As an independent artist or creator, you need to be a jack of all trades, a master of your artistic expression AND pretty good at promoting yourself if you want to make it as a professional.
There are a number of aspects to promoting yourself but two stand out as essential:
- Sharing your artistic story and
- Building relationships with fans, followers and the media.
Contra to popular opinion, the humble biography is not dead.
In fact, it is a fundamental medium that enables you to get noticed and to convey your story as a creative. The challenge is making your bio ‘sing’. In other words, writing a bio that is interesting, compelling and unforgettable.
A well-presented, well-constructed bio can open doors for you in a number of places… on your social pages, in guest blogs and vlogs, Podcasts, interviews and in securing gig bookings and commissions, to name a few.
Your bio is a living document that can provide you with contacts beyond your wildest dreams. It’s not meant to simply be a compulsory, boring ‘timeline’ page on your website.
Self-promotion comes with the territory of being a creative professional.
Where to Start
Putting yourself ‘out there’ is a critical and essential part of being a creative professional. I encourage you therefore to have a go at writing your bio by putting yourself in the shoes of your fans and followers.
Fans and followers want to hear your story. They want to feel a part of your journey. They are curious to learn as much as they can about you and your creative expression.
Wherever you are in your career, your story is a powerful way to connect with your audience and potential clients.
A bio is not a resume. You don’t have to have heaps of awards or thousands of followers. You don’t even need to have a big back list of gigs, performances or events to ‘show off’. What you do need is a bio that is authentic, personal and inspirational.
Fans love to hear about why you do what you do. What inspires you. What are your struggles and how you manage stress and the inevitable struggles that every creative experiences from time to time.
Your bio gives you the opportunity to make an emotional connection with your fans and the media.
It might be helpful to ask friends and family members to write a few sentences about your strengths and what they love about your talent and creative gifts. You can then use this as a beginning point.
Another suggestion is to jot down bullet points about what you love about being a creative. What lights you up? Where and when are you most happy? Then, use this as a basis of your bio.
Now, what type of content will keep your readers engaged, enticing them to search for you on Spotify, find you on Instagram or write a blog post about you?
Tips for Writing a Stand-out Bio
- Begin with an opening statement that grabs the reader’s attention
- Make sure it’s engaging, succinct and not too long
- Include a short description of your creative expression
- Include relevant back-story, history and career information
- Mention support personnel on your team if applicable
- Include prominent events, exhibits, festivals etc where you have played or presented your work
- List of your awards and achievements in your career.
- Include a catalogue, set list or listing of your art, compositions, publications etc
- Include links to your website, social media accounts.
- Always mention your latest project, what’s happening now and /or pending.
- Ensure your bio is proof-read before you circulate it!
If writing a compelling bio is out of your skill set, don’t hesitate to call in a professional copyrighter.
Example – Chantel
Brisbane-based pop singer Chantel is best known for her collaborations with international producers in Nashville, (Kick Daddy) and New York (Danny Dude). Her powerful voice has enabled her to work with top-line artists including Dee Dee Dan and Mushcake.
With provocative lyrics and big choruses, her original music draws influence from artists like Sara Bareilles, Sia, and Lady Gaga. She has collaborated with many well-known producers and session musicians, landing deals with labels such as Moon Records, Universal Music Group and Sony Music.
Chantel’s work with Peter Garratt, front man for Midnight Oil, found her performing on the main stage of The Big Day Out Sydney Festival in 2019 in front of thousands. Soon after, her song titled, “Sad Eyes” hit over five million plays on YouTube. She currently has over 15 million views on YouTube and over 5 million Spotify fans.
Her most recent collaboration, “Jet Black” a comment on the Black Lives Matter Movement, landed her the Triple J award for most popular female artist in 2019. The track went on to win numerous international awards and was features in a national TV commercial for CNN.
Chantel is her own person. She is an advocate and a role-model for young women. She stands for equality, self-respect and embracing diversity. She is releasing the music video for her ‘strong girls’ project featuring her new song, “Girls United” on Oct. 2. Her music video features a small group of her fans and their personal stories. “Girls United” is available now on all streaming services.
(Include links to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Website.)
How long should the bio be?
It’s helpful to prepare three versions of your bio to meet the needs of different publications platforms and target audience.
For your website and social media accounts the recommended word count is 500 – 800 words. For Press Kits and Social Media platforms a shorter version is between 200 – 300 words. It’s also helpful to have a super short, 1-2 sentences for shorter formats.
There’s no time like now to write or revisit your biography. It may well be the next doorway to your creative success.
Monica O’Brien is a professionally trained and accredited Coach and founder of Creative Edge Coaching www.creativeedgecoaching.com.au. She blogs on issues about creativity and small business development for conscious artists and business entrepreneurs.
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