New year, same you? Not quite. These resolutions will help you improve the quality of your content marketing and, in turn, drive better results for your business.

This year, set resolutions you can actually keep and that will drive real results for your brand. Creating and distributing quality content is a proven way to educate clients and prospects, build relationships, and help nudge consumers down the marketing funnel. Improving your content marketing efforts isn’t necessarily about increasing your budget. Let 2017 be the year you supercharge your content marketing ROI by adopting these five simple resolutions.

  • Put Your Audience First (For Real)
  • People-based, or consumer-first, marketing is the new(ish) mantra for many marketers. In a nutshell, it means making your customers the focal point of all that you do and working to create the most personalized experiences possible. This line of thinking informs everything from an in-store shopping experience to a digital advertising campaign. For example, many marketers are coupling consumer insights with the latest technology developments to deliver targeted programmatic advertising. They are also inviting their customers to be part of the story via social media and user-generated content.

    For content marketers, it boils down to remembering to put your audience first. Strive to create content that will educate or entertain your customers. Always keep their needs in mind, and make it easy for them to share feedback so you can have a deeper, more meaningful relationship than one based on plastering them with banner ads.

  • Get Down With Some DIY Visual Components
  • The bad news: You are competing with more content than ever before. The good news: It is easier than ever to create compelling visual elements to help your content stand out.

    Content marketers should include engaging images whenever possible—and it’s almost always possible. Try a design tool like Canva, which makes it simple to create professional graphics, social media images, and infographics, even if you don’t have a design background. Additionally, check out the Content Marketing Institute’s roundup of free stock image sources to help you create visual content that not only looks pretty but also improves audience engagement.

  • Try Video Marketing, Even If Your Mobile Phone Is The Camera
  • Video is memorable, engaging, and an effective medium for telling a story, whether you are demonstrating a product or establishing your brand identity. Video is one of the fastest-growing content marketing tactics, so make 2017 the year you get serious about adding it to your marketing toolbox. You don’t need a blockbuster budget to produce a content marketing video hit, either. Many small businesses are creating and distributing videos themselves via their smartphones and Facebook Live. A simple video can be a powerful and effective marketing tool, as long as it reflects your brand voice and the interest of your customers and prospects. But remember: A poor quality video can do more harm than good, especially if it paints a picture of your company as being unprofessional. Don’t share anything shot without strategy and a steady hand.

  • Give Influencer Marketing a Hard Look, Regardless of Your Industry
  • There is a misconception that influencer marketing is only for lifestyle brands and/or companies targeting young audiences. Partnering with people or organizations that your customers already know and trust is a great way to gain more exposure for your content, regardless of what industry you are in. If you’ve never used the tactic before, gaining a better understanding of the influencers who matter to your audience is the logical starting point. Klout can help you identify influencers and gauge the impact of your own content so you can see what works best and make better decisions about exactly what content to share.

  • Measure Everything Always
  • It is obvious but still overlooked – you have to measure the effects of your content in order to understand, and improve, performance. Begin by having a clear handle on key performance indicators (KPIs), including website analytics (visits, page views, time on site, etc.) and social media stats (size of audience, average likes, shares, etc.). Then you can measure how marketing initiatives affect those stats.

    Content can be used at every stage of the purchasing journey. Admittedly, measuring the effect content has on your brand at the upper-funnel level can be challenging. But by tracking content performance consistently, you’ll come to understand the types of content that resonate with your audience and best drive subsequent action, whether it is a click, a like, or a purchase. Google Analytics and its suite of free webmaster tools can help you get started.

Adopting these simple resolutions can help you get more from your content marketing efforts—in some cases, a whole lot more. And how is this for a coincidence? Our New Year’s resolution is to help more businesses like yours engage their audiences in meaningful ways. Should you need help devising an effective and cost-efficient content marketing strategy, give Mediaplanet a call.