Writing Checklist: How to Craft the Perfect Financial Bio
If you have ever stared at a blank page struggling to write your own biography, you know what a challenge it can be to effectively communicate all the compelling reasons a future prospect should want to work with you. It is almost like a first date or answering the notorious hiring interview question: “Tell me about yourself…”—an open-ended opportunity that leaves many at a loss for words.
Whether it is on your company website or in your workshop handouts, your bio can make a first and lasting impression, and it may be enough to convince someone to do business with you—so make it count! Use the checklist below to help identify the key points you should include in your bio, and you will be on your way to a perfect financial bio!
- Consider Your Audience: Just like all other marketing opportunities, the first question you need to ask yourself is: Who are you talking to? While some of the essential data will be the same, the type of information you should share and how you position it should vary depending on your audience including whether it is a prospect, the media or an industry speaking opportunity.
- Create an Opening: It can be helpful to include a compelling statement in the opening paragraph that directly clarifies your role with the firm, including responsibilities and how someone should expect to interact with you in your role (if it is not self-evident from your job title). Even if you are president, CEO or similar, it can be helpful to take this opportunity to communicate the mission that drives your daily work, telling readers why the rest of your biography matters to them.
- Establish Experience: Once you have established the essential introduction, paragraph two is the perfect place to include everything that establishes your expertise. This includes:
- Work History: Keep in mind, this is not your ADV, and your entire chronological resume is not necessary. Only include the most relevant work experience and communicate key takeaways that have enhanced your knowledge or led to your current path and position to demonstrate focus and commitment to your role.
- Professional Memberships: Whether it’s the National Ethics Association, Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor GroupSM, local or national chapters of FPA®, NAIFA®, NAPFA, or your local better business bureau and chamber of commerce, current and active membership with professional organizations demonstrate your commitment to specific causes and are great to highlight for credibility.
- Degrees and Designations: Include the name of your university if it adds credibility or community ties; however, if your degree is in art history or something not particularly relevant to your current profession, do not feel obligated to include these specifics. If you have earned professional designations, include a brief summary of what they reflect in terms of demonstrated knowledge and ongoing commitment to give them more meaning to your readers
- Boost Your Credibility: Other ways to enhance your credibility as they become available include:
- Any published works, whether an article in a trade publication or publishing a book
- Notable media appearances
- Professional awards and
- Public speaking achievements
- Create a Personal Connection: For the close of your bio, this is a great opportunity to include a few quick personal facts that can help establish talking points and ice breakers with new prospects. Especially in the financial industry, it is all about working with someone you know, like and trust, and these elements can go a long way (just remember tip #1 – consider your audience! If this bio is for media credibility or other non-consumer use, this would typically be an area to omit):
- Community Involvement: Do you participate in any charities, civic groups, non-profits or other organizations? Include any specific efforts you have been a part of to make these mentions more meaningful.
- Family and Hobbies: If talking about your kids or your favorite professional sports teams are go-to conversations with your ideal client, include a few of those breadcrumbs in your closing for a final personal touch.
- Maintain Consistency with Your Team: It is important to consider how your bio will work alongside your team in terms of length, structure and voice.
- Length: Advisors and founding partners should have longer bios to establish their expertise than their support staff.
- Structure: The flow of subject matter should follow a similar pattern from one to another as a reader is likely to review more than one in each sitting (so share this blog with your team to get everyone on the same page before you begin writing!)
- Voice: It is typical to see biographies written in third-person for most uses, except for LinkedIn, which is generally in first-person voice and more conversational than traditional biographies. Decide whether first names or last names are more appropriate for the tone of your business and be consistent.
- Keep it Current: Be sure to review your bios at least once a year as your life and experience continue to change to keep it up-to-date! Ages and years of experience are two factors that quickly date a biography, so rather than writing 33 years of experience, use “more than 30 years” or “since 1985” to help avoid dating your materials, particularly if you plan to have them professionally printed on marketing materials.
Have questions or need help creating a professional financial biography or other resources to build your credibility for a high-impact first impression? Contact us to discuss how we can be of help.