I am certain that every one of you has created a bio at some point in your life, whether it be for your LinkedIn, website, a professional directory or just to network on Instagram. Your bio is one of the most important attributes of your personal brand.
Forbes provides us with a simple definition: A bio "is the short summary of relevant background you need to introduce yourself in a variety of settings."
"Why is it so important?" I hear you ask...
This is because typically, it is the first encounter an employer, potential client or networking prospect has with you. It elucidates your skills, education, work experience and ultimately, it should enable the reader to get a taste of who you are as a person and help them decide whether they want to work with you.
Although a short biography doesn’t come close to the length and detail of a CV, iMedia Connection points out that a bio goes places that a resume does not. A CV is distributed to recruiters when applying for jobs, but a professional bio is available at all times and to anyone that views it, through social networking, promotional materials or anywhere else you choose to display it (you can even find mine at the bottom of this post👇).
What is the BANEC® system?
Let's give it a Google ⌨️
Nope, not quite the system we were thinking of ...
The system consists of five elements which should be included when writing your professional bio, they are:
👉The system begins with brands, these are the companies you have worked with, your clients or maybe your own business. Incorporating big-name brands in your bio can help raise your profile and give you leverage in the industry.
Below, I have taken Rafael's bio from his website, you can see that he mentions three brands; one of which is High Profile Club, a company he founded. He uses the next few lines to give a brief explanation of the platform, therefore allowing the audience to build an understanding of what he brings to the industry. The other two, the Sunday Times and TED, are highly recognised brands that he has worked with, which help support his reputation.
👉Next up is awards (this one is simple). If you have won any awards, your bio is the perfect place to show them off!
Don't forget, if you have won just one award, you are an:
"Award-winning entrepreneur" 🏆
If you have won multiple awards (go you!), you are a:
"Multi-award-winning entrepreneur." 🏅🏆🏅
Both of which look fantastic in a bio, and contribute to adding value and credibility to your name.
👉Integrating numbers is significant because it can make your whole bio appear more trustworthy. Check this out:
“I have tons of clients.”
Not very convincing, is it?
Now let's add some numbers...
“I have just over 1000 clients.”
As you can see, using numbers can make a great difference to the plausibility and interpretation of your statement.
As well as building trust with the audience, stating the number of clients you have confirms to the reader that you are capable of attracting, retaining and managing a secure customer base, further highlighting your communication and entrepreneurial skills.
Other ways you can do this while including numbers in your bio, could be mentioning how many views you have on your TED Talks, or how many followers you have across your social media platforms.
👉Revealing your experience is imperative in writing a strong bio; this is because essentially, your experience reflects how well you know and understand the industry.
It is a good idea to demonstrate your expertise and proficiencies by specifying how many years’ experience you have in the business.
Nicola Hayes presents an excellent example of this, she began her bio by stating the number of years of experience she has in the industry and goes on to explicate where she has worked, and specifies what areas she has been involved in; therefore displaying to the reader that she is a highly valuable and knowledgable person in the field.
👉That brings us onto the final aspect of the BANEC system, which is credentials.
Your credentials are a means of proof of your education, knowledge and abilities; this includes any academic degrees, diplomas and certifications you may have.
Take Ted Gaubert, for instance, Ted exhibits his credentials through the use of his LinkedIn name, therefore displaying to anyone who as little as scrolls past his profile, that he is certified in the industry.
When all five elements of BANEC are integrated, you should have a very appealing bio which will start catching attention from your target audience.
There is no particular order for how the system should be implemented, so feel free to use the BANEC system to design and order your bio in a way that suits you!
How can it be used in PR?
In my last blog post, “What Is PR and How Entrepreneurs Can Use It”, I outlined what PR is and what working in the industry entails. One major task of a public relations professional is to connect with journalists in an attempt to be featured in the media.
Being featured in the press is a broadly used tool in the world of PR, this is because it can convince, persuade and promotes one’s ideas while performing as a gateway to becoming more visible, credible and influential.
