Businesses pay this woman between $1,500 and $9,500 to write their “About Us” pages.
That is Marian Schembari, and she’s a copywriter that specializes in About Us pages.
A $1,500 minimum seems like a CRAZY amount re-writing a single About Us page. So why is Marian able to charge such high prices?
I lured Marian to Austin with promises of cupcakes and jellybeans, then STOLE ALL HER SECRETS.
I made Marian some nice
truth serum tea and she gave away all the secrets to writing a $9,500 About Us page below:
–MARIAN STARTS TALKING HERE-
–MARIAN STARTS TALKING HERE-
–MARIAN STARTS TALKING HERE-
–MARIAN STARTS TALKING HERE–
For a page with no clear ROI (unlike a sales page with obvious conversion metrics), it doesn’t make a ton of sense that you’d put a lot of time into an “About Us” page.
That’s why most About pages suck big time.
You know the ones… Rambling 3rd-person paragraphs listing out a company’s timeline or a contractor’s education.
Don’t worry, I’ll lay out exactly how to write an About page without having to pay me $1,500. But first, know these two things:
1.) Your About page is often the most-visited page on your entire website.
2.) Your story is THE content that will stay in a reader’s head long after they’ve clicked “exit”.
Organizations from start-ups to nonprofits don’t pay me $1,500 and say:
“Write us an About Page please!!!”
No no no…..
What these clients pay for is:
- A story that makes journalists pick up the phone.
- A value proposition that makes readers sign up for everything they’ve ever created.
- An offering that makes customers request a beta version of software that’s still in stealth mode.
So let’s dive into how to actually do this:
Step 1.) Understand your “About Page” is often the 2nd-highest visited page behind your homepage.
I hacked into Neville’s private analytics and stole these screenshots from his account:
Despite him having a terrible About Us page, people stay on the page for an average of 2min and 3seconds……since he has barely 3 paragraphs of text on his About Page, this means people are ACTUALLY READING what he’s saying.
However since he put very little effort into the page, he’s missing some crucial opportunities to hook people in for life, or take an action.
Don’t be dumb like Neville and neglect the 2nd-most visited page on your website!
Step 2.) Understand your “About Page” is often the highest “bounce rate” of any page
Bounce Rate = The percentage of visitors to a website leave after viewing only one page:
Think about it…
Whether it was via a Facebook advertisement, Google search, or guest post, a new visitor has landed on your site. Cool. Congratulations!
Now, these new readers either leave …. OR…. they click “About” in your navigation.
And that, my friend, is a very clear, screaming statement:
“I like what I see… Tell me more!”
You’ve piqued their interest, and it’s your About page’s job to reel them in.
The problem is, most people slap up a third-person copy/pasted bio from LinkedIn and call it a day.
The result? You’ve just told that new reader: “Sorry, nothing to see here.”
And instead of that new reader devouring everything you’ve ever created, they click that terrifying “x” and explore someone else’s website.
Step 3.) Understand it’s your About Page’s job to steer the visitor somewhere:
Think about your About page as a train station—bustling with crowds, each person armed with a different destination and departure schedule.
These visitors have one thing in common: They want to get somewhere!
It’s your About Page’s job to tell them how:
Thanks for the help Mr. About Page!
Sadly a lot of people treat their About page like an abandoned station with a boarded up ticket window. This sad and abandoned About Page is telling visitors they’re in the wrong place and to get off at the next stop:
Awww Mr. About Page is depressed and not being helpful at all :-(
As you can see, a great About Page can be the difference between a quick visitor exit and a newly obsessed fan.
So how do we turn your awkward third-person text fest into a sticky page that leads to more press opportunities, subscribers and rabid fans? By knowing the “anatomy” of a good About Page:
Step 4.) Understand the Anatomy of a good About Page
Essentially your About page has two jobs:
(1.) Get new readers excited to have found you.
(2.) Send them to the right place.
There are a million creative ways to format your About page, but there are a few sections I consider for each page I write:
- A Value Proposition
- A Day Dream
- A Differentiator
- A Story
- An Offering
- A Call to Action
I like this order, but you can mix and match in a way that works for you. This “Anatomy of an About Page” contains everything I put into about pages I write that cost up to $9,500….so pay close attention and take notes!
