“To simplify complications is the first essential of success.”
— George Earle Buckle
Do you have a clear purpose for the contributor articles or guest blog posts you write? If yes, you can reflect this in your author box and be more successful with your outreach goals.
There are four main reasons people write guest blog posts or contribute to free article sites:
To spread the word about their business, service or organization.
To get backlinks to their website.
To share their writing.
To help others.
A well-crafted author box can accent your articles and help your readers get the right author snapshot.
When readers reach the end of an article, if you’ve done your job right they’ll be curious about you. They’ll also be enthusiastic to take some kind of action.
The desire to take action usually isn’t about leaving a comment. Receiving a comment about your article can be seen as icing on the cake. Fulfilling a need for your reader can be even better.
To help fulfill the deeper needs of your readers, your bio in the author box should be short, compelling, focused on the reader rather than yourself and provide a clear CTA (call to action).
The four pillars of an effective author box
The author box has four main purposes:
- To establish your authority in your field
- To provide contact/follow details
- To let the reader know you understand their problem
- To offer a solution and an easy way to check it out (CTA)
Establishing authority in 1-2 sentences
If your author bio over-establishes your credentials, this can dilute the real-life authority you’ve gained in your field.
Contrary to popular perception, credentials are less about you and more about your reader. Except in cases where the reading is being done purely for leisure, what your reader cares about most is whether you have solutions for his or her major issues.
A good author box bio can establish your authority in the eyes of the reader in 1-2 plain-spoken sentences. For instance:
Small business consultant Sarah Miller cares about your success. She helps small business owners sacrifice less and gain more of the benefits of working for themselves.
The padding of providing contact/follow details
Although it’s an advantage to the author to be able to display a website address and social media links, if there’s no clear purpose for the reader they probably won’t do much with your links.
A website address without a clear purpose is not compelling enough to make a reader click through. And social media links can be padding instead of the connection you’d both prefer.
If your reader does follow you on social media, it can be a form of procrastination. Getting social media updates from you is not the same as getting a solution.
Why your reader needs a Call to Action
It’s always very clear to ourselves what we’re providing. But a brand-new reader won’t see it unless you get specific.
If what you offer is lost in the details of your education and professional background, she may not make it to the end of your bio. Something else enticing may catch her eye in the sidebar of the website.
Unless you make an offer—and give your readers a fast way to assess it—they’ll most likely have a diffuse experience with your bio and contact links. This means you’ll lose your 30-second opportunity to have the utmost impact.
How to say more with less words
Let’s go back to Sarah Miller. Sarah’s goal for writing guest articles is to attract more readers to her website, gain more subscribers and, ultimately, win more business from new clients. Here’s her bio in the author box:
Small business consultant Sarah Miller cares about your success. She helps small business owners sacrifice less and gain more of the benefits of working for themselves. If you’re routinely working 60+ hours a week and missing too many family meals, click the link to get Sarah’s free download: How to Be Rewarded Instead of Drained by Every Hour You Invest in Your Business.
The free download offer is a “call to action” for readers to visit Sarah’s website. The download puts the reader onto Sarah’s email list. In her weekly mailings, she provides more helpful information (of the type she provided in her free article). This gives the new subscriber time to assess her offerings and gain a sense of trust.
Ideally, Sarah’s free download will also contain a call to action at the end, such as offering a free consultation or a discount for her service.
Why an effective author box helps the world
Despite all the agonizing on the Internet about life purpose, everyone contributing something worthwhile is helping the world.
However, in marketing (including article marketing), unless our target clients and customers understand the help we can provide, the opportunity to connect may be frittered away.
Writing an effective bio and offering a call to action can help you help more people, as well as attract more of your target customers to help your business thrive.