“Everybody wants a web site but nobody wants to feed it.” This is a reality we have discovered from our clients, perspective clients, and our own meandering experience. Certainly this doesn’t apply to every business of any size, but it does occur and is a reality for more businesses than you might think…including us at times. Of course by “feeding” we mean content on your site.

Regardless of whether your “web site” is a Facebook page ,an actual web site, an e-mail newsletter, a podcast or a Google My Business blog site from last time, the need to give it regular content is a necessity. People who are on the internet searching for things constantly want new content and something to read. If you don’t’ keep your information up to date that you put out then people will quickly move on no matter how good or bad your information is. This is the nature of the internet beast so before you decide to have or maintain an online presence which is more than a “mini” web site you should consider how you will regularly feed it.

Why have a blog or publish regularly? Despite our seemingly negative opinion of blogging or regular article publishing there are some compelling reasons to regularly post to the internet on behalf of your business. First, it’s great free marketing for your business. If people regularly see you posting items of interest they will organic stop and read them. Plus depending on how you share and what platform you use then articles can be shared across multiple web sites or social media platforms.

Second, To tee off of the first point, this gives you a chance to regularly show your expertise. This holds true for you as well as your business and can make the difference in someone choosing your services or products or not. Building legitimacy through what you publish is a chance for people to learn about your company’s offerings even when you are closed or you aren’t there to explain them.

A final advantage is that a company writer can include references to relevant products or services they offer where appropriate in a given post. Unless you’re having a sale and you just want to make the post all about the offer, it’s best to make this reference subtle. That said, having links embedded to something you offer is a great unobtrusive way to connect readers back to your company. Depending on the platform you use this may not always be possible.

Disadvantages: The one major disadvantage to this type of promotion, and it is promotion, is that you are forced to be consistent in your posting schedule. Deviating a day or two on occasion is one thing, but you will lose readers if you are inconsistent in whatever schedule you have set for yourself. It’s not fair as tings happen sometimes but they do move on and you have to work to get them back.

The second major issue is that you have to have your facts together. While this really goes without saying, it mostly applies to statistics, facts or references outside of your company. For example, misrepresenting a competitor’s product or service can land you and your business in hot water if your facts aren’t correct.

A final issue is the need to come up with fresh, relevant, true content. Each post can not be a sales pitch alone or readers will go away. In this “freemium” climate on the internet readers expect something for nothing for a little while until you get the opportunity to pitch them on what you have. Depending on who you talk to, the ratio of informational posts to posts that simply pitch a product or service ranges from 5-1 up to 7-1. What can we say, we have all become used to this and anything less risks turning off readers, viewers or listeners.

Tips and Tricks: If you are weighing whether to start a blog, video blog (vlog), podcast or just a Facebook Page for your business, here are some ideas you might want to consider. First and foremost, spend some time giving your blog or articles a theme and a focus description. This helps to create a “voice” for yoru material that readers can identify with. For example, our focus with “What Works” is to provide free or low-cost options for marketing your business ahead of what we can do for you. These are things to think about when marketing your small business that, in most cases, you can do yourself. We pledge tat our articles will have this focus and hope you agree.

Next it’s time to think about a platform. While this is heavily driven by content, which we will discuss below, you should choose a platform that is flexible and shareable. If you already have a web site this is the best place to start as you can share blog content with social media sites, YouTube and more. If you don’t have a full web site that’s okay, but you do need a place to point readers/viewers/listeners to after the show so they can get more information or book an appointment. With that in place, you can use Facebook pages, Google My Business, Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo or one of the many Podcast creation and posting tools.

And yes, the most important piece of this puzzle is content. Once you decide to regularly post articles or shows then you need to produce the content to make it happen. Thinking about you theme and focus from abovce, you should count on having 4 to 6 articles or shows completed before posting Many blogging sites allow you to pre-post items ahead of time then elease later at the appropriate time. This ensures that you have ample content to keep readers, viewers or listeners coming back. If something comes up that is a priority you need to talk about, simply move it ahead in line. You keep track of the line and promote it when you do release material. One final thought on content involves credit and citation. This is an era of copyright litigation so any outside material you use MUST be cited to its source and permission must be given. You may get lucky and no one notices but you may also be fined and taken to court.

If done correctly or at least consistently, regular posting of articles, blogs, video or podcasts is a great way to get your message and your expertise out in the world. This is true freedom to publish and, provided the statements are true, they can boost your business and your community reputation. It’s true that regualr posting isn’t for everyone, but those who accept the challenge and put money ahead will come out big.