Three Vital Points To Keep In Mind When Creating Marketing Content

As I prepare to be a part of a marketing panel discussion in a few days, I’ve been thinking about content creation from a differentTo-Do-Creating-Content perspective.


If I weren’t a freelancer who writes content for a living, what questions would I have about content’s role in marketing?


One thing I’d want to get a grip on are the things I should consider regardless of the type of content I’m creating. So, here’s a question I anticipate receiving in some form during the panel event—and how I would answer it:


What does a business owner need to keep in mind when creating content as part of a comprehensive marketing plan?


  • Maintain a consistent voice for your brand.

Whether you’re a solopreneur who is the face of your business or a business owner or manager at a larger company with multiple people creating content for you, strive to make your content consistent in its “personality.” Your tone, your level of formality, your values…your brand’s voice is “who” your brand is more so than what your brand does. A consistent voice builds trust as it enables your audience to know what to expect of you. Don’t confuse “consistent” with “boring,” though. You can still be creative when developing content that’s consistent!


  • Don’t make content all about “me, me, me.”

Focus on what’s in it for your audience and not how spectacularly wonderful your company is. A constant barrage of content that sings a business’s praises rather than giving prospective customers information they can learn from or be entertained by is a turnoff. Write content that is audience-centric. Use more sentences with “you” rather than “we” or “I” as the subject, and share insight that will help customers live and work smarter, save money, save time, accomplish their goals…you get the idea. Yes, that may mean sharing bits of expertise for free.

  • Realize creating content doesn’t guarantee people will find and consume it.

There’s a lot of content out there competing for your audience’s eyeballs. YOU have to make the effort to get it in front of your customers. Share content on LinkedIn (if you publish it as a post, all your connections will be notified about it), include it in your status updates on your social media channels, send it to your email marketing list, and directly share it with individuals you absolutely know can benefit from it.


Of course, there’s far more to creating content and making it an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. But I think these three considerations stand as a good foundation for guiding how to approach the creation of content for your business.

Your turn: What underlying principles or rules do you follow in your content efforts?


Facebook “Dislike” Button: An Awful Idea & How Empathy Could Backfire On Your Brand

In answer to requests for a “dislike” button, Facebook has been developing a button that will allow users to express sympathy or empathy when clicking “like” Facebook Fjust doesn’t seem appropriate. The name of the button has yet to be announced, but it sounds as though it will be something more subtle (possibly “sympathize” or “empathize”) than “dislike.


Let’s hope so. A button named “dislike” is an awful idea. Rather than used as a tool for showing compassion, it would give trolls and the otherwise mean-spirited to more readily disrespect and demean others. There would be haters “disliking” posts that share others’ successes and good news.


Empathy And Engagement

While an empathy button may help engagement on personal status updates, it won’t likely be a big engagement booster for businesses. Businesses typically don’t post updates that warrant a sympathy or empathy response—nor should they. Who wants to see downer posts from brands in their news feeds? Not me.


But what about posting more updates that might prompt empathy responses on your personal Facebook timeline? Could it kick engagement up a notch for your personal brand?


In her recent blog post, Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media shares, “I try to put my best foot forward because ultimately, people will tune out the whiners.”

“However, I think that those who remain positive are seen as having the perfect life. There’s actually a term called Facebook envy, which is very real. We post what we want the world to see and for most of us, we want to present ourselves in the best light possible, but sometimes that display is not reality.”


Like Rachel, I tend to post about the positive, fun happenings in my life or about things that amuse me or make me laugh. If I’m sad, mad, in pain, or ill, I’m not impelled to air it publicly. Believe me, my life is way far from perfect and I realize that others who have a similar social media approach to mine don’t have perfect lives either.


So maybe you and I could garner a little more social media love if we were more open about when things aren’t going our way. If your personal brand shows more vulnerability, possibly making it easier for others to relate to you, could those stronger emotional connections carry over to your business?


Possibly, but I think it would be a dangerous strategy to embrace for three reasons:


  1. You’ll constantly be reminded of your life’s challenges as notifications ping you when people hit the empathize button or comment on your post. It’s tough to let things go and move on when you can’t catch a break from your troubles.
  2. Depending on what you post, your clients and colleagues might see you as a complainer, a crybaby, or a train wreck (or all of the above). Who wants to do business with someone like that?
  3. If you share too many empathy-eliciting updates, people might tune you out.


Easy Does It

I agree with Rachel’s statement, “In a world where we are told to be ourselves and remain authentic, it seems a struggle to share in a way that won’t reflect negatively, but shows we are human.”


Indeed, it is a balancing act.


