Let Me Tell You “About Me”

Why the story on your “About Me” page matters and how to improve it.

Guest post by Daniel McInerny, CEO, The Comic Muse

About.me_icon

My passion is to help businesses and organizations tell their stories. I am an author of fiction for both children and adults. I spend my days immersed in storytelling.

So why does my “About Me” page stink on ice?

It’s not an official about.me page. My “About Me” page is found via the “Hello!” tab on my navigation bar. Although I’m currently working on a much more effective “About Me” presentation, I’m going to leave this one up for awhile so that you can make a meticulous study of its multitudinous awfulness.

What’s so awful about it?

 

A Portrait in Awfulness

First and foremost, there’s no story.

Now, I grant you, there’s copy on this page that might seem like a story. I tell you that in 2011 I launched my children’s entertainment company, Trojan Tub Entertainment, which features my humorous Kingdom of Patria series for middle grade readers. I talk about getting a PhD in philosophy and my seventeen-year career in academia. I mention that I now live with my family in Virginia. I mention my brand storytelling consultancy, The Comic Muse.

But it’s a chronology. A prose cv.

It’s not a story.

As a storyteller, I should be embarrassed by this. I am embarrassed by this.

(Give me a moment while I bathe in the embarrassment….Ahhhh. Thank you. That’s good for the soul.)

 

Showtime

Now take a look at your “About Me” page, or whatever functions as such for you. Think about it. This is the page where folks go if you’ve managed to attract them by some piece of content you’ve placed online. How does it read? Are you telling a story?

Just this morning I received a nice tweet from someone I had never encountered before and who seemed like she would make a good professional contact. She had an about.me link on her Twitter page. So what did I do? I clicked on it, of course. She had intrigued me by something she had tweeted and I wanted to know what this person was all about.

At this point, it was showtime. I had, as it were, bought a ticket, taken my seat, and was ready to be entertained.

Yes, entertained.

Your “About Me” page is not simply a log of your vital statistics. It’s a chance for you to tell a story about yourself that will move our hearts and minds.

Unconvinced? Then answer this question. What would you rather do? Read someone’s cv or canned bio, or sink into a chair with a good novel?

We both know the answer to that question, and so we know what we have to do if we want people to have more than a passing interest in who we are.

Your “About Me” page is your chance to relate a narrative that the world won’t be able to put down.

This is an awesome opportunity.

But it’s also a challenging task. So challenging, in fact, that you’ll probably be tempted, like me, to simply “punt” and start listing stuff.

Avoid that temptation. Take the time to craft an “About Me” page that really tells a story.

   Your “About Me” page is your chance to relate a narrative that the world won’t be able to put down.

 

Telling The Story of “Me”

Let’s talk now about how to craft that story.

Your “About Me” story should, in some sense, be a story of transformation. It should feature you, the “hero” or “heroine,” on a quest in which you are not the same person (doing the same things) at the end of the story that you were at the beginning.

The engine of this transformation is conflict. Obstacles. Difficulties. Challenges.

Let’s break this down even further.

Your “About Me” page is a story in which you, the hero or heroine, are in pursuit of a goal.

That goal might consist in one thing or be a collection of things. If your “About Me” page is functioning as part of your business profile, then the goal your are seeking is the goal of your business.

Now we need conflict. No goal worth pursuing is achieved without encountering resistance. This is the prime thing missing from my current “About Me” page. As it reads, my “About Me” page has me undergoing a mid-life career change without even breaking a sweat. One day I was a philosopher on a university campus, the next I was running a children’s entertainment company. Happens every day, right?

No, it doesn’t. And I missed the opportunity to tell that interesting fact to the world.

I missed the opportunity to tell the world about the life-long yearning I had to be a storyteller, a yearning deeper and more abiding than my desire to be an academic philosopher. I missed the opportunity to tell the world about how I, and my wife, decided to make a daring break with the academic world and pursue an entirely new career as a storyteller. I told nothing of the anguishing deliberation, the hopeful signs, the raised eyebrows I received from those who could not understand why I was doing something so crazy.

I also missed the opportunity to tell the world about the struggles I had once I got started on my new career. I didn’t do what I am doing right now with you: talk about my mistakes.

In brief, there is no conflict in my “About Me” page. And without conflict, there is no story.

But by the end of your “About Me” story, conflict must be, at least partially, overcome. At least you have to still be trying to overcome it. Don’t think that you have to have a golden ending to your “About Me” story. The end as you know it today may not be all you want it to be in the future. But that’s okay. Your story so far can still be fascinating. And you can always revise it later when new episodes occur.

In any event, it should be clear by the end of your “About Me” story that you have undergone an internal transformation of some kind. Your thinking has changed. Your habits have changed. Your way of looking at the world is totally different. Don’t just tell us you got a new job or launched a new business or venture. Tell us about how you, the hero or heroine, are never going to be the same person again.

Lest you think all this focus on “About Me Me Me” is going to make your audience lose interest, don’t worry. I know the principle about making your audience the hero. But they will be the hero if you tell a compelling story about yourself, because they will be identifying themselves and their struggles with the struggles you relate.

Your “About Me” page is a story in which you, the hero or heroine, are in pursuit of a goal.

 

A Couple of Things I Did Right

I’ll close with noting a couple of things that I am happy with on my “About Me” and which I will carry over into my revised version.

First, casual pictures. Use them. I have one good casual photograph of me and one not-so-great one at a school reading of my Patria books. The world wants to see what we look like. They want to see that we’re human beings. They want to relate to us so that they can put themselves in our shoes and imagine what it’s like to do something like we’re doing. So don’t just use professional photography. Show us a more everyday look.

Second, humor. Use it. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian, but a little humor brings out your humanity and, again, helps us relate to you. I don’t use a lot of humor on my current page, but I talk about being being “the resident personal shopper and hand model” at The Comic Muse, as well as having, when young, “fallen in with a bad crowd” and gotten a PhD in philosophy. This won’t get me a special guest spot on SNL, but it’s enough to maintain a relaxed, inviting atmosphere.

I gotta go. I have an “About Me” page to disinfect and refurbish into a story.

How about you?

 

P.S. One last thing. I’m very proud to announce that my new online course, The Art of the Storypreneur, is open for enrollment. This course is designed to help you become, not just a storyteller, but a story creator for your business or organization. You go into the phone booth a mere marketer, you come out an storytelling superhero. Subscribers to The Comic Muse free email Newsletter receive a nifty discount. The syllabus and other details about the course can be found here.

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Daniel McInerny is founder and CEO of The Comic Muse, a brand storytelling consultancy devoted to helping businesses and other organizations become, not merely storytellers, but story creators. He also writes fiction for both children and adults. For children, he writes the humorous Kingdom of Patria series for middle grade readers (kingdomofpatria.com); and for adults, he was published the black comic thriller, High Concepts: A Hollywood Nightmare, available at Amazon. He welcomes your feedback at daniel@thecomicmuse.com.

Posted in Marketing, Sales, Story
2 comments on “Let Me Tell You “About Me”
  1. Annette Simmons says:

    Brilliant post!

    • Andrew Nemiccolo says:

      Annette, I agree! Daniels transparency and humor make this an enjoyable (and very useful) post to read!

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