Content Marketing

Is This The Greatest About Us Page Ever Written?

This is an era without information gatekeepers, and every company needs to think of itself as its own TV station, magazine, and newspaper. This puts a spotlight on businesses’ ability to tell their own stories with nuance and impact.

Those stories don’t have to be solely contained on your blog, or your YouTube videos, or other common vessels for swashbuckling corporate tales.

Even the humble and oft-maligned About Us page can be a scintillating source of content and brand-building, if you free yourself from the boring, factual archetype.

The History of Royal Plantation Formerly Plantation Inn in Ocho Rios Jamaica Is This The Greatest About Us Page Ever Written?Like these guys did…..The Royal Plantation Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica created the best About Us page I’ve ever read. It’s closer to a Jackie Collins novel than a fact sheet. I’ve included some of the juiciest bits below, but click through to read the whole thing if you dare.

“Plantation Inn’s very first manager was the universally respected Cy Elkins, who brought over many of Jamaica Inn’s best staff to the new hotel. At first this symbiotic arrangement seemed to work out well. But, when Cy left Gloria for another love, she never forgave him, both for his desertion of their marriage and his pilfering of Jamaica Inn’s treasured staff members! Over his time at the inn, Cy’s greatest coup took place when he somehow managed to obtain the services of Theophilus Caiaphas Palmer of Ocho Rios, one of only two Jamaican Sommeliers to have trained in France under the watchful eyes of acclaimed oenologist, Alex Lichine.

Sydney Attwood, an effete, haughty, handsome and erudite Englishman replaced Cy after he had flown the coop, and the island, with his new bride. While Sydney, a former BBC employee in London, impressed many with his rather plummy accent and his perfect Oxford English, his management style left a lot to be desired! Treating Plantation Inn as his personal fiefdom, Sydney expended great sums of money on whimsical purchases, such as crested shower curtains from Hong Kong and a grand piano—without authorization. Not surprisingly, Sydney’s personal life was also quite indiscreet and one of his more glaring indiscretions finally ended his somewhat tarnished career at the hotel. He was succeeded as manager by John Cota, who worked tirelessly and successfully to bring some order out of the chaos left by his predecessor.

Throughout the years, this resort has always been a magnet for the rich, famous, privileged, powerful, aristocratic and worthy, such as various members of the British Royal Family, the Earl of Mansfield and Mansfield, Sir Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, Pierre Trudeau, Prince Ernst of Hanover (the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco), the younger brother of the Maharajah of Jaipur, Mr. & Mrs. Stanhope Joel, of the South African diamond dynasty, and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr.

Artists, art patrons and art lovers have always found a home at Royal Plantation, where, to this day, fine art weekends with world-renowned local artists occur monthly and exquisite, original paintings line the walls. The tradition began in the 1950’s when English playwright, Noel Coward, would often bring guests here to dine from his nearby home, Firefly, on the inn’s gourmet cuisine. And popular author, Ian Fleming, would take breaks from writing his James Bond novels and come here from his house, Goldeneye, to enjoy the amiable company and gourmet fare. Richmond Barthe, the renowned American sculptor, frequently stayed here as well.

In the 21st Century Royal Plantation’s reputation for excellence and opulence has been resuscitated and rejuvenated by its current owner, the internationally renowned hotelier and entrepreneur, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who purchased the inn in 2000 and rapidly restored it to its former glory. A native of Ocho Rios, who spent his formative years in this very town, Stewart spent his childhood dreaming of owning this sublimely sophisticated resort—today his wishes have been fulfilled beyond even his wildest expectations.

In its current incarnation as Royal Plantation, the hotel again thrives, acting as a beacon for those discerning few who accept only the best and demand a transcendent level of excellence. Plantation Inn’s guest list once read like an issue of Who’s Who and, in the present day, Royal Plantation continues to uphold that storied standard. Today, as you stroll across our manicured gardens and through our lavishly adorned halls, you’ll most likely hear the very same sounds that have always made this spot so sought-after—the clinking of martini glasses, the tinkling of piano keys and the laughter and witty banter ringing out—all a triumphant signal that Royal Plantation’s halcyon days have returned, promising a whole new era of unforgettable memories.”