Communique PR acknowledged that to some extent, public relations practitioners and journalists are dependent on each other, "Without reporters, PR pros would not be able to do their job of spreading awareness of their clients’ activities. Without PR pros, reporters would be less in tune with the internal news and buzz of the beat they cover."
Some of the best chances you will get of media coverage will pivot upon your relationship with the reporters - this is because you will need to utilise these connections when pitching your business and ideas to them.
At High Profile Club, we make finding and connecting with journalists simple. When becoming a member, you receive access to our AI platform that matches your profile and area of expertise to suitable media opportunities, in which you can send requests for.
Upon sending a request, your profile and bio are automatically shared with the journalist, therefore, it is crucial that you have a well-written, professional, BANEC bio on hand that positions yourself as a thought leader, so that reporters are more inclined to feature you through their platforms.
What does ‘being featured’ entail?
It is what every business wants and needs to grow and be successful, but what does it really involve?
There are masses of media opportunities available for businesses and entrepreneurs, from guest articles to panel speaking; but here are some of the most common prospects:
The Global Investigative Journalism Network stated that “the interview is one of the -if not the- most important tool” that journalists have to obtain information, to expand on information from other sources, and to clarify facts and see things from different perspectives.
Interviews are a means of qualitative research in which a structured conversation takes place. The journalist will have prepared a series of questions to ask the interviewee with the aim of presenting the answers through their media outlet.
An example of this is a recent High Profile Club magazine article with "An interview with Jelena Radonjic – CEO of WhatWork," some of the questions included:
❓ What is your mission/vision?
❓ How do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? Personal and business development.
❓ Tell us something no one knows about you (books, awards. hobbies)
Here is a sneak peek of how Jelena answered...
You can see the extent to which a media interview question is answered; the goal for the interviewee is to communicate their key message to a public via the journalist to reach and connect to a broader audience.
🗣️ Topical commentary
A topical commentary differs from an interview as you can bring your own opinion and unique experience to an issue of your choice. YR Media exclaimed that "with a commentary, you can speak for yourself and on your own terms, while representing a wider community whose genuine voices, insights, and realities are left out of the national debate."
Reuters provides us with a brilliant example of this, with "Commentary: Despite Brexit, I’m proud to be a Brit" by John Lloyd. By speaking and giving his opinion on the trending and very relevant topic of Brexit, John can gain visibility and position himself as an industry expert.
🔝 Top tips
I don't know about you, but with every web search I make, I am flooded with solutions to my queries in the form of top tips.
Take the High Profile Club blog, for example...
Top tips refer to a systematic approach to delivering advice. They are commonly numbered and express an individual's knowledge and expertise of the topic at hand.
In the public relations industry, a journalist could offer the opportunity to suggest your own top tips with the intention of being broadcasted through their media platform.
While suggesting steps to support readers with freelancing, Janthana leverages her own business Tapoly. She does this in a way that not only subtly increases visibility and media coverage of her brand but has the effect of an advertisement which essentially, sells her services, but through the use of a reliable, credible third-party source.
Overall, it can take some time to perfect a winning bio, but demonstrating all elements of the BANEC system can support you in presenting yourself in a way that builds your personal brand and contributes to your success.
I hope I have enlightened you on the power of an effective bio and how it can help you to attract and pitch to journalists. This will enable you to access a range of media opportunities, aiding you to become more visible, more credible and more influential.
Please leave me a comment below to share your ideas and tell me what you enjoyed about this post 😃
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About the author
Jasmine is a Public Relations assistant at the High Profile Club. She is currently completing a BA degree in Marketing with Public Relations at London South Bank University and has a keen interest in PR and the fashion and communications industry.
After growing up in Hampshire, Jasmine decided to move to London in order to pursue her career aspirations and work amongst some of the most established thought-leaders in the world of public relations and communications.
Find Jasmine on LinkedIn here.