In this installment of my series on author branding, we’re going to explore how your blog sidebar is an opportunity to strengthen your brand through the use of a carefully presented author bio.
Your sidebar author bio will consist of two important parts:
- An image or photo
- A brief written bio
Today, we’ll explore how to choose the right pic for your bio, how to decide on the written content, and how to maximize the use of your bio through strategic calls to action (CTA).
Choosing Your Author Bio Photo
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. While this may not be true in the case of authors, it’s still vital to choose a photo that shows you in a good light. The pic will be seen on your website, blog posts, and author central page, so it’s important that it represents a version of you that the world should see.
An effective bio photo fulfills two criteria:
We’ll now explore each of these elements to learn how to choose the perfect picture.
Make It Memorable
One of the most important requirements for your picture is that it must be memorable. Internet users are bombarded with images. Therefore, if you want to make a mark in the mind of a browser, you need to ensure that your image is high-impact and memorable.
Some of the ways you can make your author bio image memorable include:
- Using humor to catch the attention of a browser
- Choosing striking colors or visuals to arrest the eye
- Creating a visual arrangement of your picture to draw attention
In the below image, I make use of all of the above elements to get the attention of a website browser. This image appears in the sidebar of all Kindlepreneur blog posts, such as my recent review article on ProWritingAid.
You’ll notice that the above image is humorous, makes use of bold contrasting colors, and has a shape which captures attention, with both the image and the text overlapping the borders of the graphic.
The above colors are also in line with the brand I have created for Kindlepreneur. One aspect of visual branding you need to keep in mind is the need to have a coherent set of colors. You should stick to a few carefully chosen colors in order to keep things simple and easy on the eye.
Make It Representative
The other key to choosing an effective author bio picture is to ensure it represents who you are as an author and your brand.
This means that the pic needs to fit with reader expectations and match the tone of your work. Ensure that:
- Your picture is a color and style in line with what you write
- The image is high resolution and quality
- You have tested the image for mobile responsiveness
Logos vs Photos
You may be tempted to use your author logo as your bio picture. Instead, combine the logo with a photo of yourself. This is more personal and creates a stronger sense of brand and connection with your readers.
What To Say In Your Author Bio
Short and Sweet
The first key to your sidebar bio is to keep it short and to the point. Think of it as an elevator pitch for yourself. Every word counts and you should avoid rambling.
Make sure you:
What Message To Convey?
Now that we’ve explored the tone of your bio, let’s consider what it should contain. Skip the dry summary of your life and instead:
- Inject your personality
- Be humorous
- Surprise and entertain
Calls To Action
To make the most of your author biography, consider adding a call to action. This can take the form of:
If you are trying to build your author mailing list, consider an opt-in signup at the bottom of your bio. This is a great place for it because, if you wrote your author bio like we discussed, they feel very connected to you and will be more likely to want communication with you in the future.
Social Media CTAs
If you want to grow the traffic for your blog, consider a social media call to action. This can take the form of a click to tweet or just a request to share.
Sidebar Author Bio Summary
You now know that your sidebar bio is a chance to brand yourself as an author. This is done by:
- Choosing a memorable and representative photo
- Writing a short and impactful bio
- Making the most of call to action opportunities
If you have an author sidebar photo or bio text, I’d love to see them in the comments!
[Stay tuned for more on Author Branding and catch up on all my posts HERE.]
If you aren’t already a member of BookWorks, please check us out for more great content like this and join our community of indie authors, editors, coaches, designers, marketers, bloggers, and other self-publishing pros.