Let’s go through each section, then walk through some examples.
Here are the different parts of an About Page…..
PART 1.) The Value Proposition:
A value proposition is just a fancy way of answering the question: What is unique and desirable about you?
It’s usually just a sentence or two, and works great as an introductory headline. When you use this headline on your About page, you also avoid the dreaded (and completely overused) headline: “About Us.”
Your headline doesn’t need to be catchy or clever or “punchy”. It just has to encapsulate what you do, how you’re different and why people should keep reading.
Here are some example Value Propositions:
- “Life coaching for people who give a shit” (Liz Goodchild)
- “A marketplace where people connect to make, sell and buy unique goods” (Etsy)
- “Tools to grow your website’s traffic” (Sumome)
- “A marketplace for accomplishment” (Thumbtack)
For every page I write, I brainstorm at least 25 headlines. And I do this last.
I’ve found the best stories reveal themselves throughout the writing process and it’s easier to come up with something clear and unique after writing the rest of page.
But that’s what works for me—you do you.
PART 2.) The Day Dream:
How will your reader’s life be different when they buy/read/subscribe? What does that perfect life look like?
You’ve likely seen sales pages feature this tactic with the words, “Imagine if…”
- Imagine if you could take your dog anywhere, without worrying he’ll bark at old ladies on the street.
- Imagine that going to work felt as magical as Christmas morning.
- Imagine making a full-time salary by selling your jewelry at renaissance faires.
These stories don’t need to start with the word “imagine,” but it’s helpful exercise. You can cut the first few words once you’re done:
- Take your dog anywhere, without worrying he’ll bark at old ladies on the street.
- Going to work every day will feel like Christmas morning.
- Make a full-time salary selling your jewelry at renaissance faires.
Now write a short paragraph, including pain points, to really make that big idea resonate.
When you first brought Fido home, you imagined taking him everywhere… sitting at your feet while you worked from a coffee shop, running along the beach… but your dreams were quickly dashed when you realized Fido couldn’t go ANYWHERE without barking his cute little head off at every person he saw. You cringe every time you think about that one time he knocked over that patio table, spilling coffee all over your laptop.
Isn’t that so much better than starting your page off with, “I am a seasoned dog trainer with 12 years experience at the Harvard School for dog barking. I will help train your dog for $50. Call me plz.”
PART 3.) The Differentiator:
I once had a client who, when I asked what made her different from every other yoga clothing store, said, “Well, I started business to be like other yoga apparel stores.”
Instead of backhanding her over Skype, I raised my eyebrows and asked, “Did you really? Why didn’t you just get a job there? Why start a business that already exists in 1000 different incarnations?”
“Well, I love the buying process. And a lot of those stores say they stock organic products or Fair Trade fabric, but they don’t. Turns out, most of them sell over-priced wellness products that are actually bad for you.”
Now we’re getting somewhere.
Personally, I started copywriting because I got a headache from all the eye rolling I did while working in tech. I hated when these well-funded, “innovative” tech guys played it safe on their websites, shying away from Human Speak in favor for generic corporate language (HELLO!? Aren’t you supposed to be disruptive”). That’s why, on my About page, I tell a story about when an old boss told me that “personality wasn’t a brand value.”
Because I share that story, almost every new client brings it up during our first session. Every single one of them hired me specifically to add an emotional story their copy, too.
This tactic works in every industry.
- House cleaner? Your differentiator might be your homemade cleaning products.
- Dog trainer? Yours could be an extensive knowledge of canine body language.
- Renaissance faire jewelry designer? You combine Pinterest trends with necklaces modeled after real pieces in the British Museum.
We ALL have experiences that makes us uniquely qualified to do what we do. Your About page is the place to share that.
Draft this section by asking yourself: “What pisses you off about your industry?”
A photographer might say, “I hate how everyone thinks their cousin can photograph a wedding. It takes a ton of expensive equipment and years of training to develop an eye for capturing deep emotions.”
Now that’s a compelling message. Why not write something like…
Here are a few other questions to help you brainstorm:
- How is your approach different?
- What do you offer that competitors don’t?
- What drives you crazy about your industry?
- What part of your industry do you want to see changed?
