I don’t usually write About pages.
They’re too broad. Too fluffy.
I’m a direct response man.
I like getting specific people to take a specific action.
And ‘About’ pages, by nature, tend to break the cardinal sin of direct marketing. Which is: ‘make it about your reader, not you.‘ It’s a bit of a Catch22.
It’s why I was so shocked to hear from Andrew McBurney.
Andrew’s a marketing consultant who, like me, is freezing up here in Canada. I’ve known him a year-or-so now, and we get along well. So when told me he needed an About page, I said I’d be happy to help.
Anyway, Andrew rigged up the finished draft and mailed an old, neglected list – with a link to go see it. What happened?
“I got a contact through the website earlier today. I sent an email out to my list that I hadn’t talked to in ages… one of the guys went to check out my site. I removed all the content from the site (services, case studies, etc) – all it is is the about page as the home page, blog + contact page and opt in freebie. The guy poured his heart out saying how frustrated he was with business and needs to figure out his marketing. You nailed this one.”
– Andrew McBurney, Marketing Consultant
If you’ve read my previous post on listening to peoples’ pain, you’ll know these responses are pure gold – and can even be the foundation of a new business.
In most cases, your About page is the second-most-viewed page on your website, so it pays to use this space wisely. To connect with a problem your reader is likely experiencing – and getting them to tell you about their woes.
One solution – which I applied to Andrew’s page – is to tell a story.
Now, I don’t want to talk about ‘storytelling’ as a marketing concept
Honestly, I think it’s an overused buzzword.
I also don’t want to overcomplicate the simple. Because the basic framework for telling a story has just 3 steps. All you have to do is pull 3 major events from your own life, and glue them into the right places. So long as these 3 events are relatable to your reader, you should hold their attention – and stir their interest.
I’ll explain this framework in just a moment…and you’ll see why it works so well with your About pages and bios.
First, let’s look at the copy which has started pulling in those leads.
As I’ve said, your story must be relatable. There’s plenty of stories we could have pulled from Andrew’s life. But the page must focus, like a laser, on that one story which makes the reader say, “That’s just like ME!”
In copywriting, you often hear about ‘Benefits,’ and how the reader cares for nothing else.
This is untrue.
More than anything, people want to feel understood.
If you can talk at length about your previous problem, and this mirrors a problem your reader has right now, then you have their attention. And you’re talking about yourself.
Start with empathy.
Before writing this copy, I spent a good deal of time in forums. I saw that prospects were sick and tired of the same old gurus and insta-experts.
This copy is tongue-in-cheek.
It quietly pokes fun at the guru culture.
It’s an angle which everyday people can relate to.
Next, as I’ve said, you must pin this relatable story to a framework
And this is something I’ve noticed a lot of writers struggle with.
I write a lot of fiction in my spare time. I’ve heard just about every story structure and plotting framework out there. Some are useful. Others are stifling. Most are unnecessarily complicated.
But watch any movie. Read any book. You can almost always break it down into 3 steps. That’s it. Three.
Act 1: You establish the problem. What was going on in your life before you found this solution? This should amount to about 25% of your story.
Act 2: You take a leap of faith. You cross a threshold. Ideally, it will have a ‘point of no return.’ In Andrew’s case, his Act 2 began when he quit his job and flew to Thailand.
You should also fail first time around. This is disarming and likeable, but also more likely to keep your audience reading. We like problems. At the 50% mark, tell them something which made you take a hard look at yourself.
Act 3: Usually begins at roughly the 75% mark, and starts with a big disaster. Everything you attempted went wrong. “Everything I tried delivered more of the same,” said Andrew. “Nothing ever worked.”
However, during Act 3, you recover. You take what you’ve learned and use it to solve your problem. This is the moment where you start to introduce the benefits of your website to the reader.
One quick point…
I’m not suggesting you make anything up
Andrew’s story is completely true – and yours should be too.
You can, in my opinion, rearrange the chronology a little to give your story impact, or indulge in a teensy-weensy bit of exaggeration. But overall, everything which you say happened should have actually happened.
But here’s the thing: This shouldn’t be a huge problem. The story structure exists, and works, because it follows the adversity we face time and time again in life. The continuous and frustrating stumbling blocks which come between us and the goals we hope to achieve.
Think about the key moments as you developed your product or service.
I’ll bet you can pick 3 key events which make it fit the structure. If you need any help with this, here’s the best place to start.