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Here is a checklist you can hold against your agency’s ‘about us’ section. Don't worry, it is equal parts 'do' and 'don't'.

Make sure you weed out examples of the latter and add in some of the former and your copy should improve. This list is solely about the content of your copywriting, the words you choose, not the formatting or style.

If you wonder why I’m qualified to create such a checklist, I can only cite my personal and professional interests in writing. I haven’t worked for many clients or won any awards but I have doggedly scrolled through many agency websites.

I must say that my favourite, in the end, was e3, which forgoes an 'about us' section altogether, opting instead for a little piece of copy on the homepage.

However, there are lots of great 'about us' pages out there, and even some of the 'don'ts' I have gathered work well in context. That means having a great copywriter on your team is essential.

Aside from this checklist, other resources worth looking at include my post on building a personal brand, and Chris Lake’s oldie-but-goodie, the A-Z of online copywriting.

Don’t be:

Mawkish 

'X is much more than just a workplace.'

'Our work is our play.'

Bombastic

'We’re the #1 digital agency.'

Righteous

'We are authentic and fearless collaborators.'

Grandiose

'By design, we are visionaries, innovators and pioneers.'

'We push the boundaries of what can be achieved.'

Leading

'Europe’s leading ecommerce and omni-channel retail consultancy.'

Condescending

'Make the leap.'

Rhetorical

'What’s next? What’s next for us? What’s next for you?'

Patronizing

'We are a new breed of digital consultancy.'

Pseudoscientific

'Because our DNA is born of ‘digital’, we have an intimacy with consumer behaviour.'

‘..deep ethnographic research skills’

Obfuscating

'Hybrid teaming in leadership and delivery.'

Trite

'We deliver an ‘outcome based approach’.'

'We have proven experience.'

'We tear down the marketing silos.'

'We have consistently been at the forefront of innovation.'

'Align your strategy to business goals.'

Cutesy

'We all live in our own little worlds, every one unique. And we fill them with the things we love; friends, family, TV, gym, sofa and sometimes brands.'

'It’s all about earning your place. And keeping it.'

Wide-eyed

'Britain’s most web-savvy public relations agency.'

Arrogant

'Without the talent, the technology’s worthless.'

Simplistic

'We make the complex digital world simple.'

Naïve

'We will listen to you.'

'24/7'

Ambiguous

‘in this space’

‘leveraging’

Misleading

 ‘It's easy, all you have to do is X and leave the rest to us!’

Cutesy

'We love creative ideas. We dream them up in showers, trains, walks in the park..'

Do be (if it feels right):

Fun

Lbi:

'We're here, there and everywhere' (against its location map)

Earnest

Sticky Eyes:

'ROI may be an over-used term, but we'll never tire of it, because it's what matters most.'

Inventive

VCCP:

'We do Branding, not blanding.'

Brass:

'Online. Offline. No line.'

Pancentric:

'Social media has made the leap from bedroom to boardroom.'

Disruptive

M&C Saatchi:

'Designed to be allergic to bureaucracy and the comfortable status quo.'

Grey:

'No ego. We reject the old notion that ideas have to be bottle-necked through a 'godlike' single creative director.'

Characterful

add people: 

'We’re northern, we’re friendly, we know what we’re doing..'

Definitely be:

Brief

Engine Group:

'We have brilliant specialists'

Informal

'Wunderman delivers creative solutions to connect customers with brands, anywhere, anytime.'

Transparent

Endava:

'We are confident in our abilities, our approach and our people so we have nothing to hide from our customers.'

Digestible

MRM Meteorite:

'Engage. We entice your customers.

Optimise. We help them buy.

Maximise. We build stronger relationships.'

Necessary

Pancentric:

'Digital integration is now a must for every brand on the planet. Do it well and thrive. Ignore it, or do it badly, and fry.'

Familial

ebay enterprise:

'Under our shared services model, eBay Enterprise becomes an extension of your ecommerce team, complementing your internal resources and expertise, with common objectives, and sharing risks and rewards.'

Authoritative

'A simple, iterative process. Learn, iterate, launch.'

Expressive

Havas EHS:

'We believe that ideas can come from everywhere. Fuelled by data insights. Turned on their head by inquisitive thinkers and creators.'

Worldly

AKQA:

'We offer the best human skills combined with the most relevant technology to provide a unique full-service offering.'

Purposeful

BAE Sytems Detica:

'We help clients make better use of their data to tackle fraud and error, and keep people, businesses and critical national infrastructure safe.'

Urbane

Freestyle interactive:

'We’re still independently owned and that’s reflected in our outlook and approach.'

Bold

Deloitte Digital:

'Strategy. Creative. Technology. One hundred percent digital.'

Dynamic

'SapientNitro is redefining how stories can be told across brand, digital and commerce.'

Straight

TMW:

'In digital, we utilise everything from email and broader eCRM through to mobile, social media, influencer outreach, community management, websites (design, UX and build) and of course, search.'

Ben Davis

Published 11 February, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (5)

Avatar-blank-50x50

BillAtlanta

Looks like you need to review Econsultancy's "About Us" page.

Leading:
"Founded in 1999, Econsultancy has grown to become the leading source of..."

Arrogant:
"...discover how to do everything better online."

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Zach Doty, Online Marketing

Thanks for putting these together!

The bad ones are quite funny, and I'm sure we're all guilty of those at some point or another.

It's probably not a good idea to provide exhaustive lists of what you "should do". I say that because this topic is quite subjective. For example, I would designate some samples SapientNitro and Pancentric as "cringeworthy".

That being said, it's not interesting if the topic is devoid of conflict. Thanks for a good read.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Bill

Consider it a straw man :-)

Somebody tweeted us this http://callthisablog.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/about-us-for-your-generic-site/

I think it sums up what I was trying to say.

There are two schools of thought (maybe)-

1. The 'about us' section is supposed to reassure customers. Ultimately, reassuring copy must 'ring a bell' and common themes emerge. Just as when we meet new people, the common ground is usually occupation and accommodation.

2. It's very difficult to be eye-catching and substantial and honest and transparent etc etc. Econsultancy's about page falls foul because my list is stupidly bipolar and non-contextual.

@Zach

Yep, reading it back I lost some conviction, but thinking about copy, branding and the proposition can only be good, maybe :-)

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

brighteridea

Thanks for this!
A good read, fun and slap-stick article - probably because its both true and not so true all at the same time.
Yes, many of the 'cringeworthy' list is on the mark, but I agree with Zach, that some of the 'to do' are also pretty ridiculous too!
Its a matter of engaging with our audiences on the 'about us' pages and building reassurance that you/we are the people/ business for the job in hand. Some of the content is very subjective and for that I think there are no hard and fast rules about what should and shouldn't be written on a company profile page or indeed about us.
As always though, Econsultancy brings a bit of humour into our work-days and for that - Thank you! :)

over 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Bob Sanders

A wonderful list.. and as someone who only works with marketing firms I have seen many bad, a few good, and one or two that is great.

That said, you're missing, I think, a key point. Focus.

Know your target! Focus your brand. Use the language that connects with them. Going after local retailers is very different then going after a highly technical B2B firm.

If I see one more marketing firm that is “integrated-marketing, brand-building, highly-strategic, results-oriented, media-natural, crowd-sourced, social-media, idea-driven” I may scream.

The more precisely you can describe your ideal client, address their marketing needs, and deepen your knowledge, the more new business you’ll get.

I wrote something about that here:
http://www.sandersconsulting.com/newbusinesshawk/focus-your-brand-focus-your-efforts-win

Thanks!

B

over 2 years ago

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