11 Jun How to write a basic About Us page
When you’re writing website content, the About Us page is one of the trickiest pieces. And it’s an important one to get right. It sums up why your site exists and frames the whole reason your value prop has probity. That is, the About Us is not what your business does, not what you sell … but why your business site exists and why the reader should care.
That can seem a daunting thing to write. Often, it’s a recipe for confusion about contexts, subtexts and – crucially – what’s actually relevant anyway.
This article gives you a simple how-to guide that makes it all easier. The template and explanation you’re about to get is the very same approach we use for our clients.
So, read on to find out how we do it. But first, let’s get a bit controversial…
What are About Us pages even for?
Well, first, they’re not really a platform to talk about your business. Really.
If your whole website is there for your ideal target audience’s use, then the job of your About Us page is to establish reasons, reassurance and relevance for them.
Think now about how you move through a website when you’re checking out a new supplier. You don’t arrive by the About Us page, but you’ll visit it when you think “So, can this lot really deliver on all the product and services promises they’re making on the other pages?”
It reassures you, the visitor, that this is the kind of business for your needs. If it achieves that, then you go back to the product/service page or to Contact Us.
As a stage in the buyer journey, the About Us page is a scenic detour where the head, heart and history of your business comes to the fore and the value prop, for once, takes a breather. And because the About Us page steers the visitor back to conversion-orientated pages, that breather need only be brief.
Does my site even need an About Us page?
Honestly, sometimes no. But usually yes.
It’s all about how much trust you’re asking your target audience to invest in your business. For some ecommerce suppliers, all the customers need to see is that you offer secure transactions and reliable shipping. The personality of this kind of business might not matter at all.
For businesses that revolve around the people involved (such as sole trader consultants and, say, an MC for hire) the About Us page can be so critically important that it’s the central star in a galaxy of personality-based marketing campaigns.
Your business is probably somewhere between these extremes. This means if you’re small you might not need a whole dedicated About Us page right now. Maybe a little “Who Are We” paragraph on the homepage will be enough. But, as you scale you must sooner or later address the About Us messaging properly.
SASA does About Us pages differently
We don’t have a conventional take on About Us pages.
The SASA copywriting ethos is all about connecting what an audience wants to read with what the speaker needs to say. We call this the need-want gap.
How we bridge this gap are the topic of another series of articles. Right now, the key point is that it all hinges on whether your audience is paying attention. Why? Because only they can cross the gap on the bridge your copywriting builds.
For any audience this relies on putting them at the centre of messaging relevant to their self-interest. So, while the About Us page would seem to be a place where you finally get to talk all about yourself. Nope. The purpose of this page is for a visitor to find out why you are relevant and right their problems. Thus, the “About” actually refers to being “about” the reader.
- Mediocre About Us messaging: “At Acme Corporation we’ve been the business of selling A, B and C for over 25 years. We have worked hard and we are proud of our market-leading position.”
- Better About Us messaging: “You’re looking for A. You’re curious about B. You’re wondering if C applies to you. Really, what you need is someone with decades of experience in, first, understanding what you’re looking for and, second, showing you what your true options are.”
Notice how the second example addresses the reader, while the first example is just a list of facts. That’s important too: your About Us page – like the rest of your site – should be written in second person.
How does your About Us page establish relevance?
As you might have read before, when SASA is planning how to tackle a new copywriting job we use the CANEDIT technique. This identifies seven categories of incoming buyer intention and tailors your message to the relevant one or two .
(Note: CANEDIT does not apply for repeat customers. However, as the About Us page is there to establish reassurance and relevance, a repeat customer is unlikely to visit it: they’ve already made up their mind about you.)
So, using CANEDIT, you can get a handle on what your reader wants to see. When your messaging gives it to them, you have established relevance. The seven types of shoppers in CANEDIT are:
- Comparison – want the nitty-gritty
- Advisory – want edutainment
- Newcomer – want trustworthy guidance
- Emergency – want an instant solution
- Dissatisfied – want their difficulties validated
- Infrequent – want to feel in charge again
- Transient – want an easy transaction as they pass through.
From these base motivations, you can better frame your messaging around how your value prop addresses their underlying problems.
Okay, I’ve done CANEDIT, now what…
Well, you should now have clarity on what you should write about.
When you know which of C, A, N, E, D, I and/or T are relevant, you can sieve out the relevant bits of all the information you have about your business. Much of it will be in your head and the rest will be in your marketing collateral, internal documentation, testimonials, pitch deck, ads, onboarding pack and training materials.
In your research, keep a sharp lookout for info that matches the three classical forms of rhetorical proof:
- logos (head) – logical reasons
- pathos (heart) – emotional appeals
- ethos (history) – authority/track record.
These chunks of info will slot into the template that’s available for download at the end of the article.
Should About Us pages try to convert visitors?
No. Leave that for other pages.
Think about it: your About Us is there for your customers to feel why and how you empathise with their problems. To engage in hard sell at the same time undermines the whole point. It’s offering someone a hug only as a pretext to feel how fat their wallet is.
How long should a homepage be?
Like all pieces of writing, your About Us page should be as short as possible while still achieving its aims. This is why we stick to this tried, tested and constantly revised recipe: How to write a simple About Us page.
This template introduces your business, establishes relevance, covers the three proofs and then ushers the reader onwards to the next webpage you want them to see.
SASA’s approach to About Us pages wrapped up
This article has looked at the why and wherefore of writing a more effective kind of About Us page. It’s a place to position your business while apparently talking only about your customer.
As mentioned in the intro, writing that manages this kind of balancing act is precisely what SASA is here to do. And we like showing you how to do it just as much as we like doing it!
So, if you’re ready to start writing, then click here for our simple About Us writing template.
Don’t worry, it’s just a link to a Google Doc that sets out the overall format and gives pointers in what you should talk about at each step. It really does work. ¤