The number one rule of content marketing is to focus on the customer, their needs, their pain points and their interests. After all, the best way to sell your brand and product is not to talk about it.
There is one website design trend, however, where you absolutely can talk about yourself, your brand, the company and its employees: when you're writing an About Us page.
You have to be careful when writing an About Us page though: you need to know what to say and how to say it so as not to put customers off.
Writing an About Us page is not about creating a first impression
When the buyer is at the top of the funnel, they aren’t interested in you. They are on your website because of the valuable content that attracted them there in the first place. If you make a great first impression with your content, the customer will then ask themselves:
- Who is behind this content?
- What else do they have to offer?
When a buyer clicks on your About Us page, they are trying to determine if the brand behind the content is a brand they can like, trust and buy into. The content of your About Us page, the way a brand talks about themselves, can either serve to draw the buyer further in or turn them off completely.
It’s as difficult to talk about yourself online as it is in person. Sound too proud and it will come off as arrogant, but underplay your strengths and people aren't going to be impressed. You have to strike a balance and you have to be genuine.
So, tell me about yourself
Instead of shying away from writing an About Us page, first focus on what information your buyers are looking for when they navigate to your About Us page. They want to:
Put a face to the name. Buyers want to understand who they are buying from. They want to know that real people are involved in the transaction.
Help them do this by introducing them to:
- Key players. Put images of founding members, the entire small business staff or pictures of employees at work and an explanation of their roles.
- Working environment. Include a picture of your storefront, headquarters or workspace. It shows you aren’t working out of dark alleys and shady basements and gives an insight to your company culture.
- A slice of your own talent. As an example, one of our wonderful designers, Tea, created a beautiful image of some of Articulate's team members. It's quirky, fun and personal, just like us. Plus, it showcases our design capabilities.
Showing your customers images of your brand’s people and places indicates transparency - a key feature of a trusted brand.
See if you have common connections. Your About Us page is a prime place to offer social proof to buyers in the form of:
- Testimonials. If you want to tell someone about yourself without bragging, you let others speak for you. Link to or quote key testimonials of past clients who can speak to who you are and the work you do.
- Client and partner list. Looking at someone’s friends tells you a lot about a person. Potential buyers want to know who you work for and with before they decide to join the club.
- Symbols and marks. Customers also want to connect who you are to what they’ve seen (and liked), so it’s okay to include specific vocabulary, slogans, logos or campaign information which will help them identify you online and in the street.
- Certificates. What makes your business unique? On our about us page, we've included our own personal badges of honour: our B-Corp 'certified' badge, as well as our certificate to prove that we're a living wage employer.
Your goal is to provide the buyer with a solid understanding of who you are to other people and the connections they may have with your brand.
Know what you stand for. Take a cue from PR’s book: you only have so long to convey your message. If you say too much, your audience leaves with the wrong takeaways.
According to Diana Piscotta, writing for Inc, you should ask:
- What are the most important things to say?
- What facts do I have to back that up?
From your answers, identify one to three points you want to get across and stick to those. Your message will change based on your industry, company, products, culture and buyer community, but the important thing is that the customer understands who you are and what you stand for.
On our about us page, for example, we've made a point of clearly demonstrating our company's mission statement, purpose and values. These are words that are close to our heart, demonstrate our shared vision, and allow prospects to decide whether we're the partner for them.
However, whatever you tell your buyer about your brand, vision or values is only half of the battle when writing an About Us page. Once you’ve decided what to say, you then have to work out how to say it.
It’s still not about you
Your About Us page is the place you can talk about yourself, but, always keep in mind, this is still content and it’s still there for your customers. Even when you’re talking about yourself, you’re talking about how and why you are the brand to fill their need.
The content of your About Us page is governed by the same principles as every other piece of content you write. Remember:
Talk to, not at, your buyers. People tend to talk about themselves like they’re writing a cover letter. For some brands, that high level of professionalism might be appropriate, but you want to make sure that you're talking to the same people that you write blog articles and social media posts for.
You have to write, choose images and design the page based on your buyer personas.
Keep a consistent voice. Voice is your brand’s personality. In this article about voice, Clare says, ‘People (well, trustworthy and likeable people at least) don’t change their personality every five minutes.’
This is exactly why, when you talk about yourself, it’s important to understand and use the same voice you use every other time your brand opens its mouth.
Hone your tone. If voice is your brand’s personality, tone is your attitude. Your attitude will come across in how you piece together what you want to say. This includes:
- Language. Use the language of the people who buy from your brand. Word choice has an enormous impact on the reader’s perception of the message, so it’s vital to pick the right words and string them together in a clear, concise manner. As a team full of quirky, friendly and lovely people, we opted to keep our about us page language casual, relaxed and humorous. One example being the use of 'Not the usual blah blah' instead of, well, something more conservative.
- Design and images. The images, illustration art and design you choose can speak louder than the words on your About Us page. Both need to align with your brand identity. You should work with your designers to make sure your About Us page is saying what you want it to say.
Be likeable. Obvious, right? However, for a brand, likeability is intentional. Things that aren’t likeable online include:
- Humble bragging. Have you heard of this? It’s indirect bragging and it comes across as fake. Make sure when you talk about what you’re capable of, you are being straightforward.
- Laundry lists. Again, it’s not your resume, so don’t make a list of how awesome you are. You want to weave who you are and what you do into an engaging narrative.
Whether you know you need to get to writing an About Us page, but don’t know where to start, or whether you've just realised your About Us page needs bit of a refresh, pay attention to what you say and how you say it.
Remember, your About Us page is a key piece of content in your campaign to build trusting relationships between buyer and brand.