What We Can Learn About Good Bios from American IdolFebruary 27, 2008 9:02 am Media Savvy 101
OK. I admit it. I watch American Idol. It’s good clean fun, and it’s a program I can enjoy with my family. And, believe it or not, there are publicity lessons to be learned from this program. Last night, each of the finalists was interviewed answering the question: What would surprise America to learn about me? One finalist said he was a competitive tennis player. Another said he loved to drive a race car. The other said he was a word nerd.
Now, I love a word nerd as much as just about anyone. But I have to agree with Simon Cowell that I don’t think a rocker on American Idol earns huge points for being jazzed about vocabulary. When preparing your bio for American Idol or your local media, consider sharing information that reinforces your key strengths in the role you most want to play in life and work
For me, the contrast between rocker and word nerd is just a little too quirky. And the photo opportunity of the Idol hopeful sitting thoughtfully working crossword puzzles doesn’t exactly set hearts on fire.
One of my colleagues, Henry DeVries, offers in his bio that he once lost $13,000 in the final round of Jeopardy. He obviously knows a little bit about a lot of things and is comfortable under pressure putting himself and his knowledge on the line. These are qualities that serve him well as the founder of the New Client Marketing Institute. And, he sure found a memorable way to get his message across.
In my consulting bio, I mention that I know how many licks it takes to get the center of a Tootsie Pop, and I’ll never tell. This is a playful way to let people know that I can keep a secret. Being able to keep a secret is an essential quality for a publicist who is to be trusted with proprietary information.
What would your clients be surprised to learn about you? And what words and images can you bring forward to make that point in a memorable, compelling way in your bio? Your bio can be fabulous, compelling, and inviting, or it can be boring, “blah, blah, blah” and benign. To me, the choice is clear. I am teaching my first Publici-Tea™ Press Kit Writing Workshop to a sold out group of business owners this Friday. You can bet bio writing will take center stage. I’ll have more to share on this workshop in the coming weeks for those of you who would like a guiding hand to get your bios in stellar shape. Stay tuned, and rock on.