Wow! International intrigue + Dashing characters + Indiscretions + Celebs = delighted reader. Most companies would go out of their way to NOT talk about the embezzlement schemes of their former owners, but the Royal Plantation revels in the crazy of their past. Awesome.

I don’t have a Jamaican vacation planned just now, but I’ll remember the Royal Plantation down the road. Until then, I’m going to rewrite my About page. How about you?

Related
  • Anonymous

    This is a great History page. About us for me should give a much quicker summary of a mission in a larger font that is easier to read.

    It is, however, an engaging story. And, I am the first to admit that my own ‘About us’ page could be improved. Watch this space!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Send me the before/after of your page, so we can check it out and discuss!

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Its certainly an amazing about page for sure. Certainly hits the target demographic if I assume people who loves a holidays loves a good book too then this would be very affective for sure. For me its a little draggy since I love quick stuff.

    Certainly a great about for sure.

    • http://twitter.com/izadr Izad Razi

      I agree that it’s draggy for an About Page. If this story is told over a few blog posts, the suspense is enough to keep me coming back to read how the story unfolds. Putting the drama into the About page is ineffective imo, since people, or me at least, click on the About page to know very quickly what the company/website is…well, about. Quick facts are what I need, not long prose.

      • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

        Same thoughts here, we want something quick. Novel lovers might like it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I was thinking it might be an easier read if they did it with more bullets and subheads, but i do love the premise!

      • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

        You have a point, maybe it wouldn’t look like a novel with the bullet points tho?

  • http://twitter.com/Verilliance Verilliance

    That is pretty awesome, and why not? People love history, we love stories. We connect to it even when it isn’t our own, and by this resort sharing their history (the good, the bad, the generally interesting) it makes it all the more desirable because patrons aren’t just staying somewhere, they feel like they are entering a particular stream of history.

  • http://www.getstoried.com/ Michael Margolis

    Jay – thanks for sharing this great example of an epic back story.

    As you say, the hotel’s back story is one rooted in history and pedigree with a little sordid gossip to turn up the heat. Character always trumps credentials. We often forget this…when telling a brand story. What makes the story interesting is twists and turns. Not some saccharine model of perfection.

    Brilliant tale for its tourism context! Love how the guy who took it over in 2000 is a hometown boy. I agree it could be presented in a more readable manner, that gives a sense of the different chapters of the story.

    When it comes to the story of our own About Me pages, there’s several other key elements that belong there too. It seems few people know how to talk about themselves without either bragging or being too earnest. It’s a fine art and science. Which is why I recently created a whole curriculum on the topic, if you’re curious to see it.

  • http://twitter.com/InnkeeperVA Claiborne House B&B

    Nope too lengthy, most wouldn’t read it!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      It’s true that most people don’t read online, they just skim. But isn’t that partially because most content is incredibly lame and boring?

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri J

    Jay,

    Pictures are lovely, and nice content for sure. But I’m with kkbrough — Too much there – a better history page.

    Something else to consider: The font is small, and their likely demographic would be challenged to read so much content at that size.

    My About page could be improved too, so I suggest at my own risk…

    Maybe a shorter About page that links to “learn even more groovy details about us.” Or something like that – leading to the history page.

    My 2 cents…

    ~Keri

  • http://twitter.com/jsphwesley Joseph Wesley Putnam

    This about page is a bit long for my taste, but I do agree with the importance of about pages. On many blogs and websites it’s one of the top three pages. Since that’s the case, businesses should get more mileage out of the about page. Scintillating stories and inside scoops are one way to do that. Videos and pictures are another. Wouldn’t a feature video be great for this websites about page? I personally think that more websites should have videos on about pages.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I love that notion of video on the About page. Great suggestion. Do you have some good examples of About videos you can share Joseph?

    • http://www.GenuineThriving.com Jeremiah Stanghini

      Yeah, I think you’ve raised a good point (having videos on the about page). Not everyone lands on a website through the homepage (where a video may be), but many people make their way onto the about page, (if they’ve started on a different page).

      Having a video is a great way to satisfy those who would rather learn by moving picture than read. Seems like a great way to cater to another potential reader/customer.

