For a franchise, your “about me” page is extremely important.
This is your chance to share the story of your creation, how you rose from the ashes, how you went from one or two stores to fifty-three, how you built your industry, against all odds, against all Recessions, against all economic downturns and ten-eyed monsters. This is your chance to get us hooked.
And here’s how you can do it.
6 Ways to Tell Better About Me Stories
1. Tell a Great Story, not a Chronology.
Usually, when we read “about me” pages, we read chronologies, not stories. Businesses say something like, “In 1967, we formed our branch with only 4 people. Then, in 1973, we expanded out of Seattle. Then, in 1974, we….”
A story reveals characters, describes settings and cities, tells us something significant, gets its hands dirty with emotions, leaves the reader on the edge. When we read a chronology we get facts; when we read a story, we get substance.
Avoid the language of chronology. To grip a reader, you must have a story.
2. Use Hinge Moments.
What are Hinge Moments?
In his book, In Search of Authority, Stephen Bonnycastle says:
“Hinge events are those in which there is a turn in the story: they mark a significant new stage in the narrative, and, taken together, they form a structure in which each of them is necessary.”
Think of hinges in terms of a playoff game. Clemson is at the 3rd yard line. It’s 1st and goal, 4th quarter, 3:45 on the clock, Clemson down by 5. The ball is snapped, the quarterback searches, the defense approaches. The QB throws. Ball intercepted.
The interception is, obviously, the hinge, as are all fumbles, interceptions, and missed field goals. Hinges keep us on the edge. They create excitement. Where the story goes next is our deepest concern.
Hinge Moments Keep Reader’s Attention
Since you have a reader’s attention for maybe half a minute, you must speak in hinges.
Your hinges can be anything from a realization (“my city lacks restaurants that serve vegetarian dishes”) to strange coincidences (“while looking for the grocery store, I found an empty warehouse. From there, the skating rink was born…”). It could be a life calling, an act of desperation, a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. No matter what the hinge, the point is the same: something meaningful happened. And it changed everything.
Keep in mind the attention span of the average internet peruser. Less than 10 seconds. You have less than 10 seconds to impress your newest visitor. So here’s the point: don’t scare your clients away with a boring, tedious lecture. Grip them with a good story.
No matter what, prevent us from looking back.
3. Cut the Fuzz.
This is perhaps the most important point to remember: cut the fuzz. Hinge moments cause movement and change, but fuzz does just the opposite.
Fuzz is the stuff between hinges, the details, the dates, the material leading to your hinges. The difference between fuzz and hinges is the difference between Die Hard and your friend’s summary of it. It’s just not as good.
Fuzz is chronology. It can weigh your story down or keep it riding.
Fuzz has its place. But here’s the thing: too many websites use fuzz and not hinges.
Be attentive to your fuzz. Excess fuzz weighs a story down. Careless fuzz softens a story’s impact. Tasteless fuzz spoils a story’s flavor. But good fuzz strengthens the hinges.
4. Show Your Differences.
Before writing your “about me,” contemplate the identity of your franchise. What makes you different, at the core, then similar franchises?
Find the reason that compels your franchise to work. Once you find that which makes you unique, harness it. Consider the narrative behind your identity: how did this unique identity come about? What were your sources of inspiration?
When you tell us your “about me” story, tell us your differences and similarities. That will make all the difference.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to be Specific.
Good writers know that vagueness is a story’s worst enemy. No story can be vague and expect a readers to connect with it.
But, for some reason, companies are often too afraid to be personal. Thinking themselves objective and professional, they lapse into vague chronologies and bad explanations.
Don’t be afraid to be specific. Your “about me” will pump with blood and read like magic.
6. Give us a Reason to Trust You.
While certainly, you can tell a story that informs, you want a story that pleases. And because you are a franchise, you want to convince me that I can trust your specific franchise. Let’s look at an example: “fluent in 3 months.”
Benny the Irish polyglot started this website to market his radical language learning program. He is not franchise marketing, but he is a genius at content marketing. His blog, his videos, his eBooks, everything points to the simplicity in his program: learn a language in 3 months, not by studying but by thinking in a different language.
I’m interested in Benny’s story. Benny claims to have used every language tool available. Nothing, however, helped poor Benny. What helped was much simpler: Benny went to Spain and spoke no English. He talked in Spanish. He listened in Spanish. He thought in Spanish. He dreamed in Spanish. He ate in Spanish. He did everything in Spanish. As we know, in three months Benny was fluent.
I am convinced by Benny’s argument. Why? Because he told me. In 11 different languages. Watch the polyglot video and you will see what I mean.
Benny’s polyglot video brings up some good points. Implicitly, Benny says “you can use other products, which may work. But here is how mine worked.” Benny argues against his competitors by using his product. Thus, Benny argues from experience.
The Point: Argue from Experience
Let this be a lesson for any franchise strategy: tell your “about me” from experience.
You can take this in many directions. Arguing from experience may mean your customer’s experience. In turn, this could imply using feedback, Google Plus, and other social media outlets to bolster your argument. From a different angle, this could be an argument for uniqueness. “We’ve never experience nothing like this.” And from a similar yet different perspective, you could be solving a problem. “In my experience, I had this problem with (blank). Thus, I created my product.”
Tell a Better “About Me” Story
In conclusion, use these six tips above to tell a better story. You goal is to increase your audience, your readership, your prospects. In turn, the wider your audience, the greater your story grows.
Now tell us: what is your story?