Expert Advice: How to Write an About Page

About Page

Writing an About page is about as fun as writing a resume or a cover letter. You have to talk about yourself (or your business), it has to be frustratingly short, and there is a ton of pressure to be brilliant. But you still have to do it.

Feel like procrastinating a little bit? Let’s read what the experts have to say:

Remember to include the basics – It is easy to get so tied up in writing something brilliant that you forget to include the basics… like your name or the name of your company (seriously, it happens). In her Copyblogger post, Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page?, Sonia Simone reminds us to include the most important basic information, avoid rambling, and to above all, make it easy for the reader (i.e. please no video without text!).

Do a little research for inspiration – As I read through articles for this post, I found way too many conceptual articles that spoke about what About Pages should theoretically accomplish. The blogger behind Rachel Cooks wrote a much more practical guide, specifically targeted at food bloggers, but relevant to all. She also included a list of other About pages that she feels are good examples to learn from:

  • FoodieCrush– “Love how Heidi tells readers where to start — directing them to other pages on her site. I also love how she tells the story of how FoodieCrush came to be.”
  • How Sweet It Is– “Jessica’s about me page is pretty concise and to the point, but yet her voice and personality comes through strong and clear, and there are plenty of great links to important areas of her site.”
  • Well Plated– “I love Erin’s use of headings in her about me page. It makes it skim-able, but yet you want to read every word because it isn’t written in a boring or dull way.”
  • Oh My Veggies– “Bright photos draw you in and help tell the story of this blog. A publishing schedule is included — it’s clear right away what readers can expect to see on Kiersten’s site.”
  • Kalyn’s Kitchen– “Kalyn’s about me page clearly tells the story of her blog. It’s incredibly informative and helpful to readers. Tons of links help readers navigate their way around her site and get all the information and recipes they need.”

Include more than just copy – Neil Patel (read more about him here) makes a compelling argument for thinking about more than just the copy on your About page. In his post, How to Create the Perfect About Page, he outlines the following key components:

  • Headline
  • Benefits – how can you help your audience?
  • Supporting image – i.e. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Show your audience who you are and what you have to offer with just one glance
  • Storytelling – here is your chance to pull your audience into your story… who are you and why should they care?
  • Call to action – what do you want the reader to do after they visit the page?
  • Thoughtful use of color – what feelings are you trying to evoke?

Check out the Hit Publish Podcast – This episode of the Hit Publish Podcast is probably the single most helpful resource I have ever used for writing a basic About page. The biggest take-away? It isn’t about your business! It is about your customer. Write what they need to read, not what you need to tell them. Even if you don’t have time to listen to the (relatively short) podcast, please take a few minutes to skim through the summary and show notes.

Hopefully all of this will inspire me to keep improving this blog’s about page… always a work in progress.

Why I Deleted All of My Social Media Apps (Temporarily)

unplugging at the beach

A 2013 study concluded that in the 16 hours we are awake per day, the average person checks his or her phone a whopping 150 times.  The report also found people check their phones an average of 23 times a day for messaging, 22 times for a voice call and 18 times to get the time.

The dopamine rush we feel when we check our phones is a real thing, comparable to a drug or gambling addiction.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my family and I went away for a few weeks at the beginning of July. I have become extremely attached to my cell phone over the last year or so. Not so much for email, for as apps and news – now that I am not in a traditional office environment it helps me to feel connected. I find myself repeatedly checking my phone, even when I don’t have an urgent need. So much so that I’m annoying myself, let alone the people I love and spend time with. So the evening before we left for the trip, I deleted all of the social media apps from my phone. ALL OF THEM. And I left them off for two full weeks.

This felt weird for approximately 24hrs. Then I started leaving my phone in my room when we went to the beach. I realized I was with almost all of my favorite people in the world and I didn’t need to do much additional “connecting.”

After about 12 days, I started to get itchy again. I found myself putting the television on and listening to the news while I packed to return home, so that I could reconnect with the “real world” again. But my will power held, and I avoided downloading any social media apps until after the trip.

Since that time I have been pretty selective. I downloaded Facebook almost instantly when we got back. I downloaded Instagram, but deleted it again after a week. I find I can live without that one, even though it is very pretty to look at. I downloaded Pinterest and then deleted it… and then downloaded it again. Pinterest is my favorite way to kill time when I need to wait. Kind of like carrying a few extra toys for a toddler. Personally, I am not feeling the need to quit my phone cold turkey, just to become much more aware of my habits.  After all, as long as you aren’t ignoring the people you are with, it isn’t all bad.

“At the end of the day, we all live in this world together and to practice bringing peace onto social media is a huge step into bringing peace into our world.”
― Germany Kent

How are you managing your personal social media consumption? Are you conscious of how often you check your phone? Suggestions?

Please note that this post is about my personal social media use, not professional. As many professionals do, I keep client accounts and projects completely separate from my personal accounts.

Four Ways to Enjoy the End of Summer

enjoying summer at work

It is difficult to stay engaged at work when you hate your life. It is easy to hate your life when you feel like summer has passed you by. There is one month left of summer. Don’t waste it and hate your life.

