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How to write your 'About Us'

Your website is an important marketing channel to create awareness and generate leads. Use this platform to tell your business's story and engage your audience. It's your opportunity to convey personality and culture, to demonstrate why people will enjoy working with you and to build trust.

Site visitors are generally less interested in how you do what you do - the technical aspects of accounting (they assume you have this covered). What they really want to know is how you'll help them achieve their goals.

Your About Us page.

This is arguably the most important page after your homepage. The purpose is to demonstrate who you are, not what you do. Obviously, you can talk about your vision and purpose on your homepage but leave the details and features of your services to your services page. 'About Us' refers to the people in the business.

Don'ts:
  • Don't bombard with accountanese and industry jargon that clients don't understand
  • Don't waste valuable real estate listing all your business awards (this doesn't speak about you)
  • Don't use fancy, redundant words
  • Don't be too formal

Do's:
  • Reference your personality and culture
  • Reference your Core Values
  • Include how you help your clients
    (your individual strengths and passions in relation to the client experience)
  • Include why your clients like working with you (the potential benefits for site visitors)
  • Use a relaxed, conversational tone
  • Be clear on what makes you different from your competitors

This is an industry where human contact is required and longstanding relationships are built. The people in your team are everything. When writing your copy, imagine you're having a face-to-face conversation with a prospective client. You want to attract clients who you're likely to have a successful working relationship with.

Reflect on testimonials and previous successes.

Step into your clients' shoes. How have they enjoyed the client experience? What were the objectives of clients who've previously engaged you? What services or experiences did they rave about? What did they enjoy about working with your team?

The aim is to connect with your potential clients. Highlight your team's individual attributes in your bios, as well as how you work together to deliver value.

Writing relatable team bios.

1. First or third person?

When listing accolades and skills speaking in the first person can come across as being bit cocky - it's simply more believable when someone else says you're awesome. Basically, the rule is if your company has more than one employee then third person is best.

Bios written in the third person sound more objective, and referring to names instead of 'I' helps potential clients remember them. Whatever you choose, be consistent across the team.
2. Who should write employee bios?

Bios should be consistently written by one person. Obviously, your team must be included in the bio writing process but they don't need to write their own, this can be an uncomfortable task. They should follow a loose format (without being too matchy) and be written in a style that reflects your firm's digital voice.

You could tackle the development in two ways:
  1. Ask your team to answer some basic questions to unlock interesting facts and ideas that could be included in their bio and have one 'well written' employee draft all the bios.

  2. Ask your team to draft their own bio or reference points and have one 'well written' employee wave their magic writing wand over the top to make them consistent in length, format and style.

It might be beneficial for the team to buddy up and brainstorm with a colleague that knows them well. You might think you know your strengths, achievements and personality better than anyone, but getting the perspective of a colleague can shed light on what truly makes you different and important to the team. This can minimise the potentially awkward writing process.

Always ensure each employee is happy with the result. What's funny for some might be offensive to others. Outsource this writing task if you don't have the skills or time to make it a priority.
3. Develop a rough formula.

Your format will depend on your business's personality. Bring your ideas together in a way that lets your readers know that you're interested in helping them with their problems. Speak their language. It should be well-rounded and allow the reader to gain a sense of who you are and hopefully some subconscious trust.

Brainstorm the format together and allow people to share the ideas they've considered for their own bios. Hearing what others are thinking about will help the ideas flow for everyone.

Consider the following:

Start with key information and work backwards.Known as the inverted pyramid, this helps to ensure people read the full bio, instead of skimming the first sentence and losing interest.

Briefly explain what you do or what skills you bring to the party. You have limited real estate so don't waste a paragraph on credentials if you can write: John Smith, FCA, BCom. You don't need to include your complete employment history but it might be relevant to link to your LinkedIn Page - it's likely this has a more in-depth breakdown of your professional history.

Add personality. The accountant / client relationship is a personal one. While experience and education may prove your capabilities, it doesn't say a lot about who you are. You could discuss relatable details like why you became an accountant, or why you love the industry. Provide some insight into your personal life, perhaps you enjoy fishing, medieval reenactments or crochet.

Provide contact details. The more personal the better. Give your email address, not a form to fill out.

Social media.This can be relevant if your different profiles have valuable professional information. But not if they're all kids, cats and beersies.
4. Read, rewrite, proof and review in bulk.

Your website is an extension of your business, you need to remain professional and nothing says sloppy like a glaring spelling mistake or grammatical error. Get your best proofreader to carefully review everything. Twice. Once for the flow of the words and then again purely to check spelling and grammar. The writer can't be the reviewer as fresh eyes are required. Read the bios aloud and test that the overall reading experience is varied and interesting.
5. Remember, a picture paints a thousand words.

Include photos, cartoons or other relevant imagery. It's an opportunity to let personality shine even more. After all, people are nosy - we're more likely to read (and remember someone) if there's a picture. Be careful with group photos though as these have limited longevity. Head and shoulders will suffice. Roll over images allow for a mix of professional and fun.

It's important that you have bios and photos of the entire team on your website.

Remember, your admin team are the gateway to your business - they field most calls and website enquiries, so don't forget about them. WHAT you do is not WHO you are. Your website is a great way to differentiate your firm in a sea of generic professional services business websites.

Google is not just for the younger generations. If you don't use your website to demonstrate how your team works together to delight your customers, new visitors are likely to engage elsewhere.
By Natalie Eady.