Visitors are nosey — As soon as they hit your site ... Guess what? They zero in on your “About us” information or “About me” page.
People want to know; Where did the big idea came from? Who is the genius behind it? Which other nosey-parkers loved what you do?
If your About Us/Me page were a movie, it would be a blockbuster to your customers, a sweep-em-off-their feet rom-com to your future employees and a horror story for your competitors.
Let's face it.
We love a good movie.
Great movies introduce us to new worlds.
They inspire and entertain us.
Surprise and shock us.
Make us laugh out loud or reach for the tissues.
They change the way we think and behave.
And they bring us together.
But contrary to what you might think, no matter which kind of genre you love — action, horror, crime or romance — the screenwriters who dreamt up all that magical drama followed a precise and well-worn formula.
A storytelling formula that you can use to write the kind of blockbuster About Us/Me that keeps your customers on the edge of their seats.
And that’s what I’m going to reveal to you now.
Just one caveat or spoiler alert if you will:
You’ll never watch a movie in the same way again.
Hollywood’s Golden Storytelling Formula.
First, introduce the hero — you — in the right way ..
How do you introduce yourself to your target audience in a way that hooks people in?
In the movies, screenwriters accomplish this in what is called the setup, which takes place in the first 10 minutes of the film.
In essence, this is where they show the hero living their everyday, typically humdrum and unfulfilled lives.
In other words, they show us what the hero is like and what they are doing before the big action-packed adventure begins.
And this is done for a reason.
Sure, we — the audience — need to know who our hero was before all hell broke loose, but more importantly we need to see how that new adventure changes the moral character of the hero.
We will come back to the crucial concept of the character arc later, but this means that the opening of your About Us/Me brand story should open with a depiction of what you — the hero of your own story — was up to before you started doing what you’re doing now.
So think back.
- What job were you doing before this one?
- What was your personal and professional life like?
- Were you stuck in a rut like Luke Skywalker?
If so, setup your story the same way.
Next, present the big opportunity in a BIG way.
Once you’ve nailed your backstory, it’s time to reveal what unexpected event or idea propelled you on this new path.
We covered a lot of this in the previous posts, but don’t underplay the importance of letting the audience know what happened and how pivotal it was to you and your brand.
Outline your cunning plan ..
Okay, so you’re old life sucked.
You had a revelation.
That’s right, you started to make plans for world domination.
And in the movies, that is exactly what the hero does too.
They begin to figure out how to make the most of their new opportunity and they come up with a cunning plan to do so.
But they are not alone ..
Make your bad guy really, really, really bad.
A great nemesis — think Darth Vader, The Joker, Hannibal Lecter or the Wicked Witch of the West— are only great because the storyteller spent as much time making them scarily real as they did making the hero someone we could really root for.
So when you start to talk about your new adventure, bring your opponents to life.
Let us know what you went up against.
Remember, drama comes from conflict.
And to make the drama of your brand vivid — and make your journey appear much more heroic — we need to understand the very real challenges you faced.
Tell us what victory smells like ..
By showing us what you were up against, your audience can now fully understand what victory will look like.
Now, in movies, the finish line might be simply stopping the bomb going off, solving a dastardly crime or winning the hand of a love interest.
And in the real world, your finish line might be slightly more mundane.
But whether your goal is to create the perfect pizza, solving a big nagging problem in somebody else's life, or something more grand like helping to stop global warming, let your audience know what you and your brand consider success to be and what your plan was to achieve that success.
Ramp up the drama ..
Few brands come right out the gates and make it to the top without having some serious setbacks along the way.
So if you’ve had some real problems and hurdles to overcome, tell us what they were and how they almost — almost — put you out of business.
Apple is a good example.
Few brands have had such highs and lows, and as such few brands offer such a Hollywood worthy story.
So if your brand had a dramatic history, don’t gloss over it.
Show us your low point and your new plan.
In almost every successful movie, two-thirds of the way through the hero’s original plan fails and they have to look inside themselves or learn from wiser heads in order to finally overcome their nemesis.
If your brand had an equally low point, let us know how low you got, who helped you up off the canvas, and detail the new plan you came up with.
Tell (and sell) two stories for the price of one.
Armed with your new plan, it’s now time to reveal how you finally overcame your adversaries and established your business.
But as you relay the customers you acquired and the dramatic milestones you reached, remember that you are ultimately telling — and selling — two stories for the price of one.
You see, a great story operates on two levels:
- The moral level — a story that shows the (typically) positive moral development of the main hero (you).
- And the outer level — a story that also shows how that hero (you) overcame the challenge of your main protagonist and stopped the ticking time bomb going off.
So tell us how your journey shaped you as a human being and your brand.
Here's mine (note the ending segment).
It will make your brand story twice as memorable.
Finally, don’t be afraid of breaking new ground.
Some movies do things so breathtakingly new that they change cinema — and cinema audiences — forever.
Think of the first time you saw ..
Jaws or Shrek.
What makes these movies so powerful is that even though they use the same old storytelling structure they also introduce us to new sound and imagery and special effects that we’ve never seen before.
So when you’ve finally written your epic About Us/Me page, go back over the content and think:
- What kind of story is this?
- Can I make it even more amusing or entertaining or dramatic?
- Which fonts will suit the mood and style of this story?
- Which images or graphics or video content will bring it to life?
As we’ve said before, your brand story is your story.
And very often, the competition between you and your big bad competitor will be won or lost by who has the most engaging brand story.
So make your About Us/Me page the only show in town.
As an example, check out my About Me page:
Here, the text uses many of the advanced storytelling tricks I’ve outlined above, but I’ve also spent considerable time and effort on the look and feel, the typography and graphics.
Does my ‘Website Story’ hook you in? Is it distinctive and memorable?
Either way, I hope it inspires you to be creative.
But before you ride off into the sunset, one final point:
Don’t forget the ‘never ending happy ending.’
At the end of your About Us/Me page, ensure that your audience know what’s coming next.
What the sequel will look like.
More importantly, tell your audience how they can get involved. How their stories can become part of the grand narrative.
You’ll find selling and marketing easier.
In other words, don’t settle for one off success. Plan for a hugely successful franchise.