Real Estate Copywriting FAQ's - Why Bios are written in the 3rd person

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Why are most real estate agent bios written in the 3rd person?

A good question, and one that agents often ask when I begin their bios.

Agent bios are probably written in the 3rd person because it seems less self-centered. A narrative written about you sounds somehow "softer" than a page filled with "I," "I," and more "I." 

The truth is, even on an "about me" page which is supposed to be about the agent, saying "I do this" and "I believe that" comes across as self absored. It doesn't matter that every time you say "I" you're relating ways that you help your clients.

A reader scanning down a page and seeing paragraph after paragraph beginning with "I" feels somehow put off.

Of course, the same thing can happen with a 3rd person narrative. If you begin real estate agent thinkingeach paragraph with the agent's name, it's a bit "too much." So the trick is to turn the paragraphs upside down.

 Instead of saying "Sally believes in spending as much time as necessary to educate her clients, so that they make good decisions," you might say "Good decisions come as the result of good information, so Sally takes as much time as necessary to educate her clients."

You could, of course, use the same method to "Hide the I's" by moving them away from the focal point at the beginning of each paragraph.

"About you" should be about you...

An "about me" page should definitely be about the agent - and should reveal reasons why prospects will benefit by choosing that agent. At the same time, whether writing in first person or third a writer needs to tread carefully in order to avoid making the agent sound arrogant.

A good quote from the agent absolutely does have a place in such a bio. And I can envision an effective "About" page written n first person if the agent writes it in the form of a heartful letter to his or her future clients. That is, it would be effective as long as the agent remembers to "Hide the I's" in the body of the paragraphs.

Writing agent bios is a bit tricky, because while the page is about the agent, underneath it all, it's still about the client.

Image courtesy of Dreamstine.

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Rainmaker
372,260
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Marte,

Interesting and something I have already wondered about.  Both first-person and third-person bios sound weird to me which is probably why I hate writing them.  I guess that's why a copywriter comes in handy, huh?

Jun 03, 2012 06:46 AM #35
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Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Marte: Good advice here. One thing I often catch myself doing (but sometimes do not change) is that I mix between second and third person in my blog posts. As a former English teacher, it's clearly a no-no, but sometimes it is nice to say 'you' when writing for a buyer or seller.

Jun 03, 2012 08:17 AM #36
Rainmaker
1,272,788
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Lloyd - Yes, I think it is. It's hard for almost everyone to write about themselves.

Melissa - I catch myself doing that too, and I think it's OK. We're writing to real people - and that's how real people talk. Just like we use fragmented sentences and dangling participles. No one but a grammar purist will object or even notice.

"You" is one of the most important words any of us can use in marketing copy - it's the word that attracts your reader's attention because it refers to his or her favorite subject.

Jun 03, 2012 09:44 AM #37
Rainmaker
543,525
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Marte, Eric believes that you're on to something here. He also likes that you gave the alternative wording to not look like he's speaking in the 3rd person.

Jun 03, 2012 10:04 AM #38
Rainer
316,954
Beth Paterson
Reverse Mortgages SIDAC, NMLS #173899 - Saint Paul, MN
CRMP, NMLS #342859

Great advice!  I think mine is okay but I better go check...  Thanks, Marte!

Jun 03, 2012 10:48 AM #39
Rainmaker
826,998
Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
The Choice of Professionals

I hope many more agents are now hiring you to write their bios, one of the best investments I ever made :)

Jun 03, 2012 11:12 AM #40
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Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
BA, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

When I was ready to work on profile, did some research and what I read said that the profile should always be written in the third person.  I forget the reasons cited.. but I did. 

Jun 03, 2012 11:23 AM #41
Rainmaker
1,272,788
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Eric - Marte appreciates your comment.

Beth - The last time I checked mine... I re-wrote it. As I've said before, writing for myself is a hundred times harder than writing for someone else.


Corinne - Thank you for your support. I remember that lady who connected with you because you're both so "well traveled." I thought that was fantastic.

Judi - I don't know that it HAS to be 3rd person. Some people do have first person bios that work. I started to say that I don't believe in "shoulds" in general, but that isn't true. There are a few "rules" of copywriting that shouldn't be broken - like writing letters focused on the prospect rather than yourself, limiting the number of "I's," and sticking to a conversational tone.

Jun 03, 2012 12:54 PM #42
Rainmaker
783,406
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

I spoke with Mike Jaquish about this.  Mike is contemplating. 

Mike is not too sure about the conversational aspects of a 3rd person approach, which might indicate that Mike is detaching himself from the conversation.
I think Mike likes cautious use of 1st person, as long as it does not become gross adoration and admiration of that 1st person personage.

Jun 03, 2012 09:56 PM #43
Rainmaker
1,272,788
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Mike - Of course that's another way to look at it. Maybe the practice started because people couldn't figure out how to write about themselves in the first person without the "gross adoration and admiration" - or because people whose mamas taught them not to brag simply couldn't bring themselves to write "I."

Jun 04, 2012 01:55 AM #44
Rainer
10,728
Kim Corbitt
Keller Williams Realty Capital District - Latham, NY

Writing my bio for all my profiles continues to stump me! First person, third person ahhhh some person- please write it for me! LOL

Jun 05, 2012 06:56 AM #45
Rainmaker
1,272,788
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Kim - If you're serious, get in touch. Tha's one of the things I do for agents. Otherwise, take a deep breath and use my questions to get you started. You can find them at: http://www.copybymarte.com/questions.html

 

Jun 05, 2012 07:04 AM #46
Rainer
42,321
The Niche Agent
The Niche Agent
Your Niche Is Our Niche

Great post! Speaking of copywriting, I wanted to share the episode of my podcast that I just launched where I interview Chris Barr from Barr Direct. Chris is an awesome copywriter and we discuss real estate and copywriting. 

www.TheNicheAgent.com/Episode16

 

Ryan Smith - The Niche Agent

Apr 28, 2014 09:02 AM #47
Ambassador
1,534,950
Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

It's easy to forget the third person rule when writing about yourself.

Mar 11, 2017 12:19 AM #48
Rainmaker
520,800
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

This is not something I have ever thought about.  Almost every time I read one of your posts I have to go back and see what it is I do (and sometimes change it!)  I wrote a lot of I's in this comment....:-) Kasey

Mar 11, 2017 08:57 AM #49
Rainmaker
1,272,788
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Kasey & John Boles and the team at Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC Don't worry about the "I's" in your comments - they belong there. It would be pretty hard to write your thoughts and opinions without them.

Mar 11, 2017 09:09 AM #50
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2,821,464
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Good points, I will need to go take a look at my bio on a few sites an see how they are written.

thanks

bob

Mar 15, 2017 11:00 PM #51
Rainmaker
1,272,788
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

You sure found an oldie, Bob Crane!

Mar 17, 2017 07:41 PM #52
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2,821,464
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Did not notice the date, I found this through a reblog from or friend Praful Thakkar .

Mar 17, 2017 07:49 PM #53
Rainmaker
1,272,788
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Bob Crane Praful is good at digging out the oldies.

Mar 18, 2017 09:29 AM #54
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