There are a few things in life where having more is better, even if the quality leaves something to be desired (see: pizza). But most of the time — and especially when it comes to your content marketing — it’s quality, and not quantity, that really counts.

With so much content out there, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the key to competing is to churn out as much as you can. But to do so goes against the purpose of content marketing in the first place. Because in reality, if you really want to stand out and rise above the noise, you have to be producing content with value. And unless you have a team of people fully dedicated to researching, writing, and editing your work, publishing too much and too often probably means your content is lacking the care and substance it requires.

If you’re going to do something, you may as well do it right. So with that in mind, here’s how to ensure that you’re always putting quality first when creating content for your brand.

1. Don’t Rush the Brainstorming Process

There are endless topics under the sun to write about, but only a small subsection of those are going to be relevant to your brand. It’s important that you come up with content ideas that are (a) based on your own brand authority and (b) interesting to the audience that you’re trying to appeal to — otherwise, you’re just going to end up confusing your readers (and search engines).

Dedicate a good amount of time to brainstorming, thinking up topics and sub-topics that are original, important, and related to the product or service that you’re selling. You don’t need to already be a genius on each topic (that’s what research is for), but they should be topics that your audience would understandably expect you to have some insight on.  

2. Look at What Your Competitors are Doing

Your content needs to be original, but that doesn’t mean that your ideas can’t be inspired by what others are doing. So as part of the brainstorming process, take a look at your competitors’ content to see what’s being created and talked about. This can help give you an edge, highlighting not just those areas where you have something to add to the conversation but also the areas that are already over-saturated.

Think about what new angles you can address, or how you might be able to approach a topic in a more useful format. The goal is to write a piece that’s better than the current top-ranking posts on the topic, so your brainstorming should include not just the topics themselves but what you can add to the dialogue that isn’t already there.

3. Talk To Your Sales Team

You can gain a lot of insight from sales in terms of what content will meet the wants and needs of your audience. Nobody knows better than them what your leads’ pain points are, or what challenges and questions arise during the buyer’s journey. Talking to sales helps make sure that you cover all of your content bases, creating content that is usable and valuable to the people you’re writing it for. Plus, you’ll also be providing your sales team with content that can help move their conversations forward. 

4. Establish Guidelines

Consistency is key to quality. Every piece of content that you create should be in harmony with your brand voice and values and should also follow a set of predetermined guidelines around grammar, flow, tone, SEO, and general style.

Create a content guidebook that outlines these best practices. Even a one-page document breaking down the basics will be useful for when you work with new contributing writers, including guest posters or outsourced content creators. Outline both the do’s and the don’ts of your content style, being as specific as you can so that you’re not constantly re-working new content for quality.

5. Have a Distribution Plan in Place

If a piece of content gets published, but nobody ever sees it, was there really a point to producing it in the first place? Not every blog post, how-to guide, and video you produce are going to go viral or make it to position zero on Google, but you should still be strategizing for how you’re going to get as many eyes on it as possible. This will include coordinating your content strategy with your social media and email marketing strategies. Rope sales in as well so they know what’s available and can use the content as they see fit.

There’s no one way to do content marketing, but however you do it, quality needs to be a top priority. Your company has something to say, so make sure you’re saying it in a way that benefits both your brand and your audience, and don’t forget to measure performance to see what’s connecting and what’s not. With quality driving your strategy instead of quantity, you can be sure that you make the right kind of impact with your content.