Does Your Content Marketing Contain These 12 Must-Have Components?

As a marketer, do you consider your content finished once it’s written and proofread? If so, you may not be maximizing the effectiveness of each piece of content to reach the broadest possible audience. To that end, here are twelve must-have content marketing elements to ensure your content marketing maximizes its effectiveness. Of course, you must have a related call-to-action to motivate readers to action.

  1. Share this buttons. Make it easy for readers to share your content on the major social media sites. At a minimum, consider Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and StumbleUpon. Add these options at the top and bottom of your articles so that readers can easily let their social media colleagues know about your content.
  2. Join email list link. This is marketing nirvana because it provides a channel to continue marketing to prospects. It’s useful to explain to subscribers what type of information they’ll receive to minimize churn after the first few mailings.
  3. Subscribe for RSS feed(s). Even though the number of RSS users is diminishing, remember that your goal is extending your content’s reach cost effectively. if you’ve got a blog or other CMS based website, feeds are easy to install and will enable you to reach this high content consuming segment.
  4. Forward-to-a-friend functionality. Give readers the option of sending your articles and content via Forward-to-a-Friend functionality. While this functionality tends to get low response, use this communication to upsell readers to registering for other content or another offer.
  5. Incorporate links to specific product or use a “Buy Now!” button where appropriate. Make it easy for readers to purchase once they’ve decided what they want. Add links to appropriate product in the body of your content.
  6. Include “Contact Us” functionality. Provide a conduit, email, chat or 800 number, for readers to communicate with your firm. If you offer an email option, make sure it’s promptly handled because they may contain sales. For business-to-business (B2B) organizations, content marketing may drive sales leads.
  7. Provide for search on your site. Since your content may cause readers to want to find out more or, worse, may not answer all of their questions, allow them to seek more information. 
I’m always surprised at how many bloggers overlook this small feature that can easily keep readers on their site longer.
  8. Include links to your website. Make it easy for readers to find your business (hey isn’t that the reason that you created the content in the first place?)
  9. Supply links to related content. These links can be in the body of your content or at the end to direct readers to other areas of your information or to third party resources.  You want to increase the amount of content the visitors read.
  10. Allow for comments (where appropriate). Let readers join in the conversation that your content has started. Depending on the venue where the content is posted, you may want to have moderated comments or another method of eliminating comment-spam. To keep readers engaged, it’s a good idea to get the content creator(s) to respond. It encourages others to comment. This is particularly important if you want to allow for social media discourse.
  11. Make it easy for readers to join you on social media platforms. Include links or a small widget so readers can associate with your company or writers on networks like Facebook and Twitter. This provides another means of connecting on social media.
  12. Add an author biography. It gives the writer a sense of pride and links readers to more of your content. Consider this the Andy Warhol “fifteen minutes of fame” tip.

Regardless of where you post your content marketing, after the work that you’ve put into it, it’s important to ensure that it reaches the largest possible audience.

What other suggestions would you add to this list and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

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