Quick, tell me your story, make it fun and engaging and relevant…GO! Did you freeze? We get it. Creating a badass bio is NO joke. The Bosses have written loads of bios and they know what works and what doesn’t. Does your bio need a boost? We’re gonna talk about how to do it AND this episode has info about a free product that will help make your bio even better, so listen until the end.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Bios are a way for you to tell your story.
Customers want to know who you are and what you’re all about.
This is not your resume – they are different.
Know what aspects of a bio are important to a buyer.
Many things about your life are of zero value to the buyer.
Details about your life that do not pertain to your brand should be left out.
Provide experiences and info that backs up your experience and how it helps your client.
Try not to sound desperate or as though you are applying for traditional employment.
Customize your bio for different clients.
Your training may not be valid or impressive to your client.
Your bio helps your SEO.
Download your FREE guide to writing a BadAss Bio HERE!
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
A bio is similar to an Elevator Pitch
How to write a short professional bio
Recorded on ipDTL
Anne: Hey, guys. Welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my amazing bosstie, bestie, partner in crime, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.
Gabby: Such a great intro. I love when you do that.
Anne: Now Gabby, my bosstie-bestie, has been in the industry for how long, 20 years? At least?
Gabby: Too long, yeah.
Anne: In case you don’t know my good friend Gabby, yeah. And she has lots of experience doing…
Gabby: Oh God, TV promo and radio imaging, and commercial work and, and then we get into the coaching and the public speaking, and oh my –
Anne: There you go, all that good stuff.
Gabby: – so many things.
Anne: All the good stuff. Well, it’s good to know these things. It’s important for all of us to really have an amazing bio so that we can sell our services to our potential clients.
Gabby: Yeah, we have to tell our story. We have to engage people in a way that they want to buy, and today’s buyer absolutely want to connect with who you are and where you’ve come from and what you’ve overcome and what you are about.
Anne: Well, especially if I’m not familiar with a product, I’m going to do some research on that product before I buy it. Lots of things, right, that seems pretty simple. You’re no different, right? We are no different in the voiceover industry. When people are going to buy a product from us, that would be our voice services, they need to know what they’re buying into. As Gabby mentioned before, we need – they need to have some sort of reference point to find out what you’re all about, where you come from, what sort of experience you have. Gabby, we should really go in depth on what is required to write a badass bio.
Gabby: Please understand this is not your resume.
Gabby: This is a different thing. This is your story. Your resume is just, you know, what you’ve done, who you’ve worked for.
Anne: Exactly. All the time, when I’m checking out a company, I’m always looking for the about page. Right?
Gabby: Oh God, yeah.
Anne: What’s their story? How long have they been in business? Who’s apart of the company? Also I’m looking to get in touch with somebody, because sometimes I like to pick up the phone and speak.
Gabby: I went down a bunny hole last night on the Internet. This was great. So I found this really kind of killer – this shoe company called Tieks, and they make basically ballet flats. And I was looking at all of these different styles. OK, so I come to the price point and I’m like, “oh my God, are they made of gold?”
Gabby: The single most expensive pair of ballet flats. I was like, what the hell?
Anne: And you’ve got to justify that price.
Gabby: Exactly. And so, as soon as I saw that, I went to their about page, because I was like, “who the hell are you, and why are these worth $300?”
Gabby: Like I needed to know that. I needed to understand what they were doing that was different.
Anne: And that’s a great analogy, guys. And if you think that your potential buyers aren’t out there wanting to know more about you, if they are considering using your voice, I think you’re wrong. You need to have a strong bio so that people – remember that marketing 101, how many times, every episode, if we were to play every time Anne said “people buy from people they know, like and trust.”
Gabby: I may have to edit that one night –
Anne: Right, that would be like a –
Gabby: Just you saying over and over.
Anne: [laughs] We could make a really fun rap out of it, I’m sure.
Anne: And so this is the way that your potential buyer gets to know who you are, and also – you mentioned, Gabby, it’s a way to justify, “good God, why am I paying that?”