- Why did you start your own business instead of getting a job with someone else?
PART 4.) A Story:
NOW—and only now—is when we include more about you. Talk about your mission, your work history, your awards or your personal story.
I’m a big fan of getting vulnerable here, even if you run a 100-person start-up in Silicon Valley. While, sure, “No one cares about you, they only care about themselves,” (thanks Nev), that’s only true if you tell your story like a robot. As humans, we constantly hunt for connections to our own lives.
Let’s say you want to get back into shape, but you’ve taken “Netflix and chill” to a whole new level. You decide to hire a personal trainer and get two recommendations from a friend.
1.) One is a marathon runner who’s been obsessed with running his whole life.
2.) The second struggled to get off the couch for years until finally losing 112 pounds and running his first marathon. He talks about his own struggles with laziness and how he conquered them using straight-forward goal setting and 15-minute morning routine.
I haven’t told you anything about their skills, just their stories. But you already have a first choice, don’t you?
If you get personal, you will retain retain more visitors and attract more of your perfect customer.
To help you write this section, use these prompts:
- Why do you want to help?
- How did you get involved in this industry/project/topic?
- Have you experienced this problem before?
- What questions do clients ask you all the time?
NOTE: Do not—under any circumstances—write this in the third person. Use “I” or “we” only.
If you can’t use first person throughout the page, try writing a letter from the CEO here. Huckberry and Groove both do this successfully.
PART 5.) An Offering:
Think back to the last time you discovered someone new online….
Maybe you Googled “puppy obedience” and you found someone who—FINALLY—provided a training schedule broken down by priority and training duration.
Her About page talked about her story and experience, followed by an easy way to start absorbing her content and services. She linked to her most popular training videos, a free training calendar download and a quick overview of her online training program.
You clicked “open in new tab” left right and center.
Your page should make your readers feel like they’ve just stumbled across the internet’s best-kept secret.
The Offerings section is a stylized table of contents that helps new readers learn about you while also tackling their biggest problems.
You could include:
- A blurb and button to your top 3 services.
- A list of popular blog posts.
- Images and links to your bestselling products.
- Upcoming events
Before you get overwhelmed, ask yourself: “What ONE thing do you want readers to do after reading your About page?” (Take “grow my list” off the table for a minute, because we’ll go into that later.)
For my company, I want people to check out my signature offering because it’s a good entry point for retainer clients.
My yoga apparel client wants new readers to shop—so we feature photos and links to the top products on her site.
It’s okay to have a few offerings listed here. That yoga client also includes links to her most share-worthy blog posts for those readers not quite ready to buy. Unlike a sales page, you can have a few different off ramps for readers. If you do this well, they’ll explore them all.
PART 6.) A Call To Action:
Outside of your biggest offerings, you should end on a final call to action. Ideally, this would be an email subscription form.
I have a pop-up, hello bar and footer opt-in offer, but the form on my About page converts at a significantly higher rate.
Because these are super warmed-up leads who I’ve just convinced I’m worth listening to.
So if you have a list, here’s the place to promote it.
If your About Page is complete, you will have an About Page that will be grabbing customers by the hand, pointing them where you want, and saving that valuable traffic!
This post is not meant to “inspire” you. I don’t care if you share it, click on my website link or leave a comment.
This guide is useless unless you actually follow the prompts. Sit down with a pen and paper (handwriting is a better way to brainstorm) and answer the questions above. I promise, once you see all these pieces laid out, you’ll be able to rearrange them into a cohesive About pages that converts and sounds like you.
This all said… if you have questions, ask away in the comments! And if you have a favorite About page, send me a link. I have a massive folder on my computer with screenshots of my favorite About pages. You can even download my swipe file right here if you don’t want to spend hours poking around the internet yourself.
Marian Schembari is a copywriter and essayist based in San Francisco, California. Her work has been featured in TIME, Real Simple, Jezebel and Buzzfeed. She’s also the founder of Oh Hai Copy, a boutique copywriting studio that helps entrepreneurs inject personal story into their copy to convert more visitors and cultivate rabid fans. Download her About page swipe file here for endless storytelling inspiration.
Download this “About Us” Page Guide:
Neville, Marian, and About Page Man