Editorial Policy: Diary of a Small Business Owner


Members of Tin Shingle have the editorial freedom to tell their own behind-the-scenes stories of growing their businesses to scores of eager readers of the Tin Shingle website in a series created just for them: #SmallBizDiaries. If you would like to publish to the #SmallBizDiaries column, consider starting a membership with Tin Shingle. Once you do, you will have your own blogging platform here in #SmallBizDiaries and can begin sharing your articles.

Before you start posting, please review our Editorial Policy below. We have also made a video that personally tells you how best to write each article. If you want to skip the video and read the transcript, click here to jump to the bottom of this page.

From time to time, we may highlight your diary entry on our company blog if it hits a nerve that many people will identify with and learn from. Some #SmallBizDiary entries are also featured in our free newsletter, #SmallBizGoodness.

We can’t wait to read about what goes on behind the scenes in your businesses and lives!


Be Real, Be Honest and Be Open
This is your chance to pull back the curtain and give an inside look into the real life of an entrepreneur.  We urge you to be as truthful as possible, as this is what readers really latch onto and want to know!

Editorial Standards
Tin Shingle reserves the right to edit any diary entry for clarity and to help the reader find your product or business. Our editorial team may spot ways you could better highlight something in your article, and if so, we will email you directly with a suggested change. Tin Shingle reserves the right to remove any diary entry that are volgure, profane, or too off-topic. We will alert you directly should this happen.

Respect the Platform
Be sure what you post is a diary entry and not a blatant promotion for an event, product, sale or yourself.  We have designated areas of the website for that, including the Showcase, Event Calendar and your own Business Profiles.  Posts deemed too promotional will be removed to preserve the integrity of the platform.

Don’t Use Language That Will Make Your Mother Blush
Sure we all need to vent, let loose and express our feelings with “passionate” words from time to time, but we ask you to keep your language “PG”.  Don’t make us take out our Swear Jar.

“Socialize It” and Share Away
If you post it they will come!  Want to share your diary entry with the world?  Be sure to share it via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more!  We’ll be using the hashtag  #SmallBizDiary when socializing it, and encourage you to use it as well!

Blogged It on Your Blog First?
Many of you are blogging all the time about your business.  Our community of readers would love to read your behind the scenes stories, so feel free to post a version of your Small Business Diary on another blog in abstract format.  

Tin Shingle Promotions
From time to time we’ll be pulling Small Business Diary entries from the editorial page onto our homepage, for use in blogs, and for use in other Tin Shingle promotions.  By posting your diary entry, you agree to participate in these opportunities when they arise.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
When posting your entry, feel free to include an image in your post.  People love a look behind the scenes whether it be you, your work or anything else that helps illustrate your story.



Where to Create and Edit Diary Entries
Click on your Member Account Center in the top right corner of your screen. Scroll down, and you'll see a section called Small Business Diaries.  Click on "ADD A DIARY ENTRY" to add a new one, or click "edit" below an entry you already have.  You can also access this in the shortcut links found on the right side of your screen under the "LISTINGS" section. Click the link that says "DIARY ENTRY (add/edit).

Adding a Picture
You can upload pictures in our content editor. There is a picture icon that looks like a little house. Click that, and upload your image from your computer.

Formatting your content
You can use editorial features such as bold, italic, underline, and you can create bullet lists in your Diary Entry!

Word Count Limit
There is no limit at this time.

Get This Feature
Start your Tin Shingle Membership now and start your Small Business Diary, along with many other business benefits.

Katie Hellmuth Martin, co-founder of Tin Shingle and an editor of its website content, recorded a video that tells you exactly what we're looking for in an article for the #SmallBizDiary series. Remember, this is a member-only opportunity! Scroll up to watch the video, or start reading it right here:

#SmallBizDiaires tells the story of your brand as it unfolds. You are building your business every day, and with each day, brings new challenges, celebrations, downers, accomplishments, you name it. You're wearing a lot of hats. Your business probably is intertwined with your personal life, in that, you work different hours than your 9-5 friends, or you get excited to do your bookkeeping (like I do), or your inventory is in your living room and your kids help you ship it to retail or wholesale customers.

That is all fascinating to a lot of people. It's what reality shows are built on. People want to watch you succeed and overcome. They want to cheer you on, and learn from you. #SmallBizDiaries is a series where you can share the stories that go on your business life every day, to show how they make your business special. It's why people love your business over your competitor's.