Anne: And we are all human, we all do that, we all go to websites, we check out the product. Of course we check out what the cost is. On our sites specifically, right, we don’t have our price list all the time. I don’t think many people put their rate sheets.
Gabby: I certainly don’t and I definitely argue against the practice of doing it even though I see a lot of voice actors who do, but not just price point. You know, look, you’re always making that comparison with your brand and Tiffany’s. Tiffany’s doesn’t justify their price. Tiffany’s tells you their story.
Gabby: Where they started, how, and what do they do? They show you. They show you –
Anne: The value.
Gabby: – the value, the wealth, the status –
Gabby: – that comes with their brand.
Anne: Yeah. They don’t have to justify it.
Anne: So Gabby, what goes into creating a badass bio?
Gabby: And God, so many things.
Gabby: So many things. Can I start with the things not to do?
Anne: Yes, absolutely.
Gabby: Ok, So anything that’s on your resume, on your traditional resume is not part of this. Where you went to school and what you majored in and –
Gabby: Like so many of those things are just –
Anne: I agree.
Gabby: – not relevant to this.
Anne: Well, it’s not pertinent, not pertinent to your product, right?
Gabby: No, unless it somehow really connects with your brand. Like for instance, Mayim Bialik, who’s you know, an actress, she’s on “the Big Bang Theory”, she has a neuroscience degree, which obviously is pretty unique for an actress.
Anne: But it goes with her brand.
Gabby: She – aha, exactly.
Gabby: She plays this really intelligent, really nerdy character on TV, and she plays that person in real life. So she makes it a point to make sure everyone knows that she’s a Harvard grad, and this is her degree.
Gabby: But it’s part of the brand. It’s part of what’s important. Yeah, if you’re a voice actor and you, you know, have a liberal arts degree like whomp-whomp, who cares?
Anne: I have a page that I sell to the medical community. I do medical narration. And so on my medical website, I have my experience, so that does kind of act as a little bit of a job resume because I need to provide the experience that I had because it helps me to voice medical narrations better.
Gabby: Of course.
Anne: I have understanding. I come from a place in the industry that helps me to voice things better for my potential clients. Not about, oh, this is what I did, and this is how wonderful I am. It’s about, no, this is the experience that I have and how I’m going to bring that to the table in order to help you sell your product better.
Gabby: Literally I come bearing knowledge.
Gabby: Same way I will talk about my radio background and radio career when I’m pitching to radio imaging clientele, whereas the rest of my voice buyers, I don’t really talk about that.
Anne: There’s also another thing that I see that’s pretty common in some bios that I read online. Number one, if – you’re right, it’s like a job resume, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing to have, but also those people that sound a little bit desperate. [laughs]
Gabby: Mmm, oh one of my favorite topics.
Anne: And it’s not even that they, that I see the bio on the website, but it’s in an email introduction, it’s in anything. Right? It’s in a cold email or whatever.
Gabby: Oh I see it everywhere, including in the bio.
Anne: Exactly, in the bio. And so that, that hint of desperation, I’ll tell you [laughs] this’ll go back to my dating. Whenever –
Anne: – back in the day, back in – long time ago, back in the day, whenever anyone seemed too needy or desperate, I was like running the other way. [laughs] I don’t know if that applies to you, Gabby, but yeah, I think that is a human nature kind of thing.
Gabby: Look, I think so many of my guy friends, you know, like to call themselves players, and they fall into that category of like swinging singles, and you know, my husband’s a reformed one, and they all talk about it. They are like it’s confidence, it’s swagger. You know, if you, you’re not going to impress the person that you’re interested in –
Anne: By – yeah. [laughs]
Gabby: Yeah, by being needy, or desperate, or needy, or whatever.
Anne: God, no.
Gabby: So it’s sort of the same thing here. The overuse of phrases and oh my God, like if I hear one more voice actors say, you know, “I’m a professional voice actor,” what the [beep] is that? Why? [laughs]
Anne: “Please send me auditions so I can [laughs]
Gabby: Oh my God.