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

  • http://jasonkeath.com Jason Keath

    Hmmm. I have some living to do it seems. THEN I can edit my About page.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Some day, my man. Some day.

  • http://jasonkeath.com Jason Keath

    Hmmm. I have some living to do it seems. THEN I can edit my About page.

  • http://twitter.com/alanbr82 Alan Brocious

    War & Peace, feel like I should write a report. Way to long and not laid out very well. I would have never read it unless someone like yourself posted it.

  • http://twitter.com/alanbr82 Alan Brocious

    War & Peace, feel like I should write a report. Way to long and not laid out very well. I would have never read it unless someone like yourself posted it.

    • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

      I’m with Alan here: Too long, too hard to read. A video is a great idea, as Joseph suggests below.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

        A video featuring historically inappropriate Caribbean trysts would be awesome. Puppet show!

        • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

          Yes! Maybe we can get Jason Keath to perform it with his famous Social Fresh finger puppets.

    • http://www.pamelahazelton.com Pamela Hazelton

      Agreed. I skimmed through it and then went hunting for the embezzlement topic. I would have never noticed it otherwise.

  • http://www.jasonmkey.com Jason mKey

    Love it!

  • http://www.annemccoll.com Anne Mccoll

    Jay, This is a great story! But the subheads do it no justice. Instead of the boring “Early Management” it should say something like “Lost Love” then the next paragraph “A Touch of British Stiff Upper Lip.” Could also intersperse it with some old photos. This is lengthy copy but works (yeah, I wrote it) http://www.perfectfoodsbar.com/pages/our-story

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Anne, that is VERY good. Nice job!!

  • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

    And the truth shall set you free.

    Did you know that Grover Cleveland was a draft dodger? He hired someone to enter the service on his behalf. He was berated and ridiculed for this by his opponent James G. Blaine. But here’s the twist.

    It was soon discovered that Blaine did exactly the same thing.

    There is something to be said for keeping your dirty laundry out in the open. It makes you honest, it makes you untouchable, and it makes you interesting.

    Nice find Jay.

  • http://www.idoinspire.com Jody Urquhart

    Ok my about page is not this intriguing. Although. Found this to be too much information. I love your idea of changing I up on about pages. Instead of being a resume the story behind is far more interesting

  • http://www.reallyeasycart.co.uk/ Ecommerce

    Yes, it is also a great page that I have seen so far. Great post, I’m still looking forward for a lot more great article.

  • http://twitter.com/smotoolkit Sydney Shore

    It felt like I was reading a novel set in the 18th century or something. I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow to some of the stuff written here, especially because I’m not “rich, famous, privileged, powerful, aristocratic and worthy”. LOL. But I still enjoyed reading it. :)

  • http://MiltBlog.com Milt

    In my opinion it would defiantly benefit from being broken up with some sub-headings. Easier on the eyes and could pull in skim readers.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    I’d have mostly scrolled. Now I do like a good, salacious story but I gotta side with many, it’s too long and wordy. Needs more breaks, bold, formatting. Not saying my own page isn’t loaded with crappy business babble (will also be checking that this week), but this needs your puppet show or something. I liked kkbrough’s suggestion of making this more of a history page, doing something shorter and more focused for the about. FWIW.

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    My editor is writing his story on his About Me page on his blog. He was inspired by the first episode of season four of Mad Men where Don draper showed up woefully unprepared to answer the question, “Who is Don Draper?” It is constantly being re-written to include his latest delusions of grandeur, but at least it will be ready with AdAge or the WSJ comes knocking! http://gerardmclean.com/who-is-gerard-mclean

  • http://www.bes.co.uk plumbing

    You have a wonderful blog that catch everyone’s attention. Very interesting topic and great talent in writings. Thank you. Keep posting!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ESLA4I5X73YBGMY7ZV2MAYGXZY KitR

    Having honeymooned there in 1982 I have fond memories of the place…even though my husband dallied with indiscretion and we have long since divorced…the beauty of the Inn and the smiling employees will stay with me forever. Perhaps soon I will get to return!

  • http://www.brosix.com/ Brosix

    Wow! I am super impressed. Going to their website now!

  • letstalkandchat

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out: http://www.mikelmurphy.com/easy-info-product-site-system/