Outlining Your Campaign Bio
Your bio. Traditionally this is a fairly straightforward piece of information that usually starts with your name, where you’re from, what you’re running for and why you’re running. And oh, it’s normally written in third person.
This formula is a pretty standard, tried and true way of writing it and then campaigns usually cut and paste it throughout all their campaign documents. There is nothing wrong with that skeleton outlined above. I’m going to challenge you think outside the box a bit in the steps outlined below.
But first, let’s talk about what exactly is a bio. (By the way, if you are looking for some examples of campaign bios head to the Simplified Campaigns Pinterest Board, click on “Campaign Websites” and navigate to a candidate’s “about me” or “meet me” page.)
Your bio is where you introduce yourself to the world. This is the place to tell your story and let people know who you are and where you come from.
Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary but have you given any thought to how it sounds when you have a stuffy bio on your website?
People want to know who you are but they also want to be able to relate. Give some thought to where your bio is going to end up and this will help you determine the tone and length.
Your bio may end up on your campaign website, in a press packet, a note on your Facebook page, in a direct mail piece, or read as an introduction at a speaking event. And because your bio can (and should) end up in a variety of places throughout your campaign, it helps to think about sharing the information in two main ways: It can read like a normal bio walking through the facts or it can read more like a story.
There is really no right or wrong way to do it but I caution you on either option -don't make the bio too dry and don't make your story too expressive. Also keep in mind one type of tone may be better than the other depending on the end use. For example, you may choose to go the more bio route to use it for your press package. Or you may choose a more storytelling style to outline your campaign commercial/video or post on your website.
Whichever style you choose the skeleton will be generally the same and can be adjusted for tone, event and/or length.
There are eight main points to developing your campaign bio. Working your way through these should be a fairly simple exercise (and if you want to walk through step by step look for the opportunity to grab the worksheet at the end of this post).
Here are the eight key points with some suggestions on how you can expand on each point. Remember people want to know why they should vote for you -so go back to each of the outlined pieces below and make sure you answered that question.
Who are you?
- It's easy enough to introduce yourself -it's your name.
- But what do you want people to absolutely remember about you? Is it your career, you are family man/woman, are third generation? State this upfront.
Where did you come from?
- Did you grow up where you are running -in the district, in the town, in the state?
- If not, think of the reason you moved to where you are and why. People like knowing you made the choice to be where you are, it helps show investment.
Share your history.
- This is where you absolutely want to describe how you are connected to your constituents.
- How are your experiences similar to theirs, how can they relate to you? Paint a picture.
- Overcome adversity? Maybe your family set you up for success through their own story. Tell people about it.
- This is where you give a short narrative of how you ended up where you are today.
Note: If you've done the elevator pitch worksheet it covers the next three points.
What office are you running for?
- This one is easy but don't forget to state it.
- Example: I’m running to be your Blue Creek County Commissioner because…(this leads into the next point)
Why are you running?
- It doesn't matter if it's a bio or storytelling style this needs to be a one-liner and inspiring.
How are you uniquely qualified to serve the needs of the office you’re running for?
- What do you bring to the table? Speak to your years of experience in an industry, your profession.
- This is where you want to answer that big question of why should someone vote for you.
- Think about how your skills directly apply to your initiatives -these MUST complement each other.
What are your top 3 initiatives?
- This can be done two ways: write a simple list or list with an explanation (max one sentence explanation per initiative) -it’s up to you.
- If you decide to add an explanation make sure each explanation relates to your voter.
What are you going to do together?
- This point might sound cheesy but it's important.
- People want to know what you are going to do for them and when you invite them to do it with you it subtly reminds your constituents you are going to be working for them, alongside them. Treat this as a summary statement.
Write the answer to each of these questions and pull it together for a nice bio telling people who you are, where you come from, what / why you’re running and what you are going to do for them.
Most people want their bio in third person so you’ll need to do some rewriting. However, you may want to consider switching it up to first person for your website and mailers.
Keep in mind you will probably want three versions - micro (elevator pitch), short (speech intro, mailers), long (press packet, web-site).
P.S. If you want to walk through each of these points step by step, sign-up to get the FREE worksheet at the end of this post!
Outline your campaign bio!
Sign up now to get your 10 page worksheet and work yourself through how to create your meaningful and on target campaign bio.