Anne: – show you…” whatever that is.
Gabby: Ahh! No other profession does this, none, none. No one professes their professionalism.
Anne: Approach it with the confidence and manifest it. [laughs] Manifest it so.
Anne: But not to the point where you’re turning people off because you are obnoxious. It’s confidence.
Gabby: We’re not talking about cocky. It’s confidence. And it’s really important to think about what have people heard over and over and over again? Let’s, let’s think new, let’s think different. Let’s approach it from a fresh perspective.
Anne: I think also you need to be very tailored to the audience that you’re trying to attract. Right?
Gabby: Oh yeah, sure.
Anne: As I mentioned before, if I’m trying to sell to the medical community, then I need to speak their language in my bio, to showcase how my experience can help them.
Gabby: Yeah, I think bios change a lot. Like I think most people nowadays are accustomed to the fact that, when you’re applying for a job, traditional employment, your objective on your resume should be custom tailored to every single job you’re applying for.
Gabby: Well in our case, it’s the bio, it’s the story. It gets customized and tweaked. Like look, you and I don’t use the same bio for our voiceover clients as we do our coaching clients.
Anne: Right, and also –
Gabby: Totally different.
Anne: – I have a different bio for every – I go so far as to have different websites, for different genres of the industry. Not saying that you guys have to do that like immediately out of the gate.
Anne: But as your brand evolves and develops, it certainly behooves you to be more targeted. That targeting happens in your bio as well. So target your audience, speak to your audience. I also have an e-learning page and so therefore my experience in education, for 20 plus years –
Anne: – helps me in defining who I am and how I can speak to my potential client and help bring their product and elevate their product to help it.
Gabby: It’s huge. People want to feel like you’re talking to them. They want to – they want that connection. They don’t want to think that it’s just this generic thing that’s going out to everybody. That’s – right there that’s the sign of a poor bio in my mind.
Anne: Going along that whole premise of “I don’t need to know everything about your life,” like your lifelong resume, that includes training. I see a lot of people who include training in their bios. Is that necessary to establish your credibility? Experience doesn’t necessarily have to relate back to who you’ve trained with. I don’t think that Boeing or Lockheed Martin cares that I trained with so-and-so –
Anne: – when they want to hire me for their voiceover project.
Gabby: You have to ask yourself, what is credible in their eyes? The average voiceover client does not know voiceover coaches and will not be impressed by the voiceover coaches that you’ve trained with, so your – it’s valuable real estate that you could be using for another reason.
Anne: Mm-hmm. Agreed.
Gabby: It’s not that it’s bad per se, it’s just that again, none of it’s going to stand out to them. Unless they see a name they recognize, doesn’t mean anything.
Anne: Speaking of real estate, I’ve got a question, Gabby. How long do you think the bio should be?
Gabby: I’m big on having a bio be kind of spaced out –
Gabby: – in different components, different places. I want the story to not be overwhelming, so it’s little pieces here or there. When I write it, I’ll write the whole thing as one block. It might be four paragraphs. But then on my website, it’s going to be broken apart.
Gabby: So that it’s a little bit of the story here, a little bit here, a little bit here. I think that’s important because people don’t have big attention spans right now.
Anne: I like that. I, Gabby, I like that for that reason, but the primary reason why I do that as well is I’ve got the more SEO-minded like tech, how is this going to show up in a search engine? A lot of people will barely put a bio on their webpage. They think ok, demos, contact, projects. And then their bio is like maybe three sentences. I’m like, “that’s not really your story,” right? Your story, hopefully you have a story that’s a little bit longer than three sentences that can help, you know, you to sell your services. I have, my bio is not short by any means. Like go to my page. You can see it. But it is spread out. And one of the reasons why it’s spread out is because there’s the opportunity for those keywords that really explain who I am and how I can service people to be put into the search engine. Remember Google searches words, indexes words. And so therefore those people that think, “oh, I want my website to look less cluttered and clean,” well, come on, let’s be real [laughs] right? You need to get, you need to tell people who you are and what you offer, and that’s like the biggest thing. When I go to a website, if I don’t understand it – hopefully I got to the website because I was searching for something, and then I found a link and I clicked on it. But if I just happened upon a website or a profile in a pay-to-play, I want to be able to find out the information that I need to know. And three sentences just probably – it’s not going to cut it for me as a buyer in terms of establishing credibility, looking for the things that I might need from you in order to say, yes, you know, outside of an audition, outside of that, in terms of experience, years you’ve been in the business, all that good stuff.
