Can I be frank?
Your ActiveRain profile page is deficient and really needs some help!!
don't get mad at me. It is not your fault that you have this problem. But in this post, let's talk about how you can make it better!
So somewhere back in time, the AR devs made a change that handicapped us all. Take a look below at the profile editing screen that we now have.
The first thing that really bothers me about this, is that you have a 2 inch box in which to edit your profile text. Um, really?? That's just uncomfortable (unless you are a fan of scroll bars). Secondly, you are not allowed to insert any pictures. There used to be a workaround to be able to use pictures. You could create a draft blog post that included text and pictures and then copy & paste over to the profile edit box. (see my profile in the background, that's how I did it in the past). That hack no longer works. If you try that now, it strips out all the pictures. So now we are constrained to words only, bold and italic formatting (you can do this by using the shortcut keys like Ctrl/Command+B for bold), and hyperlinks.
When is the last time that you wanted to read a wall of words? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Ok, so now what?? This is something that should be fixed, but the development resources on ActiveRain have dried up for the time being. We can hope this changes in the future, meanwhile we all choose to stick around because AR is still a community with benefits that are really hard to match anywhere else. You know that's true.
So, we learn to workaround AR issues here and there. A good workaround solution for this profile problem I will now share with you.
Consider creating a blog post that will let you create a full bio for others to come to know you. By creating a blog post, you can mix text and pictures so that you have a more visually appealing presentation. Compare the transformation with Mimi Foster in the above illustration. Her ActiveRain previous profile page is above left and her full bio post is above right. (Here is a link to Mimi's new Full Bio post)
In order for this strategy to work, after creating the full bio post, you'll need to link to it in order for it to be found in the future. The two primary places to link to it will be in your blog signature and a cross link from your profile page. This is important, so let's look at these links more closely.
First, your Blog Signature is what automatically follows each of your blog posts. It gives some basic information about you, but there is limited space. So a link to "Read full bio..." in the signature is a perfect opportunity to lead traffic to the bio post that you have created.
The second primary place that you will want to link to your bio post is from your ActiveRain Profile page. People are funneled here for example via clicking on your portrait or name on comments that you make on other people's posts. Also, each of us have a "My Profile" button on the top right of each page of our blog posts. So people will land on our profile page, what we want to do once they get there, is detour them to the page we actually want them to be on.
If we put just a few overview sentences about us here, we can then follow that text with a "Read full bio..." link to direct them to the page we actually want them to be on. Be careful not to put too much text in your profile because then the system will automatically create a "Read More" link. If that happens, it will require that the reader click the "read more" link to see the link that we WANT them to see. Many will skip over that extra click and miss the opportunity.
Here's a look at Mimi's completed bio post:
You'll see we used composite graphics throughout the post. This raises the bar on the quality of your visual presentation. I've got you covered though, check out my Blog Signature (part 2) post where I dive into this topic more specifically. The images aren't hard to make, but it does take a little practice and it is worth the effort!
The key to a good bio is balance. Nobody wants to read on and on about how many certifications you have. Narrate more about what you can do for them and why you are qualified by experience. A few specifics in the narrative will show that you know what you are talking about and that you are not just copy/pasting the same generic text that every agent website has. Also, testimonials are good to show but not three pages full! As you can see, we picked out two testimonials and highlighted these.
While this is a professional services bio, it can be very beneficial to add just a touch about you and your personal interests -- a little bit shows a depth of character and informs us about the PERSON and PERSONALITY behind the name. This is opportunity to humanize and connect at an alternate level.
The final section that we added to Mimi's bio was for highlighting Selected Blog Posts. This is an opportunity for you previous blogging work to shine. This is another chance to make an impression by not only saying that you know what you are talking about, but to show it! (note: I used some HTML/CSS styling to make this section appear as visual tiles. That's an entirely different, and very advanced, so far unwritten, tutorial. You can however make a list your best blog posts and hyperlink them to the articles.)
Finally at the end is the blog signature that puts some nice finishing touches on the page with a link to your website, how to contact you by phone or email, social media links to connect to you and and a few other select calls to action. (This post is part 1 of a three part series describing how you can update your blog signature. From there you can follow the series.)
Finally, if this idea of mine gains any traction, you may see these bio pages popping up here and there in ActiveRain. This is your chance by your comments for sincere praise for the person and their qualifications. Remember, it is the "non-members" that these posts are targeted for primarily. By the array of excellent comments that are attached to the post, this only brings more credibility to the person that somebody out there is considering to hire.
So there you have some food for thought. It's all part of the PRESENTATION OF YOU. People have a choice for who they want to work with. Make sure you help make that an easy choice!
PS - If you go ahead with the ideas in this post, I'd love that you come back and share a link to your new bio page. :)