you
I know it’s an about page, but the only thing a customer cares about is how you can help them solve their problems. Would you read a full page history about a plumbing company if all you wanted was to get your plumbing repaired? You just need to know that they can do the job.
Straight up selling will kill the conversation
Be useful. No one likes to be sold. Representing your brand is more than selling, it’s about educating your prospective clients. Offer alternatives and let it be their decision.
Think outcomes not features
If you’re a plumber can you guarantee your work? Can you get someone here tonight? How convenient is payment?
Keep it short and sweet
Highlight the problems only your company can solve
If there’s something truly unique about your business, capitalize on it. Make this unique feature a central selling point of your pitch.
Always have a call to action
A call to action is so important, even if it’s just “call now” don’t leave them hanging.
Know the difference between your personality and your brand personality
Representing your brand as the founder can make it difficult to distinguish you from the company you’re trying to build. Separating the founder’s personality from that of the company may not seem important in the beginning. However, as you grow and someone else takes on the task of representing your brand there can be some contradictions and the lines can get blurred. Always think big no matter how small your company is right now because things can change quickly.
The Rule of attraction Yes, one more rule
This rule is not just about writing your about page or telling people who you are. It’s also about your brand message, personality and attracting your ideal person. Before you start writing keep in mind the tone of your message. How should you be representing your brand? Will your brand message be fun, free, formal, fabulous? Enough f-words, I think you get the point. Always write for “the One.”
Four areas to tweak so that you’re representing your brand in the best possible way
1. Elevator pitch
A chance meeting or quick introduction is what we usually refer to as an elevator pitch. It should be very short, about 25 words or so. An elevator pitch is like the equivalent of speed dating for business.
In a word, forgettable.
None the less, a quick pitch is what it is, so we’ll go with it. The good news is an elevator pitch doesn’t have to be a forgotten blurb.
My name is _______ I’m a_____________. I help __________________ with _____________________.
Your elevator pitch is simple, but it doesn’t have to end there. Give the person a call to action. Yes, even an elevator pitch should invite the person on the receiving end to engage with you and your brand further.
When you hand over your business card mention a blog post you think might help them. Ask that the person look you up on linked in or Facebook if you can’t think of anything else at the moment. The point is to keep the conversation going. Preparing an elevator pitch before hand guarantees that you are representing your brand exactly the way you intended.
Your byline is a piece of writing you use to introduce yourself in publications. It should be 75 to 100 words. A byline is typically in a bio section if you write articles on news media or blogs.
It can also be part of an intro for a speech, what people say when introducing you to a group in a speaking engagement. Your social media bio. It’s always written in the third person. The byline highlights your accomplishments, your business and associations, education and something personal. Depending on the audience.
(full name) is a (what you do) at (where you do it). She helps (ideal reader) who (state ideal readers problem) by (state action to resolve the issue). (name) has (list of credentials and experience)
When she’s not working on ( the wonderful thing the ideal customer wants), you can find (name) working on ( a thing you like to do outside of your regular work – other projects/personal fun fact/volunteer/family/hobbies/ etc.). To find out more about (name) visit (website/article/landing page)
Keep in mind the above example is worded for an individual. A byline is an introduction to a writer or a contributor from an external source. This bio is not going to your blog or business page. A byline will accompany your contribution as a representative of your brand.
3. Your story – 150 to 200 words
Sometimes external publications will ask for something a little more involved than a simple byline. In this case, you should have your story on hand. Your story is a combination of your byline with a little more meat on the bone. Usually, how you got to where you are, a few accomplishments sprinkled in and can be slightly more personal. If you’re writing your company story, you can use the same concept.
Some things to include in a company story
- Name of the company
- What the company does
- Who the company helps and how
- Background of the company (how you got to where you are now)
- Awards/accomplishments of the company
- What people are saying (in some cases)
- Simple statistics proving how your business helps (benefit to your ideal client)
- Don’t forget the call to action
4. About page – 150 – 250 words
You should write the about page in 1st person. This section of your website is where your ideal person gets to know you a little bit better.
If your company has multiple partners or talented employees, then you should have an About the company section at the top of the page. It talks about the company in general. What the company stands for such as a vision, mission or mantra. What the company is all about and the companies story. Below the company “about” section you’ll have separate sections for all the key employees within the business.
Make sure to include the following sections in your about me section for each key person.
What they do
I’m a Brand strategist. I help your brand find its identity and attract your ideal clients, but I like to think of myself as a matchmaker.
I’m a web designer. I help you make your little corner of the internet the sweet spot for your ideal clients.
Explain awards and acronyms in plain English, please. You may know what the Riddlemethis award is, but we don’t. Explain it or compare it to something everyone can relate to, make it general. The Oscars or the Golden Globes for example.
You would word it something like this:
I won the Riddlemethis award three years in a row. Riddlemethis is the Oscar of the riddling world.
The same goes for all the acronyms on the back of your name. I used to be guilty of doing this.
Mercy Torres, MBA, MPA, APS
I thought it looked prestigious. I went to school for a long time, in my mind I deserved the letters, but nobody cares. It’s gibberish to everyone but me. No one knows what those letters mean. Why would they care?
Unless you’re a doctor, don’t bother with all that. If your awards and degrees are relevant to your work, then include it in a way that people can relate. List all the awards, and prestigious letters then give examples we can all understand. Now we can be just as impressed as you are in your accomplishment.
Adding personal touches is optional, and it will depend on your target market and if it will help your effort in representing your brand.
Here is the opportunity to get a little personal. Give something entertaining about yourself that has nothing to do with work.
Things that give your clients a sense of your personality, quirks, and sense of humor. However, you don’t want to disclose too much. Balance this carefully.
Call to Action
I know you knew this was coming. If you didn’t know because you’re new to blogging and the online world, the call to action goes on everything. Don’t leave your clients hanging. Keep an eye out for next week’s post about blah blah blah, may seem irrelevant but you’re giving them something to do. Never say goodbye. Always give them something else to do.
On your about page design the call to action to keep your ideal customer engaged. Here are a few examples.
- How to work with me
- Get my freebie
- Connect with me on social media. Sending someone to social media is the equivalent of giving them your phone number and hoping they call. If they do connect with you, it’s another avenue for getting to know each other.
- Read my blog. If you’re not ready to ask anything of your potential clients yet, you can still give them a call to action. Give them the opportunity to get to know you better. Without the commitment.
It’s never easy to articulate what you do into a sentence unless you prepare for it beforehand. You give these introductions some thought so that your response to the age-old question “What do you do?” doesn’t turn into an awkward fumbling mess.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about when you’re ready to write your about page copy.
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Until next time, keep moving forward!