Gabby: Of course. You and I both remember the days of flash websites and flash components for websites. And oh my God, flash was so freaking cool. It was heavily, intensely graphic, and it was moving components, and it looked amazing, but it did nothing for SEO.
Anne: Oh yeah, for SEO, oh exactly.
Gabby: Nothing. And the minute people realized how useless it was, the trend was gone.
Gabby: But you’d go to a flash website that would have like one line of text on it and the rest was all pictures. It was crazy.
Anne: Remember why people come to your website in the first place, right? Why do you go to any website in the first place? Why? You either want to read something to be entertained or listen to something to be entertained, or you’re going to buy something.
Gabby: Yeah, you’re researching.
Anne: Right, you’re researching. So why not provide that information? Plus if you don’t give enough information to research, it you’re not going to be found. Right?
Anne: Unless you’re giving somebody specifically, here’s my URL. That’s a crazy way to try to get work.
Gabby: It’s labor-intensive for sure.
Anne: Exactly. I think also it’s important to, as we said before, to speak the language of your potential buyer. You have to know who your audience is and speak to them appropriately. Most people in e-learning, a lot of times they slow down, like really a lot. I’m like, “are you speaking to an eight-year-old, or are you speaking to a 30-year-old that’s, you know, training for the job?” I think in determining your language, you can’t talk down to your audience.
Gabby: I think also with language choices, it has to do with the terminology of an industry, right?
Gabby: There’s a different lingo that used by different buying groups. And so part of proving that you again understand them and their business and what they do is making use of that language and incorporating it into your story so they find you to be credible.
Anne: Your credibility does not depend solely on your voice samples, your voice demos –
Anne: – that you have on your webpage.
Gabby: Not at all.
Anne: I would say outside of that, the most important and is an about page, is a bio.
Anne: Because number one, that’s how you’re going to get found, and number two, that’s how you’re going to build and establish credibility.
Gabby: Today’s voiceover buyer, there’s no doubt they go to our demos first. But what do they do? They listen, you know, five to thirty seconds, and they go “OK, you’re good. Now I need to see if I want to engage you further.”
Gabby: So if they like what they hear in the demo, then there’s a step two, and step two is “who the heck are you and why should I hire you?”
Anne: Well, good, let me just take that a step further. Gabby, they got to your website somehow.
Anne: How did that happen?
Anne: Aha, did that happen? Did you give them a URL, or did they happen to search and find it? Because those words in your bio are gonna be very, very relevant for how somebody found you in the first place.
Gabby: Very true.
Anne: So it’s kind of like which came first, the chicken or the egg, the bio or the – [laughs]
Gabby: And therein lies the difficulty when we see from a marketing point, right, so many voice actors use the same phrases and the same way to describe themselves. I mean, we’re at a point – I know I’ve said this before. Guy next door, girl next door, it means nothing anymore.
Anne: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Gabby: So overused. We have to think of new ways to define and to say that so that buyer can find us.
Anne: A lot of times people will just have their demo in a player, and it’ll say “commercial demo.”
Anne: How is, how is any of that – like, what if you had a spot that you did for, I don’t know, Invisalign? I know somebody who did that spot.
Anne: [laughs] Somebody awesome.
Gabby: Was it any good? Was it – Ok.
Anne: As a matter of fact, my husband heard that like last night or something, I think it was two nights ago. He’s like, “that sounds like Gabby.” I’m like, “I know, it is.” That’s my Gab.
