This article was first featured on The Big Blend Magazine.

How many good profiles/bios do you need? You should have several, especially if you are building your presence online.

The first profile I was asked to write was for Time-Warner Cable.  Having been in the advertising and marketing world, I thought that was an easy assignment and whipped up a business profile. It was quickly returned and I was told to make it personal and flush it out. At the time, I was used to business writing, not showing my personal side. But I did what I was told for that particular TV and web project, “Dishing with Carolina Chefs.” It worked.

Of course, the above instance was before I knew anything about building an online presence.  Since March, 2008, I’ve been dealing with online in a larger manner and discovered I needed several different profiles of different lengths. The good thing about this is once you have a good long and complete profile, it is easy to shorten and adjust to particular needs.

I’d suggest the following: 250 words, including personal information about family; 100 words, business related; 35-50 words for bare basics; and 15-20 words for a one or two liner.  Be somewhat cautious about getting too personal. I use on-line sites for business networking, so I prefer a business approach.

Focus on your area of expertise. Even though I’ve an advertising and marketing background, my online profiles focus on writing, book marketing, food and travel. I don’t recommend splitting yourself among several categories, as it is easier to be an expert in one. However, personally, I’m not willing to give up writing or book marketing and I was born for food and travel and telling the tale. I’ve co-authored books in the above areas. So I’ve one blog for writing, and another for food and global adventures, Since I am diversified, this makes it more difficult to market myself and takes more time.

Depending where I’m using my profile, I use one towards writing or one towards food and travel. Rarely do I use both. Think about your area of expertise and focus on topic. Sell yourself and your expertise.

The 15-50 word profiles are more difficult than longer versions as you only want current and relevant words. It doesn’t matter if you have a long impressive career in another field from that which you are currently selling. Use words that sell what you have to offer now. Pick words that define you. If you are selling a product, it is better to leave your family out of it. People on business sites want to know, “What’s In It for Me” (WIFM)? Why should they use, buy or be interested in what you have to offer?

Below are two examples for articles on food and travel and two examples promoting our book “Success.” You can also read a longer profile on The Big Blend and a much longer one on These all continually get updated.

Maralyn D. Hill is a freelance writer who was born to travel and tell the story. You can read more about Maralyn (24 words).

Maralyn and Brenda Hill co-authored “Our Love Affairs with Food & Travel,” and with free-lancer Norm Hill, comprise the dynamic “Hill Team” of travel journalists. Maralyn and Norm worked together for this excursion (33 words).

“$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book”—This is the book we wished we had read before publishing our first two books, “Our Love Affairs with Food and Travel,” and with French Master Chef Hervé Laurent, “Cooking Secrets, The Why and How.” The $uccess workbook will inspire you to shape life’s raw moments, then publish your passion into a successful book through proven marketing techniques. Our goal with this book is to help writers master the skills to publish their own book successfully (83 words).

“$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book”—This is the book we wished we had read before publishing our first two books. The $uccess workbook will inspire and help you to publish your passion into a successful book through proven marketing techniques (42 words).

When you have your profiles done in advance, it is easy to adjust them for a newspaper interview, magazine article, website, or networking site.

Maralyn D. Hill, President
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional Journalists

Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”