Quick shifts and going to extremes will throw off the equilibrium.


What are your thoughts about the eventual new button on Facebook? Will it prompt more raw and real status updates to make us connect with each other better or will it further incent chronic complainers to air all that’s amiss?

Is It A Good Idea To Be “Friends” With Your Clients On Facebook?

“Blurry.” I can’t think of a better way to describe the line between “business” and “personal” on social media, can you?Modern-FB-Image-Canva-DMentzer


No matter what business you’re in…no matter whether you’re a business owner or a professional working for someone else’s company…at some point in time a client will request to be friends with you via your personal Facebook account.


Should you accept? Should you decline?


I was curious to find out how others in my network handle those requests from their clients. I’ve shared their interesting insight below. If you haven’t yet decided on a policy for handling Facebook friend requests from your clients, you might gain some clarity on the risks and rewards by reading further.


As for me, I do accept Facebook friend requests from clients—and sometimes even from prospective clients. I don’t, however, initiate requests to be their friends, because I don’t want them to feel put on the spot if they prefer not to mix our business relationships with the more personal side of our lives.


Overall, I’ve found that having a more personal connection with my clients has helped my business. Knowing about my clients’ interests, families, hobbies, triumphs, and challenges enables me to understand them better—and I believe vice versa. I’ve found that connection has created a stronger bond in business.


That said, it also makes me a little more cautious about what I post on Facebook. I generally refrain from liking, commenting on, and posting anything that is politically or religiously charged. I also steer clear of posting “woe is me” posts that complain about this, that, or other people.


To my knowledge, being friends with clients on Facebook has never hurt me professionally—it has helped me build my brand as a solopreneur.


But enough about me.


Here’s how several of my Facebook friends (a combination of clients, subcontractors, and vendors) handle “to friend or not to friend” situations.


Rose Boettinger, Freelance Writer and Virtual Assistant

I tend not to accept Facebook friend requests from clients.


Although nothing is private once posted on the internet, I believe “personal” Facebook accounts should solely be used as a means of communication with friends and family. If you become friends with your clients, they’re able to see everything you post (unless you adjust your settings accordingly for each post, which just wastes more time) and the frequency at which you post.


Clients may have religious beliefs and/or morals and values that differ greatly from your own and may be offended by some of what you post. They may also not share your sense of humor, again leading to your unintentionally offensive posts. 


Your clients may also be put out when they notice how often you post and when you post, noting that you aren’t serving their needs at that particular time. This may also lead them to question your work ethic and dedication to their businesses, despite the fact that you’re still providing them with quality service in a timely fashion.


I’ve only declined one client request thus far, and that was after explaining in person at my last meeting that I tend not to accept friend requests from clients—nothing personal. I then proceeded to tell the client that I have both LinkedIn and Twitter accounts targeted more towards my industry, and I’d be happy to accept any requests that may come to my LinkedIn account.


The client wasn’t offended, just slightly disappointed, saying he doesn’t typically utilize those particular sites as often.


A good way to avoid this snag would be to create your own [business] page on Facebook, separate from and in addition to your personal account. Note that pages are different than profiles (I’d be willing to bet not everyone recognizes that fact).


Kris Bradley, Internet Marketing Ambassador, MIND Development & Design

About three years ago I decided to friend people in my professional network on Facebook, which included prospective and current clients. I use a lot of discretion when I post, but my true self is visible on Facebook. I try to stay away from posting controversial topics (politics, religion, sensitive topics, etc.), but I do occasionally go down that rabbit hole. I had the mentality that I am who I am and I would hope that my professional contacts can embrace this. I would do the same if they either accept my friend request or I accept their request. 


I wouldn’t say that I can directly put a finger on any problems or issues that came from this decision, but I do know that some of my Facebook friends who are also professional connections have treated me a bit differently since I opened that door (friending them on Facebook) into my more personal life. When I say differently, I wouldn’t say in a bad way, but I can tell that their opinion of me has been altered by me allowing myself to peel back layers about myself that they might not have gotten from an occasional interaction via business or networking. Turning the tables, I can say that I have also formed some opinions of several of my Facebook friends whom are also professional connections. I guess it just goes with the territory.


As it exists now, I am very selective in friending clients. I have to have a good relationship and amount of respect for them on a personal level (and vice versa) before I will open that door and peel back those layers via a Facebook friend connection. A decent percentage of my professional communication on Facebook, mostly via Messenger, is on Facebook, so I would confidently say that there are distinct advantages to friending professional connections. A good alternative is Facebook Groups, which provides an excellent way to communicate about business on Facebook, but that is another topic for another day. 