Gabby: I get that all the time. People are like, “you’re in my living room.” I’m like “oh, I’m sorry.”
Anne: So if you have a commercial demo on your website, and it says commercial demo, like nowhere does it say that you were the voice of Invisalign. How are people gonna find that?
Anne: Establish credibility even if you have images of featured clients which a lot of people will do. That’s great, but you also have to have the text associated with it.
Gabby: Words, yeah.
Anne: It depends on your demo player, right? You could have a demo player like VoiceZam which breaks it up into pieces, but you could also have a single line player and somewhere along your bio or somewhere along that page, right, you’re establishing your credibility with experience and jobs that you’ve done. Whatever it is, those words again contribute to your searchability.
Gabby: If somebody watches TV and sees the Invisalign ads that I’m in or part of, and they go “huh, who is that?” What are they going to do? They’re going to go to Google and search in “who is the voice of…Invisalign?” Well, if my website doesn’t say those words, I’m a jackass.
Anne: Yeah, or you don’t have it in IMDb or in, right, iSpot. There is a place for you to put that in iSpot.
Gabby: Or YouTube.
Anne: Oh God, YouTube.
Anne: Through your bios on your video descriptions in YouTube too. Bios don’t just belong on your website. Bios are everywhere. You write one good bio, you can reuse that bio over and over and over again. It can be on your website. It can be on a pay-to-play profile. It can be on a social media profile. All of that can kind of just go with you. As a matter of fact, I have my bio so many places that I have a list of places where my bio is so that if I update my bio, I update it everywhere. [laughs]
Gabby: See, I wish I had done that. You are stupid smart for that.
Gabby: I missed the boat on that, and now –
Anne: Keep a list.
Gabby: I have to scramble.
Anne: It’s true.
Gabby: And I’m like, “oh God, oh, oh where do I, I have to submit this to like 30 people.”
Gabby: So smart. Oh my God.
Anne: Searching for agent, right, that introductory like agent email that you’re sending out, if you happen to talk about your featured recent clients, et cetera, et cetera, it can be reused over and over and over again. And if you take the time to check that list, update it, I check it. I at least revisit it and check it so that therefore digitally, I’m current everywhere.
Gabby: So smart. Love that.
Anne: Guys, write a good bio. You – and if you can’t write, higher somebody to help you.
Gabby: We’re right here. This is kind of sort of what we do. I don’t know if it’ll be out by the time this episode airs, but maybe. We’re working on a download –
Gabby: – that you will be able to access –
Anne: A guide.
Gabby: – to create a killer bio and what to do and what not to do, and something that you can share with your friends, and ultimately you know, if you need help in this department, yeah. It’s kind of, kind of something we do.
Anne: Yeah. We are here are for you.
Gabby: Let us know, reach out.
Anne: Exactly. So important, your bio. So, so important, and so many people have the hardest time writing it. But I tell you, it will reward you over and over again if you spend the time, due diligence, get the help you need, talk to us. We have, you know, we have a product if you want to consult with us, we can help you with that.
Gabby: I geek out over this, guys. Like I love it. I love, love creating and helping with bios for people. Because it’s fresh perspective, right?
Anne: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.
Gabby: I get to show you how other people see you, how I see you. And like, sometimes it’s super eye-opening. And it’s so much fun.
Anne: It’s like branding. It’s hard to do yourself sometimes. So I’d like to do a huge shout out to our amazing sponsor ipDTL. You too can sound like a BOSS, and connect with your audience and your potential client like a BOSS, and find out more at ipdtl.com.
Gabby: And for all things BOSS, please make sure to go to our website. Check it out, voboss.com, plus Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher.
Anne: Spotify. All that good stuff.
Gabby: Alexa. Googly-moogly. If you can’t find us, there’s something wrong with you. [laughs] I’m kidding. We love you. [laughs]
Anne: All right, guys. Go write to those badass bios, and we’ll see you next week.
Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.