For some time I was writing biography for Who&Whom and you can see more than 30 of my biographies on their website. I always followed a simple format, and that became my template. Each person would have their life cut up into 3 to 4 blocks with headings. I would have their name in a title at the top of the page, and under that a smaller synopsis-type paragraph that explained who the person was, and is now, in a few short sentences. Here are some other things that I think about when writing biography:
- Headings: When I’m writing biography I don’t put the headings in place. I just begin writing from the beginning of the person’s life, through their formative years, and up into what made them famous. I’ll usually focus on current aspects of their life in the last block section, and I’ll augment that will snippets from interviews they’ve given to magazines, TV shows, or on the internet. When I’m all finished I’ll go back and figure out which subheading titles work best.
- Personalization: When you’re writing biography for the internet, this is especially important. It’s really easy to go to Wikipedia and find all about the person’s past, but you won’t find out much about what interests them, what foods they like, and what childhood memories they still hold onto and cherish, or dread. When you find that more personalized information, your written biographies really stand out.
- Titles: You’ve got to have a very catchy title when you’re writing biography, whether it’s appearing in a typical book format that you can see at your local bookstore, in an eBook, or just in an article on the internet. The latter is especially important, and pulls in more hits to the websites that your biography writing appears on. That’s why using keyword analysis for your internet biographies is so important. If you can find two trending keywords and put them both into the title, hopefully in a way that puts them side-by-side in a way that people are actually typing in to search engines, you’ll be so far ahead of everyone else out there.
- Duplicate Content: When you you’re writing biography on the internet, you’ve also got to keep in mind the problems that can result from duplicate content. Most professional biography writers will have lots of quotes from their subject to bolster their biography writing. I couldn’t agree with this more, but when you do the same thing on the internet, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. When the googlebot comes by and sees that you have the same quotes as 17 other websites, you’ll get dinged and you’ll be lowered in the SERP rankings. That’s the last thing your employer will want, so be careful. A good rule of thumb is to use 1-2 quotes, hopefully each from a different internet source, and try to put them away from each other in the text. Even better, head to your local library and find a print source. Yeah, do you remember, that place they have books that you can get for free? I know it’s been awhile.