April at Aisle Planner is all about embracing your playful side—this month’s theme, after all, is Be Silly. As creative professionals in an industry that values both professionalism and all things artsy, it’s important to learn to show both our buttoned-up and beach-hair sides to potential clients. After all, most engaged couples want a planner who is super on top of it and hyper organized, but also extremely creative and artistic. We have to find ways, then, to show both of these sides of ourselves when advertising our work online—without tipping the scales too far in one direction. Today, then, we’re breaking down our top tips for communicating the perfect balance of both professionalism and playfulness on that all-important About Page.
Imagery and Headshots
Headshots are a great place to start when looking for ways to showcase both your professional and playful side. Find a really great creative photographer who knows how to play with lighting and angles (this is key, so don’t skimp on your photo budget). Get a few professional, classic headshots of yourself to have on hand should you ever need them—but then also play with some more creative, unique shots for your About Page on your website. Include props that feel natural, rather than cheesy or contrived—and play with lighting, environment and wardrobe.
For example, as a writer, my set of headshots includes a series of black-and-white shots of me out in the desert, wearing a long black lace dress, sitting at an antique schoolhouse desk, typing away on one of my 1930’s typewriters. The idea here was to communicate vintage, Wild West, Mark-Twain-inspired writing. The headshots are far from traditional, but still very professional because they were taken by a professional photographer and, as such, are really stunning images.
As a planner, yours might include some close-ups of your hands unraveling a spool of ribbon, or of you sitting at a perfectly-cluttered desk working feverishly away on a seating chart in jeans and a t-shirt with your office pup resting its head on your lap. Maybe you’re buckled over laughing in your studio with a glass of champagne in one hand, or maybe you’re holding a single peony to your nose in a close-up shot that captures just the top half of your face. The idea here is to have stunning images shot by a professional that you can use on your website and social channels that communicate far more about you than a classic LinkedIn headshot does. You want the setting and overall aesthetic of the images to feel true to you or your business, but also artistic and unexpected.
Bios and “About Us”
This is something I constantly get asked about as someone who writes bios and copy for About Pages for a living. Clients always want to know: Should I sound fun in my bio or should I sound serious? I like to tell clients—especially those in the creative field, like wedding planners—that it’s possible to sound both fun and serious, and that they should, in fact, aim to sound both. The key is in balancing the silly and the serious. Bios/content for your About Page can be done in any number of ways, and I happen to think—for those in creative industries—more creative formats are usually better than a simple series of lengthy paragraphs. (Most online readers won’t take the time, after all, to read five long paragraphs.)
A creative format might look something like listing six fun facts about yourself or your company, in lieu of a traditional bio, with half being professional (As an awarded and published wedding planner, I’ve worked in the industry for over two decades and have planned over 500 weddings) and half being playful (When I’m not wedding planning, you can find me embarking on my neverending quest to find the perfect cappuccino).
Or, answer three questions that best sum up your professional experience and personal hobbies/interests (What are my major accomplishments as a planner? What do I never show up at a wedding without? If I had to take a full month off from wedding planning, what would I do with all of that time?) Another option is to include a fun header at the top of your bio that summarizes both your professional experience and your more playful hobbies in one short tib-bit (An awarded and published wedding professional with over 500 weddings under my belt, and a penchant for anything four-legged and furry.)
No matter what, your About Page should have some serious life to it. From the second a potential client clicks on it, they should see something that feels full of energy, rather than something flat and traditional. Your company’s attitude and experience should come across almost immediately on screen. Do you value a playful workplace culture? Let your imagery and the words you use communicate that. Are you all about personal, hands-on experience? Think about how you can communicate that through your imagery and copy. Overall, from the images you choose to the words you use, everything should be a little bit professional, a little bit fun, and whole lotta lively—while clearly communicating just how awesome it is to work with you.