PR

How to leverage your back story to build a winning professional bio

- July 25, 2023 3 MIN READ

 

I was interviewed recently by Jules Lund for Disrupt Radio, and during our chat, Jules challenged me to open up and share some of my own personal story with the listeners. Being open like this is always a difficult – and it takes practice – but it’s essential for any business owner to connect authentically with any audience, whether radio listeners, clients, customers, or even potential investors, explains Samantha Dybac, CEO and founder The PR Hub and host of the Influence Unlocked podcast

I haven’t met an entrepreneur or business leader yet who doesn’t have at least one really interesting story from their past. It’s never easy, either, so if you’re reading this and wondering ‘Why would people care?’ or ‘What does my past have to do with my business today?’, you’re not alone.

Why your story matters

Storytelling – the stories behind the people behind the brands – is the foundation of much of what we do at The PR Hub, and it all starts with your professional bio. Whether you have a PR team behind you or not, it’s essential that you develop at least one long bio of at least 400 words, to cut, paste, evolve, and mould in multiple beneficial ways for your business.

To help, here are some tactics to help get the creative juices flowing, and a checklist of five important uses for short, medium, and full-length bios for any business professional.


Make it personal

One of the things I love doing with new clients (and part of the inspiration for the framework of my podcast, Influence Unlocked) is to take them on a journey back in time, to learn about some important personal turning points that have shaped who they are today.

Why is this important? Because people love stories and people buy from people. If you think about any great leadership profile interview you have read or listened to recently, I am sure you can recall at least one important personal turning point or anecdote that you connected with.

A great exercise to help you get started with your story

Earlier this year I joined EO Melbourne and learned a hugely valuable exercise they call the ‘Lifeline Exercise’, which made so much sense to me from a storytelling perspective for personal brand and PR.

Here’s a version adapted by founder Conor Neill. Think of it as a practical guide to enable and inspire you to plot important events in your life on a timeline, and put some thought into how each of them has contributed to your life in different ways.


This is a great place to start thinking about what might be valuable content (or not!) for your bio.

How your personal and business stories intersect

 Just as you have reflected on your personal journey, reflecting on your professional background is also important. Have you run a business in the past? Started out as an employee before being inspired to start a business? Or perhaps you’ve completely switched careers along the way.

Take Taryn Williams, for example. Taryn was a 21-year-old model when she founded WINK Models with $30,000 in savings, which grew to be one of Australia’s most successful commercial modelling agencies. Twenty years on, she’s a multi-award winning founder and CEO, and has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s most prolific entrepreneurs at the intersection of talent, media, and technology.

Or foodtech company FoodByUs CEO and cofounder Ben Lipschitz, who started life as a lawyer and then founded and ran a global business called Flipsters that designed and manufactured foldable women’s shoes before successfully exiting and starting FoodByUs.

Whatever it’s been, your journey from A to B to C will be interesting to other people; listeners or readers looking for inspiration or guidance, a journalist wanting to profile someone with an edge, or an awards judge scouring hundreds of submissions for an entrant with the ‘X factor’.

5 ways to leverage your bio

  1. If you’re a business owner, LinkedIn should absolutely form part of your overall PR strategy. Polish your profile, update your image, and include a clear, concise, interesting bio in your About section. It’s free and gives you complete control over your brand and messaging.
  2. Your company website. Depending on what type of business you run, a well-crafted bio (or About section) could be the difference between a customer purchasing from you or a competitor.
  3. Pitching to press/media. Spending time up-front polishing your bio means not having to recreate the wheel every time you come across an editor you want to connect with, or are invited to be interviewed.
  4. Pitching for speaking/panel gigs. As with media pitching, having an existing bio to draw on that you can tailor to the type of the event you’re wanting to be involved in saves you time and energy down the track.
  5. Awards submissions. An awards submission is an incredible opportunity and vehicle for storytelling – whether personal and/or business – so being intimately connected with how that story is told will really help.

A strong bio is a reflection of you, in writing. It’s what makes you unique and will help you stand out as more than just a successful business owner in a sea of successful business owners when it matters most.


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