Andy Garman, Partner and Marketing Director, Pipedream Marketing + Design

At Pipedream, we are very selective when accepting Facebook friend requests. We don’t initiate them with clients and typically don’t accept them. But we have a couple of longstanding clients with whom we have become friendly, and so we have accepted those friend requests.


LinkedIn is another story! We typically try to link in with all of our clients and prospects and we accept most requests from others to link in. Prompting the difference in how we treat those two networks is the inherent personal nature of Facebook and the business networking nature of LinkedIn.


Heather Kreider, Owner, Makes Scents Natural Spa Line

I feel very strongly that mixing business and personal beliefs/information is not the best choice for my specific situation. I typically do not accept friend requests from anyone that is not a personal friend, which is why I have very few “friends” on Facebook.


However, if I have built a friendship in the past with someone who happens to become a business partner, I will continue to be friends on Facebook, but am sometimes choosy with what I share with them.


In the past, I have been connected with managers of business partners and feel that doing so interfered with our business relationship. This may not be the case with all business relationships but in this one specific situation, personal information (the death of a loved one) was used against us in a way to justify an unethical situation. After this happened, I realized that sharing personal information with business partners was more of an issue than a positive. From this point on, I made it a personal policy to not become “friends” with clients on Facebook.


Although I have nothing to hide as an honest and genuine person, allowing a business partner into my personal life is not something that I want to allow. To be honest, so much can be misconstrued on Facebook, and I would much rather build personal relations rather than cyber relationship.


When declining an invitation to be a friend on Facebook, I typically message or email the client to politely tell them that I do not mix business with my personal life, and that I would be happy to connect with them on more business related platforms such as LinkedIn.


I have never had an issue declining a friend request. I typically do not receive many friend requests from partners, because I feel there is an unspoken social media etiquette or invisible line drawn in our industry to separate business from personal lives.


Jon Martin, Founder, Invoq Marketing

I do allow clients to be my Facebook friends, and often I initiate the friending process. 


As a friend, I am able to get a glimpse into their lives. I can keep track of important life changes, find topics (sports, TV shows, hunting, etc.) that I can potentially connect with them on.
At this point, being friends with clients has created no problems or issues that I am aware of. I very intentionally limit what I post on all platforms to be things that won’t offend my clients, and if I don’t want them to know something, I don’t post it on social media.


A few additional thoughts…


To friend or not to friend depends on your goals for your client relationships. I want to be as close as possible to my clients. I want to be the trusted confidant they turn to for guidance in making business and marketing decisions. The closer I can get on a relationship level, the more successful it allows me to be and to help them to be. The more I understand their pain points, vision, passions, and goals, the better I can serve them.


John Oppenheimer, CEO, 1 Sky Media

I consider myself an open networker so I will accept most friend requests even those from clients. I don’t actively pursue connections with clients on Facebook as I would on LinkedIn, but I do have some clients amongst my collection of Facebook friends.


We haven’t seen any direct orders as a result of these connections. I try to be conscious of what I post knowing that those beyond immediate friends and family will see it. Some topics will add to the friendly banter when we next encounter a client, something like “I had no idea you…”


We’ve encountered no problems so far as I know from being Facebook friends with clients. Again, I try to be careful not to post anything offensive or to like something that some people might consider off color, there have been a few exceptions with posts that were just too funny not to like!


Rachel Strella, Owner, Strella Social Media

I absolutely welcome being friends with clients on Facebook. In fact, I proactively “friend” my clients in most circumstances.


I consider my clients as friends—and even family—in some circumstances, so Facebook helps me to further my relationship with them. I like to know when their children have birthdays or when they’re going through a hardship, because these instances are not often something people share via email or another social channel.


In today’s world, there’s little separation between a professional and personal brand. One thing I’ve learned is that our business brand is only as strong as our personal brand. This is especially true for solopreneurs and small business owners. At the same time, I respect that clients may want to share their personal lives with only their closest friends and family. I would never overstep that boundary, because I understand that Facebook can be a personal thing to some people.


I don’t recall ever experiencing any problems with being Facebook friends with clients. In fact, it’s enhanced my relationships with clients, especially former clients because we have a way to stay in touch.


As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to “friend” clients on Facebook. Ultimately, you need to decide what makes you and your clients most comfortable–and what makes the most sense for your business.


Your turn! What’s your policy on friending clients on Facebook?






To Follow Or Not On Twitter?

Social Media SerendipityTwitter Follow or not

Talk about fabulous timing.


I had a blog post in draft form centered on one reason not to unfollow people (more on that later) on Twitter, when Mike Sansone (founder of Small Biz Tracks and Converstations) published his METHOD: Before Following on Twitter post.


