|If you are
going to invest time or money in using a matchmaking website, you
should really pay some attention to writing a profile that will
get you some responses. People will not be interested in emailing
you if you do not do something to make yourself stand out from the
masses of people using personal ads.
I administer several
dating websites. People frequently write in saying, "I never
get any replies to my ad." And when I go look at the ad, I
find that they have not filled out the profile, or added a photo.
Who can tell if they want to email you if there is no information?
Not quite as bad, but still ineffective, is a profile that says,
"Email me for details" or "looking for a nice
person." You can't bother to write a paragraph to find the
love of your life? Or even a fun date for the weekend?
Here are some guidelines
for writing effective personal ad blurbs:
INVESTMENT. Decide that
this is worth spending some time on, or don't bother. You wouldn't
submit a sloppy resume, would you? This is about making a good
first impression, because there will be no second chance once
someone clicks to the next ad.
MARKETING. You are
marketing yourself... trying to stand out in a crowd. You are the
"product." and the people you want to meet are your
customers. Think about who you want to meet, and then think about
who THEY want to meet! How can you tell them that YOU are the
person they want to meet? Magazine ads, for example, grab your
attention, make you laugh, they make you think "wow, what a
great thing... I want to buy it." They can be short, but pack
a punch. If they are long, they tell a good story. Marketers test
their different ad campaigns, and you should, too. Try placing
different ads to see what gets you a better result.
PREPARATION. Before you
log in anywhere, do some thinking and writing. Don't wait until
you are faced with a blinking cursor to write your blurb. Give
serious thought to how you will describe yourself and the person
you hope to find. Write at least two paragraphs, one about
yourself, and one about the person you seek. Ask someone you trust
to read those paragraphs and comment on how well they reflect who
you are and what you want. Save that text to cut and paste into
dating website forms. Have a digital photo or two ready.
OPENING LINES. Use your
username... don't be Bob3456... be PaintBallPrincess or
SecretSuperHero or something else that reflects your sense of
humor and yourself. If the ad allows you a "subject
line" also use that well... "Need woman in Atlanta"
doesn't cut it. "Atlanta man on a mission" sounds more
interesting. "Atlanta Knight seeks his Queen" tells a
different story about who you are seeking. Use your username and
subject line to hook people into your ad. Use humor, drama, a
funky metaphor. Then, like any good ad, you want to show them you
are what they need, show them why you are unique, and invite them
to take action... by emailing you!
DETAILS. Write in
complete sentences. Spelling and grammar DO count. We have modern
tools to help with that. You want to look like you find this task
important enough to spell out the words. Unless you are 15 years
old, writing "If u r inrested n me, wrt 2 me" makes you
LOOK 15 years old. ALL CAPS IS LIKE SHOUTING... don't. It is
actually harder to read.
HONESTY. If you are not
honest with yourself and others, you will not find happiness in
the personals. Are you married? You know, people CAN figure that
out and will resent the lie more than the wedding ring. Without
making any value judgements, putting down "married" will
not necessarily stop you from finding matches. If you are just
looking for a casual date, don't imply that you are looking for
marriage just to get more email... it wastes everyone's time. If
you are looking for a long-term thing, don't think you can
"convince" a casual date to spend more time with you.
You are asking for disappointment. Try completing this sentence:
"In a year, I'd like to see us doing...."
STRINGS. Guys, I see
many you making a crucial mistake in your profiles. You will find
that women are seldom looking for a "no strings
relationship." There simply is no such thing... if it is a
relationship, it has strings of SOME sort. If you don't want
strings, you are looking for an escort service. Women of any
description can find casual physical relationships without lifting
a finger to a keyboard. Don't lie, but think about which
"strings" are okay with you. "Seeking Torrid Summer
Romance" is fine and honest. So is, "I am not eager to
move in or get married. I want to have a regular date for parties
and cookouts with my friends." Ladies, this counts for you,
too. If your personal ad sounds like you might be offering paid
sexual services, you are going to get some rude offers. You might
avoid phrases like, "looking for a wealthy man with good
taste in jewelry."
BEYOND PHYSICAL. Have
you ever really dated someone just for their eye color? OK, maybe
you have spectacular eyeballs. But ads tend to reel off personal
stats... and then stop there, as though there were nothing but a
body. Most personal sites let you click things to describe your
eyes, hair, and height... don't waste valuable profile space on
your hair. Talk about who you are first, and what you look like at
the end. Want to know the number one thing surveyed women look for
in a guy? A sense of humor.
AVOID NEGATIVES. This is
not the place to list all the things that drove you crazy about
your ex and how you won't put up with that again. Don't list what
you don't want... discuss what you DO want. Turn your own
lifestyle quirks into positives, not obstacles. Workaholic? Try,
"My career keeps me very busy, so I need someone with a
flexible schedule for spontaneous one-day adventures." Frugal
to a fault? Try "I find it amusing to squeeze a nickel 'til
it screams... help me research for my web column "CheapDates
for CheapSkates." Worried people will regard your children as
an obstacle? "My family is very important to me and I hope to
find someone that will enjoy the attention of a warm family
POST A PHOTO. Website
statistics show that an ad with a photo is 80% more likely to get
a response. A photo that shows you relaxed and having fun, no
matter what you look like, is even better. Don't use a photo that
isn't current.. it isn't worth looking so insecure, or being
rejected later. Don't rush to ask for a photo... you may look like
a "pic trader," someone who is collecting photos rather
than looking for a real date. Don't stress about your looks...
attraction is about more than looks. Yes, we often are first
attracted to someone by looks, when we meet in person. But on the
Internet, if you seem like a jerk, you won't get the chance to
meet in person.
LIFE STAGES. People
often say that "age" is not as important as "life
stage." Where are you in your life? Just starting out in a
new career? Settled into life with kids? Empty-nesting? Exploring
new interests? These are things that matter. Talk about what is
important in your life. "I am established in my career and
now turning my attention to the great books I never had time to
read." "I moved to this state for a job after college,
and I am looking for dates with a lot of outdoors-loving friends
to help me build a sporty new social circle."
FAVORITE THINGS. Listing
ALL your favorite things is dizzying.. Choose one good example and
talk about why you like it. Choose something that gives the reader
an insight into what you enjoy. You want people to be able to spot
things you have in common, but also feel that there is something
new and interesting to learn about you. Interest them in learning
more with a "teaser" about something fascinating about
you. Ask a question for them to answer in the reply email.
RULES. Never... NEVER
include your last name, phone number or address. Observe the rules
of the various websites... some do not allow you to post web
addresses or email addresses. Many prohibit crude language or
sexual references. Getting your ad removed by breaking rules is a
waste of time.
So... let your
personality be shown in a tasteful way, take the time to do a good
job, and have a good photo. Those things alone will put you far
ahead of the misspelled anonymous pack. Best of luck!
� Dateable.com LLC 2002
About the author: Tracy Brant is a freelance writer and an editor
at Dateable.com. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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