Hot right now is following the behind the scenes details of lives. That could be a person's life, and it can be a business's life. We are capturing the behind the scenes, dramatic stories of your business life. And by the way, when I say "dramatic", you may think, "my business life is boring. I did bookkeeping this week." or "I'm on my computer all day, I don't do exciting things." Check those thoughts at the door. Because decisions you make, and how you execute them, hold the drama. And that's what our readers want to see.

Who sees #SmallBizDiaries? Who reads it? When you publish a story, or for lack of a better word, an article that you write to the Tin Shingle website, it's viewable to the public. Anyone can read it. If you jazz it up with links and pictures or even a video, that makes it even more likely that your article will attract more people who are Googling things. This is called SEO.

Does your article get promoted? Yes, we do tweet each story or article that you publish. We sometimes feature it in our free newsletter, #SmallBizGoodness. We pin it to Pinterest. We share it on Google+.

And if we can find a theme arising from articles that you and other business owners publish, we may pitch the media with a story idea that they may want to write about that features your diary entry, or your article in #SmallBizDiaries.

Now let's discuss what kinds of things you can write about. Firstly, if you're not a writer, or are afraid of writing, keep listening anyway. Or have your intern, assistant, or dedicated social media manager listen to this video.

Let me ask you:

- Can you write an email?
- Can you rant to your friends?

If the answer is yes, then you can write a #SmallBizDairy.

First of all: Each article is written in the first person - which means that you refer to yourself as "I". Even if your social media manager is writing this for you, they should be like a "ghost writer" and write it as if you the business owner are talking.

Second of all: Each article should have a take-away, like - what did you learn from this experience? Or have you learned nothing yet, and are going through something hard that you are trying to find meaning in.

Thirdly: If the article doesn't have a "take-away", it should reveal something. Like how you entered into and finalized a partnership with another brand. Or how you finally cracked the code at selling on Amazon (if you want to reveal that secret…it would be juicy). Generally, if you landed big press, we do have a dedicated series for that called SNAGGED!, which interviews you about how you landed a story in the media using Tin Shingle's tools you have in your memberships program - even the weekly live and recorded training you listen to. When you have a story like that to tell, visit your PR Leads and hit the Ongoing Leads tab, which is where you'll find details on how to submit a SNAGGED! article.

And finally, topic ideas:
All #SmallBizDiary articles should revolve around running your business. So, that could include:
- Hiring someone.
- Working from home.
- Moving out of the home and into a professional kitchen.
- Working with a fleet of trucks to ship your frozen food. What's that like?
- Suddenly traveling a lot.
- Working from home with kids.
- Partner collaborations and how they happened.
- Planning an event.
- Launching or re-launching a crowd-funding campaign. Did it work? What did you learn?
- The process of writing your book - how is that going?
- Opening a new storefront. Did you find a space? Did you start construction? All of these thoughts can be articles.

These are all baby steps in your business, that can be be short articles that keep your customers, clients, and followers engaged in your brand.

Some of these article ideas you may have already blogged about on your businesses blog. That's great, and you should be doing that!

If you want to share the same message in a #SmallBizDiary article, we encourage that. But for your sake and ours, don't copy and paste the article from your blog into a #SmallBizDiary entry. You don't want the same exact content in more than one place on the Internet.
A. It's boring to people who follow your business in both places, and
B. Your articles will compete with each other in Google

So just make it fresh, even if it has a similar message. Our readers are small business owners, their teams and staff, and regular people who support small businesses.

Have that audience in mind when you write.

A Few Rules:
We do have an editorial policy posted on the website which you can find at the very bottom of the website in the POLICIES section. It covers things like:
No swearing.
Be Real, Be Honest, and Be Open.
Respect others. Be very careful before you bash a business.
Socialize it. We encourage you to share your article in your social circles online and include the hashtag #smallbizdiary and the @TinShingle handle.
As for sales or direct promotions - this isn't a place to list your sale or service pitch. The Event Calendar is for sales, and the Member Showcase and the Business Directory and your Personal and Business Profiles are where you can share details about your service. #SmallBizDiaries is a creative space for you to tell your brand story as it happens.

At anytime, if you're hesitating writing a #SmallBizDiary article, please reach out to me directly at Katie@TinShingle.com and let me know your question and we'll talk about it.

Ok! All done! I look forward to reading your next #SmallBizDiary entry!"