I once saw someone, somewhere make a statement to the effect of, “When you follow everyone, you follow no one.”


That’s true. When you follow all the people and businesses you encounter on Twitter, you’ll have difficulty actively engaging and building relationships with any of them effectively.


That’s why it’s important to at some point become more selective about whom you follow. A method like Mike describes for evaluating accounts before you follow them can nip that problem in the bud.


A Twitter Tip To Help Stop The Bleeding

If you’re like me though, some of the damage is already done and you’re following a fair share people and companies that don’t tweet updates that align with the topics you’re interested in or that you’d want to share with your following.


Regardless of the reasons you followed them (they’re local peeps, friends of friends, or you simply wanted to be nice), you can get around letting them crowd your feed by using Twitter lists. Put all your important contact and quality content creators onto meaningful lists and using a tool with a dashboard that lets you easily monitor your VIPs’ activity. I use Hootsuite for that purpose and it has worked quite well. I’ve written in more detail about this technique in this past post, so have a look.


Following Mike’s advice from the get-go is ideal, and using the trick I just explained after you’ve carefully selected who to follow can empower you even more.


Back To “Following” My Original Thought About Unfollowing On Twitter

As Mike explained how to choose whom to follow, I’m going to touch on one reason why you shouldn’t unfollow someone.


Don’t unfollow people simply because they haven’t followed you back.


Tools like Just UnFollow, Manage Flitter, Tweepi, and others make it easy to identify those people and unfollow them, but by doing that you could be missing out on some really great content and insight


I’ve learned a lot and have discovered stellar blog posts to share with my audience from folks whom I follow but who don’t follow me.


Before you unfollow people, put your ego and hurt feelings aside and use the same review process that Mike described when deciding about following folks in the first place. If they pass that test, they’re keepers even if you’ve either slid under their radar or they’re not interested in following you at this time.


And keep your chin up. Although they might not follow you now, the more you share and engage with their content, the better your chances are of getting that follow in the future.


What methods do you use when deciding whom to follow—or not follow—on Twitter?



4 Sure-Fire Ways To Push Your Social Media Followers Away From Your Brand

Jeff Bullas recently wrote a blog post suggesting twenty things you should share on social media to strengthen the connection between your brand and your Woman with thumbs downaudience.

Without a doubt, that’s info businesses can use to boost their engagement and build a positive social presence.

But don’t forget that just as there’s social media sharing that can benefit your business, there’s sharing that can work against it, too.

One Key Thing All Self-Employed Professionals Need To Remember About Social Media

As solopreneurs and small business owners, our personal social media accounts and our business accounts are entwined and associated with each other in the minds of our clients, vendors, colleagues, employees, and competitors. What we say and share as our personal selves reflects on our businesses.

You’ve probably noticed that some people don’t know where to draw the line. They over share or share things that potentially anger or alienate their followers. They seem clueless, not taking the time to think through the consequences, or they simply don’t care because, after all, they have a right to say whatever they want.

Want to risk turning people away from your business instead of drawing them to it? I’ve listed some ideas about what you can do on social media to accomplish that. These are things that make me cringe as I scan my feeds.

4 Things To Share On Social Media If You Want To Push Away Your Audience

“Woe Is Me”

Constant complainers are downers. We all have bad days, but venting on every little grievance can make you look like a whiner. It gets old. Fast.

Political Soapboxing

We’ll be seeing a good deal more of this soon as the 2016 presidential election approaches. While you don’t need to keep your affiliation a secret, blasting out politically biased posts won’t endear you to your entire audience. According to Gallup’s poll numbers from Feb. 8 to Feb.11, 2015, the split between the percentage of Republicans (43%) and Democrats (44%) in the U.S. (including independents leaning one way or the other) is rather even. So while nearly half of your followers might agree with your views, you can figure the other half don’t. And you’re not likely to change their minds.

Indirect Cowardly Call-Outs

They go something like this: “If you were my friend, you wouldn’t talk behind my back. I won’t name names, but you know who you are.” These often have a “woe is me” tone and seem to exist for the purpose of launching a pity party. If you—and you know who you are—have a problem with someone, go talk with them directly rather than initiate a public shaming.

Griping About Clients And Vendors

While it might feel good to vent, making statements that air issues you have with clients or vendors (even when you don’t single anyone out) can kill your credibility. Late payers, bad communicators, and disorganized project partners happen. Social media isn’t the place to address those things. Existing clients and vendors will wonder if you’re referring to them, and you’ll make prospects think twice about doing business with you.

