My 13 year old daughter would hate me for telling you this, but she has a beautiful singing voice. She often performs mini concerts at home to immediate family and to close friends. Her voice is rich, warm and soulful.
So why is that when she's asked to sing in front of a “strange” audience, her palms get sweaty, her timing suffers and her voice sounds weaker than usual. No doubt it's mostly down to nerves, but there's also a deep-rooted, primitive desire not to make fools out of ourselves or attract negative comments.
The irony is of course that when we start worrying about these external factors, we become self-conscious and the physical effects of nervous tension can impact neagtively on our performance.
Extending this analogy a little, imagine you're at a party and happen to be talking to a Director of a successful company that withstood the recession. Now, pretend the wine is going down well and you're both over the initial hesitancy which comes when meeting someone new at an informal gathering. You've gone over some mundane topics, but your interest switches to the company your new friend is Director of and you ask him or her to tell you about the company and how it continued to grow despite the economic turmoil. Depending of course on how engaged you both are with the conversation and the conviviality of the evening, you may well get an insightful, animated response with a few inspiring and possibly humorous anecdotes. Now, imagine that same Director at a Marketing meeting and being asked to write some content for the company website “About Us” page and maybe an article or two for the new company blog. In most cases, what the Director comes up with will probably be informal, full of corporate babble and completely unengaging.
Why do companies find it so difficult to produce web content people want to read?
Invariably, when you ask someone within a company to write content for a website, they feel the pressure of producing something which won't harm the brand or offend in anyway. This means they end up producing something inoffensive and uncontroversial which they think appeals to everyone – current clients, future clients, staff, potential investors etc. A bit like the corporate version of beige tiles.
The problem is, when you start thinking your audiences as anonymous entities you end up producing content which lacks in personality and ends up appealing to no-one (apart from maybe the Executive Board). I've said it so often now it's getting boring, but it's truer than ever – people do business with people, not some anonymous corporate entity.
In today's competitive marketplaces, the most sucessful companies are those who recognise that they must display the human side to their business to reflect their ethos, values and personalities. This creates an immediate bond with the reader who “gets” what the company is about and may be an important tool in turning the visitor into a customer.
So what should you do next?
Take a long, hard look at your company website's “About Us” page. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has just come across your site and wants to get a feel for how you do business. Would they get a true reflection of your company values by reading the page? Will they get excited by what they read and understand how you're different from others in your industry? Be honest and self-critical otherwise the exercise is pointless.
Below are some examples of great about us pages which might inspire you:
External link to a brilliant article explaining some of these points in more detail and includes some practical suggestions for creating a customer-orientated about us page: How to create an effective about us page
SEO obsessed, rugby-loving Welshman living in Ireland since 2002. Freelance SEO and Wordpress web design consultant based in Killaloe, Co Clare.
In online marketing, there are many essential things are taken for granted same as the “About Us” page thus, this article shows how important the page is.
It’s true. It’s hard to find really nice about us page. The worst thing that all look the same!
Derek C says
Helping post about online marketing by optimizing the about Page. After reading your post, i realize that it is important but most people ignore including me.
Patric Thomas says
Thanks William for a great article, I’m in the process of writing up my own about us page and came across this article and will take inspiration from it and completely redesign it, it guess the new way forward is to show more of yourself rather than less. People want to communicate with individuals above businesses and less of the corporate stuff that we got in the eighties and nineties.
Keep up the good work, from a fellow UL graduate.
Kennedy Joseph says
Very important topic and i agree its very difficult to get to create a attractive about page. As i web developer i have been trying to create attractive pages for my site but at the end i created a simple page with real information without any extra …… And i got trust of clients that its real and people like to buy.
Attractive graphics mean a little but your contents matters a lot. If you are real i recommend you to add you pictures and write your message for your clients. I guarantee you are going to rock the world.
Great stuff William
Just to add to the comments above a good about us page gives an insight into motivations of the author and give another chance to push the branding.
To tell the searcher what’s different about you, and why choice you above similar companies..