It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. As we say goodbye to 2016 and, more importantly, hello to 2017, we want to kick start the year by sharing some content marketing resolutions. Committing yourself to any of them will go a long way toward setting you up for success in the year ahead.

1. Pay more attention to your tone of voice. Think of your tone of voice like your wardrobe. Just as what you wear can be an expression of your personality, the tone you adopt with your content is a reflection of your brand. While there’s (technically) nothing wrong with writing in standard corporate prose, it’s the equivalent of dressing in all beige. It’s not exactly memorable. Why not dress things up by becoming more conversational, using humor where appropriate, and developing a style that’s uniquely your own? It will help endear you to your readers while also making you stand out from the crowd.

Need help developing your company’s tone of voice? Check out our eBook for step-by-step guidance on how to do so.

2. Start automating. There are no prizes awarded or kudos to be had (as far as we know) for having the most difficult time at content marketing. The fact is that this stuff is hard enough on its own. You don’t need to make it any harder by depriving yourself of a little technological help. Work smarter in 2017 by employing the best software and tools. Consider things like If This Then That for automating your social sharing, TrackMaven for performance notifications, and Acrolinx to enforce your content guidelines.

3. Really focus on quality. Better content gets better results. We all know that it can lead to better search rankings (though if you want to learn more about this topic, check out this great post from Neil Patel), but it can also lead to greater brand trust, more conversions, and greater intent to purchase. There are lots of ways to improve the quality of your content, from writing more clearly and concisely, to making sure it provides lots of useful information, to displaying it in a visually engaging way. Take the time to hone the quality of your content and it will pay big dividends.

4. Stop getting distracted by the wrong metrics. We live in a data-driven world where it seems like everything is measurable. That’s particularly true of marketing in the digital age. The thing is, a lot of metrics add up to little more than just noise. Sure it’s gratifying to know that people liked your content or opened one of your emails, but unless those actions eventually result in conversions, how much do they really matter? Don’t get stuck in the trap of chasing page views or likes. Instead, focus on metrics that demonstrate higher levels of engagement. Those include downloads of gated content, watching a video all the way through, or even leaving a comment. They’re all indicators of actual interest and enthusiasm, and typically mean that you’re moving the needle.

5. Get into the habit of recycling. It’s seems like we’ve been told how important recycling is for ages (and we’re talking about content, not just soda cans). The bad news is that we’re not always very diligent about it. As a result, we wind up putting huge amounts of effort into creating an eBook or white paper, but then fail to repurpose and repackage it as much as we should to get the most mileage out of all of our effort. Remember that for every one piece of truly high-impact content that you create, it should be translated into at least five other smaller pieces. So when you’re creating your next magnum opus, think about how you might repackage it into a SlideShare, infographic, blog series, podcast, guest post, or presentation. It will make your life a lot easier.

6. Make your content more useful. Remember before when we were talking about the importance of content quality? Utility is such an important part of creating great content (here’s why according to marketing guru Jay Baer), that we’re calling it out here as its own resolution. So how can you make your content more useful? Include practical advice, step-by-step instructions, worksheets, tips, and other insights and tricks of the trade. Basically, you want to be as helpful as you can. You can also make your content more valuable by linking to other resources as well as including visual aids that help to make your point. Writing in a clear and easy to understand manner that your audience will be able to follow is also essential.

7. Personalize as much as you can. Unfortunately, just greeting your audience by name in an email (or doing any of the equivalents) doesn’t really count for much in 2017. Your content needs to be personalized to the point where you’re only directing stuff to your audience that aligns with their needs, interests, and stage in the buying cycle. At a time when content overload is so prevalent, anything less just isn’t going to cut through all of the noise.

Take advantage of the new year and use it as an opportunity to recalibrate your content marketing program. You’re hopefully well-rested after some time off and ready to start 2017 with a fresh outlook. We humbly submit that by making (and sticking) to some simple resolutions like the ones above, you’ll get great results with your content in the year ahead.