What you choose to share on social media is your call. But when you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, realize expressing yourself can affect how people think about your business. Before you share on social media sites, and before you react to posts by others, take a second to ask yourself, “What’s my motivation?”


Hey! Are we connected on social media yet? Let’s fix that! Follow me via clicking on the social icons on my site that link to my profiles, and let me know if you’ve got business social media profiles. I’ll be happy to reciprocate! All my best—Dawn


Image courtesy of Ambro at

Why I Love Junk Mail And Why You Should, Too

Does this conversation sound familiar…Junk mail


Anything good in the mail today?”


“Nah, nothing but bills and junk.”


But “junk” is in the eye of the beholder. To go cliché on you for a second, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


Junk mail—by most people’s definition—includes:


  • Sales letters
  • Brochures
  • Direct mail postcards
  • Event invitations
  • Donation requests
  • Retail offers


Not given a second look (sometimes not even a first look), these pieces often land in the trash can. After all, who needs them cluttering your desk or dining room table?


I don’t. BUT I quite often don’t throw them away either. That’s right. I keep much of the collateral most others discard as worthless, and if you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, I recommend you consider doing the same.


Junk Mail: A Catalyst To Crafting Clever Marketing Ideas

The variety of designs and calls to action in junk mail is a treasure trove of conceptual and strategic possibilities. The colors, the layouts, the sizes, the voice in the messaging, the special offers, etc.—all of it can help you expand your mind to new marketing and advertising possibilities.


As a copywriter, I especially dig that.


If your marketing look or messaging feels stale, reviewing junk mail can kick your brain out of a rut and spark new ideas for campaigns and promotions.


Two Things To Keep In Mind When Saving Junk Mail


  1. Realize not all junk mail is created equal. Some truly is just junk. Before you save something for future reference, make sure it has grabbed your attention and made an impression on you in some way. Some pieces will do that through their design elements and others might do that through their text. Some will have both going for them. Be choosy; otherwise, you’ll end up with a pile of garbage.


  1. Keep your junk organized. I keep my prized junk mail in a plastic storage bin so it’s all in one go-to place; I call it my “idea box.” I recommend you find a central location for any junk mail you save. Left piled up on your desk or strewn here and there, it will become a distraction—and massive mess. Get it together, and keep it together so it’s readily available when you’re looking for marketing inspiration.


Rejoice In The Junk

You see, all junk mail isn’t evil. By jilting your preconceived notions about it, you can use it to your advantage in your own marketing efforts.


C’mon, isn’t it time you showed your junk mail a little love?


By Dawn Mentzer

Over The Top On Social Media? Here’s How To Avoid Pushing Your Personal Brand Over The Edge

I’ll bet you’ve seen it in your news feeds. The opposite ends of the spectrum in the tone and content of social media posts by your friends and the business woman-on-cliffprofessionals with whom you’re connected.

Some gals and guys share an endless stream of rainbows and smiley faces. Their lives and careers appear without flaws. By all accounts, you’d believe they experience nothing but happy, happy, joy, joy 24/7.

And then there are folks who seem always down and out. They’re oppressed. They’ve been done wrong. They can’t ever catch a break. They constantly look to their online connections for validation that their feelings of “me against the world” are fully justified.

Reality Check.

Both of the above are illusions. No one’s life is either all perfect or typically all bad. We all experience both the good and the really crappy.

How Going To Extremes On Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Brand

If you’re one of the people who go to either extreme on social media, chances are you’re turning off someone, somewhere, at some time.

If you appear to always be in a state of overjoy in overdrive, people might find you disingenuous.

Likewise, if you’re consistently ranting or putting on a pity party, you’ll start to drive people away.

For those using social media for personal purposes, all of this might not matter so much. But if your personal brand is directly tied to your professional persona as a solopreneur or small business owner, you’ve got more at stake.

The Social Media Balancing Act

When you’re using social media as a self-employed person, the lines between personal and professional become blurred. For example, many of my clients are also my Facebook friends. So anything I post personally becomes a reflection of me as professional as well. Sure, I could use Facebook’s list function to prevent certain posts from being seen from clients vs. other friends, but that’s cumbersome—and quite honestly (I think) sort of sneaky.

Instead, why not strive to achieve balance and use common sense to show you’re genuine, likeable, and someone people will want to stick with on social media channels? Sure, you can pretty much post whatever you want. It’s a free country, right? But as a businessperson whose personal activity on social media can either enhance or weaken your professional image, you should always think before you post.

