A bio, like it or not, is a vital part of an artist’s marketing efforts. It is usually required for any type of press kit you put together (electronic or not), and it’s going to be seen and used by event promoters, magazine editors, venue owners, and industry reps alike.
A good bio can go a long way in getting you gigs and press clippings. The benefits are further reaching than you may even realize.
The tricky part is satisfying the needs of both industry people and your fans. If you can tell a compelling story with your bio, you’ll win over everyone who reads your bio. That’s why it shouldn’t merely be a list of your credentials. But I’ll talk more about that a little later.
What does an ideal bio look like? Read on…
Components of a Cut and Paste BioFrankly there is no better bio than a cut-and-paste bio. If someone can take exactly what you wrote and paste it directly into their article, website, blog post or otherwise, you’ve done your job.
Why? Because you want to create more opportunities for yourself. You want others to do your marketing for you. If you provide them with the right tools, you’ll be surprised to find how cooperative others can be.
But I have seen very few bios that don’t require some tweaking, editing, and in some cases, “creative restructuring”. I’m a writer by profession, so I’m an expert at spotting errors and polishing copy.
Plus, I’ve booked musicians for various events, and I’ve seen many bios that don’t instill much confidence in the event organizer (i.e. me).
So, let’s get your bio in ship shape.
A cut-and-paste bio requires the following components:
ProofreadingYou’re the one who looks stupid when your bio is poorly written. If you’re not confident with your writing skills, you need to hire someone who is.
Some people aren’t detail-oriented. If that describes you, but you’re creative enough to write the bio in the first place, then get someone who is more attentive to proofread your document. A second set of eyes is especially valuable when you’re looking to engage readers.
FlowYour bio should have a logical flow to it.
It should tell a story. People find it easy to relate to stories, and it’s far more interesting than just reading facts (you can find facts in the Yellow Pages – that doesn’t make it a compelling read!).
Additionally, your bio must be readable and legible. A bio doesn’t flow well when people have to stop and look up every word you’ve used (i.e. you’re not writing a term paper). If in doubt, keep sentences short and edit until you’re using the least number of words possible to get your message across.
The language you use doesn’t need to be overly simplistic but simple is generally better.
We all know a well-thought-out piece of writing when we see it. Imitate that! Two to three paragraphs are generally enough to convey what you are about and what you do.
Your Name, Where You Hail From and the Scene and Location in Which You Currently Reside and Work inThese things may seem incidental, but remember in most cases nobody knows who you are or where you’re from when they first start reading your bio. Consider the natural flow of conversation, “what’s your name?”, “where are you from?” are questions that are likely to come up when you meet someone.
Why is this important? If event organizers or venue owners are interested in booking you, they’re going to want to get a sense of where you reside and tour through. If you don’t tour, and they want to book you, they’re going to be disappointed to find out Chicago, IL is your home base, and they’re in New York, NY.
An Engaging StoryAs I’ve been driving home throughout this post, your bio cannot simply be a list of credentials. Your accomplishments do not represent who you are or what your music sounds like. They do not reflect the experience you’ve had or how that’s shaped your musical preferences and sound. Your accomplishments have nothing to do with your brand.
When I’m reading about you, I want to learn something noteworthy about you. I don’t care a whole lot that a certain radio station played your music, or you were invited to play at a folk festival. These things can build credibility, but there’s nothing saying you couldn’t append a list to your bio mentioning all your major accomplishments.
Basically, save your accomplishments for another part of your site, one sheet or press kit. They are only relevant if they contribute to your overall story.
You need to be talking about those crazy road trips you’ve been on, volunteering at the homeless shelter, traveling the world, or how going to a foreign country was an eye opening experience. Things like that will speak to your audience.
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