Telling Your Story: How to Write a Professional Biography

Patricia Deschineau
Patricia Deschineau

06.12.19 in Marketing & Practice Management

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes (1150 words)

Marketing and Project Management

Whether prospective clients are referred to you or are conducting their own search for financial advisors in their area, the first place they’ll go to learn more about your firm is your website. And where’s the first place they’ll look on your website to learn more about you? Your biography! So, what does that mean for you? Without a shred of a doubt, you need an informative, well-crafted, engaging bio that wins over prospects and motivates them to explore the rest of your website—and, ultimately, get in touch with you.

Now you’re wondering, how do you write a professional biography? I’ll be the first to tell you that it can be more challenging than you may expect. It’s easy to mention titles, educational history, and past jobs. But you also need to present this information in a compelling way that will help you win new business for your firm. So, where do you start

What Your Bio Should Do for You

A well-written professional biography is an opportunity to create a great first impression. In a digital media world driven by Google searches, prospects and centers of influence base their impression of you and your firm on the pictures and stories you provide on your website. So making your bio clear, concise, complete, and engaging is more important than ever. This is your chance to express your passion for your work and the people you help. Your bio should make it clear you know what matters most to your clients, and that you are uniquely positioned to help them achieve financial success. After reading your biography, prospects should have a good idea of whether you’re a good fit for them—in terms of both expertise and personality.

Crafting Your Story

Sometimes, the hardest part of telling a story is figuring out where to begin. With this in mind, here are five tips to help get you started in creating your professional bio:

1) Start with why you do what you do. Start off by conveying why you are in the business and identify the people you are passionate about helping. Is there a reason that you focus on a particular niche of clients (e.g., physicians, business owners, or individuals who are at or near retirement)? If so, what makes you an expert in that niche? Including this kind of detail immediately hooks your target audience and establishes genuine credibility within your professional story.

Real advisor example: Commonwealth advisor Joel Greenwald of Greenwald Wealth Management does a great job of using his bio to convey why he does what he does, as well as to point to the niche client group he serves. Check out Joel’s biography for inspiration!

2) Position yourself. As with any marketing effort, you’ll want to ensure that you speak to your audience in a clear and approachable manner. Explain who you are and your specific role at the firm. If you founded the firm, tell the story of how you got to where you are today. Why did you enter the financial services business, and where did you get your start?

Real advisor example: Ray Dunlap, Commonwealth advisor and founder and president of Dunlap & Associates Wealth Management, gives prospects valuable insight into his background, business, and influences in an easy-to-digest format. Starting with a single introductory paragraph followed by a compelling Q&A section, Ray’s biography keeps readers engaged and gives them the information they need, clearly and concisely.

3) Get personal. Don’t underestimate the importance of the personal touch. Use a paragraph or two of the biography to talk about your personal life and interests. Do you have a family? Are you a golfer or someone who enjoys fishing? Do you coach your daughter’s high school basketball team? Most readers will enjoy knowing what you are passionate about outside of work. And if prospects learn they have something in common with you, they’ll be that much more likely to want to get in touch.

Real advisor example: Marianna Goldenberg, Commonwealth advisor and founding principal of CURO Wealth Management, conveys just the right amount of personal detail in her bio. Written by her firm’s marketing manager, Dana Caro, Marianna’s biography is complete with anecdotes of her childhood and snapshots into her love of traveling. It’s a great example to consider as your craft your own story.

4) Make a visual connection. Including photos or other imagery in your bio can help draw readers in and improve the page’s visual appeal, making prospects’ experience on your site more enjoyable. First and foremost, you’ll want to include a headshot that speaks to your personal brand. Choose a photo that’s professional but also makes you appear friendly and approachable. Then, look for opportunities to add images that complement the more personal elements of your bio. You might also consider adding a group shot of everyone who works at the firm, or pictures of you and your staff at one of your client events or working with a charitable organization.

Real advisor example: Commonwealth advisor Edward Sokolowski of Pioneer Valley Financial Group makes great use of photos in his bio. From his headshot to the images used to convey his personal story throughout, Edward’s biography is definitely one to check out.

5) Highlight professional achievements. List the universities or professional programs you’ve attended, as well as any advanced degrees you’ve earned. Be sure to mention industry licenses or designations, as these strengthen your credibility and highlight your areas of expertise. You might list these designations at the bottom of your biography, showing that you’re qualified in a way that doesn’t interfere with the specifics of how you help people. In addition, highlight any books, articles, or other publications you’ve written or contributed to. If the publications are online, be sure to provide links so that readers can see for themselves.

Real advisor example: Check out Commonwealth advisor Lori Johndrow’s biography for an example of how to list professional certifications effectively. Positioning her experience and designations next to images that convey themes of community and teamwork reinforces her firm’s values and keeps prospects interested in reading to the bottom of the bio.

Keeping Your Story Alive

As you write your biography, continue to check in with yourself on whether what you’re putting on the page is contributing to the message you want readers to come away with. Does it express why you love this business and why prospective clients should want to work with you? Be sure your answer is “yes” before you go live with your biography. Continue to revisit your bio at least once a year to ensure that it’s up to date and always paints an accurate, compelling picture of who you are. And if you’re active on social media, add in links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook pages to provide an avenue for interested prospects to learn more.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2015, but we’ve updated it to bring you more relevant and timely information.

This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice.

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