Here are a few of the self-made rules I’ve found reasonable to follow on social media:

  • Don’t demean others (including your competitors)—ever!
  • Share your challenges, but don’t dwell on them.
  • Share your successes, but give credit to others who have helped you achieve them.
  • Don’t overshare. Posting too frequently and/or sharing too much personal detail will push followers away. According to a SlideShare on Forbes citing results from a SocialToaster survey, 39 percent of social media users would unfollow someone for crossing the line by oversharing.
  • Be helpful to others—share articles, information, and advice.
  • Don’t always make it about you—share other people’s content often.
  • Politics and religion—use extreme discretion when posting anything related to either of these hot topics on personal social media accounts. Avoid them on business social media accounts. (Note, I don’t avoid them completely on personal social media because they’re a significant part of life. It’s unreasonable to make them completely off limits.)
  • Don’t get caught up in others’ drama.

I’ve discovered having rules like these in place help ensure I provide variety in the content I post and prevent me going to extremes on social media. Have you set your own rules of engagement for your social media channels, or are you finding it tough to achieve balance? Either way, I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment and share your thoughts.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post


Image courtesy of Just2shutter at

To Renew Or Not To Renew? Pros And Cons Of A Chamber of Commerce Membership

Not all solopreneurs I know enjoy networking. I do. But that doesn’t mean I—and folks with that same love of mixing and mingling—shouldn’t be selective Boy thinkingabout which networking groups we join and maintain membership in.


I’m a member of several networking groups, including the larger regional chamber of commerce in our county. I’ve been a part of that one for the past five years, ever since I started my freelance writing business.


With my membership due to expire November 30, I have a decision to make: Do I renew?


I’ve only attended approximately 4 events (business mixers) throughout my past year of membership.

A few years ago, when I had fewer clients and had more time, I was able to attend nearly every monthly business mixer and several education sessions. These days, time is limited and I can’t as easily work it into my schedule.


I know other solopreneurs and small business owners face the same dilemma as their chamber memberships near their annual expiration.


So, I’m going to think out loud here to weigh the pros and cons. You might be pondering some of the same as your networking memberships near their expiration dates.


Cons Of Renewing My Chamber Membership


Cost of A Chamber Membership

Membership has price tag of over $400. That’s not an insignificant investment for most solopreneurs, and it’s what kept many of my peers from joining in the past. The mixers I attended were “free” (a.k.a. included in the cost of membership). Do that math and it equates to $100+ per event. Most other events have an additional fee—and that can add up. If I don’t renew, I’ll reduce my networking membership costs to about $150 per year.


Schedule Conflicts

Beyond the mixers, most other events are typically scheduled during times of the day when I need to be working on projects for my clients. Yes, I could do my client work in the evening, but I have a family who I’d prefer not to ignore.


Getting Lost In The Shuffle

The regional chamber is big. So big that many mixers draw hundreds of attendees. That’s overwhelming—and distracting—when you want to get to really know people rather than just superficially make their acquaintance.


My Target Market Isn’t Specifically Local

My target audience is one that extends nationally. That said, I do collaborate with a good number of local clients who I love working with. But I’ve become connected with most of them through LinkedIn and referrals rather than through my direct affiliation with the chamber.


Pros Of Renewing My Chamber Membership


A Listing in the Chamber Directory

If I were to not renew my membership, I would lose that point of presence.



Particularly when talking with prospects in the local area, mentioning you belong to the chamber holds some professional clout. It demonstrates involvement in the community and projects a degree of trustworthiness.


Show of Support to the Local Business Community

Even though my target audience extends beyond local prospects, I feel strongly about helping local businesses succeed. The chamber provides advocacy, educational programs, networking opportunities and other programs to help entrepreneurs in my area.


Chamber’s LinkedIn Group

While most known for face-to-face networking opportunities, the chamber also has a relatively active LinkedIn group where, as a member, I’m at liberty to post updates and interact with other chamber members. I’ve found it effective for increasing the visibility of my business and personal brand. If I don’t renew, that platform of awareness will go away.


To Renew Or Not To Renew? My Decision.

After thinking it through, I’ve decided to renew. Why? I realize the effort I put into it directly correlates to what I get out of it. That’s true of many networking group opportunities, but especially with chambers of commerce. The more present you are, the more trust you build in the local community. And even if, like me, you work with a lot of clients outside of the area, you can generate referrals. Many local professionals have connections not only in their immediate geographic region but also in other counties, states, and internationally. Exposure and awareness matter as a solopreneur. Four hundred dollars may seem like a lot of cash for a solopreneur to dish out for a membership, but one decent project accomplishes a full ROI. All things considered, the investment seems a reasonable price to pay for expanding my reach. It will be up to me to make the best use of my dollars.


Your turn! What factors influence your decision to join—or not join—chambers of commerce and other networking groups?


