Every content marketing strategy should change from time to time. You cannot expect different results from doing the same thing. Many brands and agencies simply pump out branded content, with a “quantity over quality” approach. However, we’ve entered a new era with higher expectations of usefulness, functionality, and relevance. The longtime debate over quantity vs. quality is over. Quality wins, hands down. But what does quality content mean? And how do you know if you’ve created something your audience will love?

B2B and B2C buyers often define successful content as polished, professional, and useful in accomplishing their goals. But research shows content should inform, entertain, connect emotionally, build trust, and strengthen customer relationships.

Many organizations have begun planning their editorial calendars and content strategies for the year. This is a perfect opportunity to consider refreshing your approach. If your content is in danger of becoming stale, take time to increase the quality of what you’re distributing.

Here are some elements you may want to adopt in order to improve your content marketing campaigns in 2018:

Make Sure Your Content Reflects Your Brand

Everything you distribute affects your customers’ perception of you and the overall experience. By boosting your content marketing, your target audience will start looking at your brand as a source of solutions and open a dialogue that is useful to both the buyer and the brand. By building your brand identity through content, you can deliver stories that create authentic connections with your customers. Taking a well thought out approach and implementing it carefully will differentiate your company and help create a loyal core of repeat customers.

Start By Auditing Your Content

Content audits are conducted for many reasons—often to ensure the content is optimized for search engines, to improve navigation, and to make better-informed publishing decisions. But the primary importance of an audit is to build a robust, interesting site full of high-quality, audience-satisfying content. You should be able to articulate why every piece of content exists and determine how successfully it’s fulfilling its purpose. Auditing your business’s existing assets is not an easy process. It requires a deep understanding of the audience you’re trying to reach. But with careful strategic planning and gap analysis, you can deliver the right content to engage audiences and garner more interest in your brand.

Incorporate Data Into Strategy

You probably already know that behavioral data is a vital intelligence source. It is a core component of the modern marketing mix and it affects content performance. We are living in the age of data and we have to take control of it to prove ROI and improve engagement. 33% of elite marketers say having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is the most useful in understanding customers. Marketers need to ask themselves what type of data they have internally to use for the benefit of their audience. By being data smart, you can inform, improve, and measure—but not dictate—marketing investments.

Data Smart Means Better Engagement

The smart use of data helps to optimize performance and build emotional connections through the full customer journey. Armed with data, brands can understand how customers want to be communicated with, what a good customer experience looks and feels like, and what influencers are affecting loyalty or customer-centricity. By getting into your readers’ minds you can craft content that puts them first. This approach helps to activate, engage, nurture, and convert prospects. Build your content based on insight and you’ll create content that is highly useful and inspiring to your audience.

The importance of this is apparent in regards to the announcement made by Facebook about changes it is implementing in its News Feed. People want to have more meaningful social interactions. The content you produce must matter to your audience in order to generate engagement.

Set Benchmarks For Success

It’s easy to overlook this step or to assume that setting benchmarks won’t improve your content quality. But measuring the impact of marketing efforts is critical and continues to be a top concern for marketers on how to do it. With innovative technology, evolving teams, and expanding channels, now is the time to ensure your benchmarks are aligned to business priorities and prove your content is performing.

Break Away From Boring

B2B content marketing is having a moment, that’s quickly becoming a movement. Marketers are trying to break the content mold and are positioning their uniqueness. This is the time to dream bigger, provide more value, and go deeper on topics that your readers are interested in. And one blog post isn’t sufficient. Find the way to the consumer’s heart and you can start to develop interesting brand voices that will resonate. Watch for patterns that lead to the most conversions and then make more content like it. With fresh, compelling content you’ll get readers to act and convert.

Ultimately, marketers shouldn’t have to choose between the quality of their content and the quantity. It is possible to get both when you approach your content creation with the right strategy in place. By being more strategic about your output of high-quality content, you’ll get more people to subscribe to your blog or newsletters, generate more downloads, and increase leads for your business.