Here are four ways to have a full time job and still enjoy the last month of summer:

Get outside during the workday. This will mean different things to different people. Maybe instead of eating at your desk, you take your lunch outside. Maybe you walk an extra two blocks in the sunshine to pick up your lunch and then you eat it at your desk. Maybe you grab your cell phone and take 30 minutes of work outside with you in between meetings. It will only get colder, kids. Get outside now.

Eat summer food. Fresh lemonade does not taste as good in December. That is a scientific fact. Same goes for fresh berries, farmer’s market produce, and all the fun flavors of iced tea at Starbucks. I recently discovered this herbal iced tea recipe from Ina Garten and I am in love with it. Drinking it while I’m at my computer feels like a treat… and I’ll be too cold to drink it in November.

Fill up your evenings and weekends. There is nothing worse than waking up after Labor Day and realizing that you never made it to the beach this year. Or to a baseball game. Or to whatever summer event is most important to you. Stop what you are doing and take a look at your August calendar – what other fun stuff can you squeeze in? Have you at least planned something amazing for Labor Day weekend? If your weekends are already spoken for (e.g. weddings, kid’s sports, etc) then make sure you are maximizing your evenings. Even if you need to check work email, do it on the patio with a beverage. And wear bug spray.

Switch up your playlist. Recommended in a recent Newsweek article, updating your playlist for summer will keep you in a sunny state of mind. Need inspiration? TimeOut created a list of the best summer songs ever made. And of course, Billboard published the 20 summer pop songs you need for 2015.

What will you be doing to enjoy August this year?

I wanted to send out a quick Welcome to all of our new followers! I am thrilled you are here.  If you haven’t already, please follow me on Twitter and check out our Facebook page to stay in touch.

Diving into Blogging 101

diving into blogging

Over the next month or so, I am planning to spend a little bit of blog time participating in the Blogging 101 Course offered by the WordPress Blogging University. To some of you, this probably seems like a strange use of my time. I have been actively growing this blog for over six months, and prior to this year, I regularly blogged for my employers and clients. But I have good reasons for participating:

I still have a lot to learn. While I don’t plan to stop writing and become a WordPress expert, I want to be really comfortable with the platform. And if there are new tricks to running a successful blog, I want to know them ASAP. After all, as I wrote recently, I am trying to get better at asking for help.

Online courses are a thing now. A huge thing. It seems like everyone is designing their own course, hosting a retreat, or participating in someone else’s online course or retreat. I want to see what this trend is all about now, before clients start to ask me about it. This is the first course I have taken online in quite some time, but based on how it goes, I may take more in the future. Would I be interested in hosting my own course someday? I am not sure, but ask me again after I have completed a few more of them.

I want to meet more bloggers! Over the past year, I have become really overwhelmed by the volumes of great content available online. There is way too much content to actually read and internalize it all. So my new strategy is to try to meet the people behind the best content. I want to learn from all the smarty-pants in the world, expand my professional network, and hopefully reciprocate by helping some others meet their goals as well.

Are you participating in Blogging 101? Please say hello in the comments below, on Twitter @RachelLColello, or on Facebook.  I would also love recommendations for other courses to check out!

Four Elements of a Brilliant Back-to-School Campaign

back to school

Back-to-school marketing campaigns are officially in full swing. What makes an amazing back-to-school campaign?

  1. Timing. Not surprisingly, launching too early means you ruin summer and launching too late means you will miss your target customers. According to some experts, the shopping season starts as early as late June and peaks in mid-August. Much like the winter holiday shopping season, this window seems to be moving earlier and earlier in the year. Using Google data, PM Digital found that back-to-school searches peaked August 9 in 2014, compared with August 17 in 2013, August 18 in 2012 and August 20 in 2011.
  1. Positivity. Back-to-school time needs to glow with possibility. Some great campaigns accomplish this purely through the creative application of music, color, and energetic branding. Other campaigns build positive feelings by giving back, like the 2012 #StaplesforStudents campaign where Staples matched qualifying product purchases by donating school supplies to disadvantaged students. Still other campaigns focus on helping the student to be the best they can be, through curating the perfect wardrobe (e.g. PacSun) or using technology to prepare for tough new classes (e.g. Apple and Dell).
  1. Relevance. Students from preschool to graduate school need a lot of supplies at the start of each academic year. The best campaigns make their brands impossible to ignore – putting the most relevant products into the hands of the students who need them. It also means that the prices need to be “relevant,” or appropriate for the target customers needs.
  1. Trust and Convenience. Surprisingly, a new study shows that back-to-school shoppers do not shop online as frequently as other shoppers do. More often, they stick local, picking up the critical supplies they need at the last minute, somewhere close to home where they shop often.

This back to school season localized campaigns may have more impact than non-localized… findings show 66% of students and 74% of parents believe localized targeting is ‘the most impactful’ part of ad campaigns.

Still craving some more stats about the Back-to-School season? Here are the National Retail Federation’s annual survey results:

Top 10 trends for back-to-school and college 2015

Do you have a favorite back-to-school campaign this year? Share it in the comments below!