By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Are You Up To Speed On The Recent Facebook Page Updates?

These aren’t exactly breaking news, but if you’re not a social media community manager responsible for multiple Facebook business pages, two recent changesFacebook-Page-On-Mac may have slid under your radar.


Even though I post to my page daily, I hadn’t noticed them until about a week ago. I figure a few more of you solopreneurs and small business owners out there —and others you know—might have skipped over them, too.


Post Attribution Feature For Facebook Business Pages

Previously, Facebook enabled you to use pages as your personal self or as a page that you manage. When you chose one or the other, anything you did on that page—post an update, like, or comment—was done as whatever entity you were using the page as. Now Facebook has given us more flexibility by adding the capability to choose on a post-by-post basis. On each post, you get a drop-down box where you can choose from your personal self or one of the pages you manage.

Facebook Page Post Attribution Feature

You can read Facebook’s explanation here, but I think you’ll find these details helpful as well:

  • You need to be using Facebook via your personal account, not logged in as your page, to see the post attribution option.
  • The Facebook post attribution option is available on the pages you manage. You will see the option on posts when you’re visiting your page AND when you see your page’s posts in your newsfeed.
  • By default, your first choice on the attribution menu will be the page you’re on or—in the case of the newsfeed—the page that made the post.

This change will help companies infuse the personal touch on their business pages by making it more convenient for page admins to facilitate conversations and interact with others person to person instead of logo to person.


New Location for Facebook Schedule Feature

Although not a new feature, the scheduling option has moved. You could previously find the associated clock icon at the bottom left when creating a new post, but now it is somewhat hidden. You’ll still find it at the bottom of the post you’re crafting, but you’ll need to first select the up/down arrows directly to the left of the “Post” button. As always has been the case, you can only schedule a post when you’re directly on your Facebook page. You cannot schedule a post when posting from your news feed.


At the time that I’m writing this blog post, Facebook’s Help Center hasn’t yet updated their instructions for scheduling posts. According to what I found on social media master Mari Smith’s page, Facebook is likely testing the new scheduling location on some, but not all, pages. Do you see it on yours?


New Save Draft Option

At the time of this post, this feature hasn’t been rolled out to everyone yet, but some page admins can now save draft posts. Along with the scheduling option, it’s located via the Post button dropdown. Thank goodness. Now you don’t have to completely abort a new post if you get interrupted or need to leave for a meeting before you’ve finished it.


What Do You Think Of The Recent Facebook Page Changes?

If you’ve been using the new post attribution feature, I’d love to hear about your experience with it so far. Do you see it helping you personalize interactions and make your page more approachable?

What do you think of the new location for scheduling your posts? A bit too hidden or intuitive enough that it really doesn’t make a difference?

And what about the new “Save Draft” feature? Please share your thoughts on that one. Time and hassle saver or nice, but not really necessary?

Why Your Small Business Needs a Freelance Writer’s Help

Anything and everything you write in representing your business makes an impression. Your ability to project your capabilities and competence can either build Freelance writercustomer confidence or tear it down.


How well do you represent your business in your written communications?

Are you…

  • Interesting and engaging?
  • Professional, yet approachable?
  • Clear and concise?
  • Consistent with your messaging in all your communications?
  • Able to create new content at a pace that keeps up with your competition?

Answering “no” to any of the above might indicate you could benefit from contracting a freelance writer to help you.

But don’t worry; you’re not alone.

According to a 2013 Content Marketing Institute study:

  • Fifty-four percent of small businesses said producing the kind of content that engages is a challenge. Twenty-one percent said that’s their biggest challenge.
  • Sixty-four percent of small businesses said producing enough content is a challenge. Twenty-six percent said that’s their biggest challenge.

Note that “content” can mean more than the published written word, but almost all forms of content need good writing as their foundation.

How Could A Freelance Writer Help You?

Your small business relies on the written word more than you probably realize.

Let’s take inventory.

  • Website pages
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Social media profiles
  • E-newsletters
  • Video scripts
  • Radio commercial scripts
  • Brochures
  • Direct mail postcards
  • Newspaper ads
  • Product and services descriptions
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Magazine articles
  • Text for Infographics
  • Customer service emails
  • Sales letters
  • Marketing emails
  • Newsletters
  • Press releases
  • Follow-up emails to contact form inquiries

I could go on and on and on!

You Haven’t Worked With A Freelance Writer? What’s Stopping You?

As a freelance writer, I know well the arguments against using one.

