7 Secrets to Writing Your Real Estate Bio
Day after day, my inbox is filled with requests from real estate agents and affiliated professionals expressing varying degrees of fear, desperation, and touching levels of wistfulness. "I'm new to the business" or "I'm coming back to the business" or "I've been in the business for decades" followed by a request for me to write them a real estate bio.
I sometimes find it humorous that this is the one piece of writing they are most qualified to do themselves, yet it is the one piece of writing they know they need to outsource. I don't blame them -- I did the same thing myself when, after years in business, I realized I needed a bio.
After I outsourced my own bio, I tweaked it and played around with it endlessly. I still revisit it from time to time, trying to make it what I really want. I have clients like this too -- we work on their bio every few months, making adjustments and using it to redefine where they are in their career and what their goals are for their business.
Why do we all find it so hard to create a truly great bio? I've written hundreds of them and written about them extensively, yet every time I sit down to write a bio it's a new experience -- it feels like I'm reinventing the wheel. While they're all written with care, some of them have a little touch of magic that makes them truly exceptional (if I do say so myself).
From thinking about the writing process for bios, I've come up with a few things that seem to set the best bios I've read and written apart from the rest. Whether you're writing your own bio or reaching out with info to me or another bio writer, I hope these tips will help you create a better bio -- one that you'll truly fall in love with.
Understand the purpose of a real estate bio
I think that one of the reasons so many real estate agents struggle with their bio is that they're expecting it to do too much. If you think that posting a well-written bio will cause people to suddenly discover your website or social media account and beat a path to your door, you're bound to be disappointed.
Your bio is there to reassure people who've looked you up that you're legit and that you can help them with their transaction. Unless you're a rock star or have won multiple awards, most of what you're doing in a bio is giving people the chance to get to know you. Think of it the same way you would a personal interview -- let your personality and perspective come through and let them know you know what you're doing.
Get some outside perspective
The simple truth is that we don't judge ourselves very well and we don't always understand what's important or interesting about ourselves. So often when I deliver a draft of a bio, the client says something to the effect of "Who is she?" or "Is this really me?"They are thrilled because they didn't quite realize how awesome they were.
Talk to a trusted friend, colleague, mentor, or protege and get some insight into how they perceive you. What do they think your gifts are? What do they think is memorable about interacting with you? People who care about you can help you see yourself in new and positive ways.
If you've gathered testimonials and reviews over your years in the business, look back at them for clues as to what makes you special to clients. If you're new to real estate but have testimonials from your previous work, they can still be useful in identifying your best personal and professional traits.
Hone in on your unique value proposition
What do you do that no one else does? What special skills have you developed? Even if it seems like a small thing to you, special training or unique aspects to your professional background can be compelling differentiators.
I know you care about your clients. I know you streamline the process of buying and selling. So does everyone else. Stop using phrases that make you blend in. Find something -- literally anything -- that can help you stand out and let your bio focus on that.
Consider a different format
I want you to hire me to write your bio. I won't make any bones about that. But if a written bio is not going to serve you well, that's not what you should do. If you are great on video, make your bio video-based. If you think visually, an infographic format might be better for your bio. If you have a podcast, include a segment where you tell your story and make that your bio.
From a written perspective, consider something other than the traditional bio format. A Q&A interview-style format or an FAQ might be fun and different. Maybe you want to create a narrative or talk about a day in the life of your business. You don't have to do the same-old same-old. Really.
Create a variety of styles
When I write bios, I write them in long and short versions in first-person and third-person voice. That way clients get a sense of what they like best and can have different versions for different vibes. For example, they might use the first person short version on social media, first person long version on their website, and third person short version as an intro at the local association meeting.
First person tends to sound friendlier and warmer while third person sounds more professional and elevated. Women tend to gravitate to first person, but when they are brokers or team leaders, I think that third person is better, lending more authority and professionalism. Your mileage may vary.
The point is, by creating different styles and different options, you give yourself the opportunity to choose and find one that works for you and for the particular marketing material you're putting together.
Forget the real estate jargon and acronyms
My pet peeve is real estate bios or email signatures with rows of hard-won acronyms strung after the agent's name. NOBODY who you are trying to appeal to knows what those mean. Many real estate agents probably don't know what they all mean.
Within your bio, include a paragraph that talks about your certifications and/or designations. Choose one or two and describe how they help you do your job more effectively or how they help you serve clients better. Remember your audience and talk to them directly and in a straightforward way.
More isn't always better
Some of the most distinguished real estate agents and brokers I have written about for Inman have super-short bios -- often just a paragraph or two. They've done so much and made such a reputation for themselves that they don't need to rattle on and prove themselves to anyone.
If you have a few compelling facts to share, share them and get out. If you have little or no experience, going on and on with generic phrases and assertions will not make you sound like an expert. If you find yourself trying to come up with something to say, you may have already said enough.
Of course, the biggest secret to real estate bios is that they're not really about you. They're really about the person reading the bio -- your potential client. What will you do for them? How will you help them? What are you like? Will they like working with you? These are the questions they are trying to ask by reading your bio. Answer them.