5 PR Tips on Crafting a Compelling Biography

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PR pros are increasingly living in a 140-character world, thanks to Twitter. Nevertheless, senior managers rely on communicators to write long-form content to get the message out and/or raise awareness among stakeholders. Writing executive bios, of course, is part of the drill.

However, more often than not, reading a typical corporate biography is the equivalent of watching paint dry. And we’re not talking paint colors drenched in psychedelia, but eggshell white or French Vanilla.

Rather than look upon the executive biography as a communications vehicle, PR pros tend to stuff biographies with bromides, Pollyannaish quotes and extraneous information. We’ve seldom read a corporate biography that answers the proverbial question: What’s In It For Me? It’s a lost (and low-cost) opportunity to enhance the value of PR.

With that in mind, here are several tips on how to write an executive biography, compliments of Linda Tancs, owner of Get S.M.A.R.T. Consulting.

> Use the third-person voice. It’s the generally accepted format for biographies.

> Start with the name—in bold type. The name may be set off as a headline or as the start of the narrative. If you use it as a headline, consider adding a subhead that highlights the value of the subject.

> Summarize the unique selling proposition in a short paragraph. Think of it as a 30-second elevator speech.

> Back up the unique selling proposition with evidence of the subject’s ability to deliver on it. This may include quotes from the subject or testimonials from customers. Avoid the use of industry jargon or acronyms.

> End with contact information (email, business address and phone number) and links to appropriate media such as a website, Twitter account, LinkedIn account or Facebook page.

What would you add to the list?

To learn more about effective PR writing, order a copy of PR Writer’s Guidebook Vol. 1.   

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1