Fear Of Cutting The Cord

What keeps a lot of small business owners from tapping the talent and know-how of freelance writers is concern over handing their communications over to an outsider. How could a writer possibly know where to begin and how to convey what’s important in a way that sounds like the business?

Make no mistake. When you get a writer’s assistance, you still need to be actively involved. As a writer, I rely on my clients to:

  • Tell me the features and benefits they want to showcase.
  • Share about their company culture and approach to business (casual, formal, edgy, etc.).
  • Share about their target audience.
  • Explain their goals and expectations for specific projects.
  • Provide examples of past communications pieces.
  • Share informational resources they think I should review before beginning a project.

So you see, you’re not completely abdicating your role in your business communications. You won’t be out of touch.

Doling Out Dollars

You might also shy away from hiring a freelance writer because of the cost involved. Yes, you’ll need to part with some dollars, but that money will be well spent.

The help of a freelance writer can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend writing content. For example, how long does it take you to struggle through a 500-word blog post? While it might take you three or four or five hours to get the job done, a skilled, proficient freelance writer can conquer it in a fraction of the time.

Think about what your time is worth. If you hire a freelance writer, you can spend more of it tending to responsibilities that absolutely need your direct attention.

Plus, many writers will work with you if you need to stay within a certain budget. For example, writers might cut you a break on their hourly or project rates if you’re willing to sign a retainer-type agreement that guarantees them income/work for a period of time.

And know that getting the help of a writer doesn’t require an “all or nothing” arrangement. You can keep your costs down if you can provide a rough draft or key details for inclusion so the writer doesn’t need to do as much—or any— research.

Finding A Really Good, Reliable Freelance Writer For A Fair Rate

The operative word here is “fair.” Fair doesn’t mean “cheap.” You can find plenty of writers who work for next to nothing on platforms like Elance and ODesk, but exercise caution when applying “bargain basement” mentality to finding a writing professional. Reputable writers typically will not write a blog post for $1 or $5 or $10 or $25. Writers’ rates vary depending on a number of factors like years of experience, length of posts, complexity of subject matter, research involved, and others.

So where can you go to find a writer you can trust to project your brand’s value?

LinkedIn – Search for professionals with the terms copywriter, freelance writer, or writer.

Other Social Media – Writers with marketing chops will make efforts to stand out on platforms like Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, etc. Search for “freelance writer,” “copywriter,” or “writer” to find relevant profiles and post an update asking your connections if they know of any great writers within their networks.

Local Networking Groups – Ask your area chambers of commerce and other structured networking organizations to make recommendations.

Other Business Professionals – If you notice that a company has exceptional copy, ask the owner or other manager who does their writing. They might be willing to share the writer’s contact info (assuming it’s not one of their employees).

Job Sites Like Elance, ODesk, and Guru – There are quality writers on these platforms. As I said earlier, don’t confuse cheap with value. Good writers typically won’t work for anything resembling minimum wage.

Keep in mind different writers have different specialties and strengths. A single freelance writer might not be able to serve all of your writing needs so carefully consider the types of communications you’ll need help with. Then seek a writer—or writers—who have demonstrated proficiency and experience with those kinds of projects.

And before you work with a writer, ask to see writing samples and for names of references who can vouch for not only the quality of their work, but also their collaborative nature. Some writers are easier to work with than others. Some are very communicative through the process, while others seem to disappear leaving you without really knowing where your project stands. Some take revision requests personally and become defensive, while others realize it’s part of creative process to craft content that best projects your small business brand.

What To Expect When You Work With A Freelance Writer

All writers have their own M.O. (modus operandi), but generally you can expect a writer to:

  1. Ask questions about the project to determine the scope of work, deadline, who else will be involved, who will be approving the content, methods of communicating about the project details, etc.
  2. Send you a proposal/contract with rates, down payment requirements/billing details, terms, conditions, scope of work, flow of work, deadline, communication methods, etc.
  3. Ask you detailed questions designed to draw out information needed for specific parts of the project.
  4. Send you draft content for your review and feedback.
  5. Send you revised content if you’ve asked for changes.

Final Thoughts As You Consider Freelance Writing Help For Your Small Business

While working with a freelance writer might be uncharted territory for you, you’ll quickly learn to enjoy the freedom to focus on other things. Not everyone can—or should—write. If your talents lie elsewhere, why spend more time than you have to on something you can so easily outsource.

A freelance writer, although not hired as a company employee, can become a valuable and indispensable member of your team who helps you succeed in communicating what makes your small business brand so special.


Over to you: Have you worked with freelance writers in your business? Please share your experience!


Oh, and if you’re looking for a freelance writer to help you get and keep the attention of your customers and prospects, let’s talk!


By Dawn Mentzer