Your ‘short description’ is your online first impression, so tell them what you do, how you do it and why
Make the most of your 160 Characters
Chances are, if you’ve ever made a profile, page or social media account related to your art then you’ve had to enter a ‘short description’. They go by lots of different names, but basically they are one to two lines summaries of what you do and who you are.
These short descriptions are often underestimated in the rush to build your new page/account/blog, but they are actually one of the most important parts of your online presence. Once you’ve posted one it crops up everywhere – including in your google description for online searches – so take the time to get it right.
You can use around 20 words or two lines (160 characters including spaces) on most platforms, so keep it shorter than this and you avoid editing for each platform. Any longer and you’ll lose bits from the display, which can look unprofessional. Then, use the same description on all your pages and accounts, so save it as you would your CV.
Top tips for writing short bio’s
These tips will help you craft a compelling and informative ‘short description’ in no time:
- Don’t go overboard, but make use of the space. A three-word summary (artist, quilter and dog-lover) might fit the criteria of ‘short description’, but it doesn’t help to create interest in your work
- Confirm you are the person they’re looking for quickly. Don’t make them read through most of two lines before you tell them you quilt if that’s your main gig
- Include important keywords. If you’re a minimalist mixed-media artist who only works with paper then make sure ‘paper’ and ‘minimalist’ are both in your bio. You’d be surprised how many people forget to mention their main medium or genre
- Always proof-read, and if possible enlist a friend to review it as well. There is no rush and these descriptions are important – nothing makes you look more unprofessional than a typo or spelling error
- Revisit and review often. As your practice evolves make sure you check your short description still does its job of describing what you do
Having trouble getting started?
There’s a hundred different ways you could write your ‘short description’, but I’ve got two easy ways to get started if you’re really stuck.
Method 1. Start with “Join me for…” or “Jane/John is…”
Give each a go and see where you end up. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple.
Method 2. String together descriptive words that sum you up, like “artist, sewer, quilter, wine lover, gym junkie, blogger…” and add a little humour if you’re feeling brave.
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