How’s your content marketing game?

Unless you’re Buzzfeed or Upworthy, it could probably use some work. (And even those content juggernauts are starting to see a slowdown in their numbers.)

No matter where you are in your marketing, you can always do better. Even if you are currently meeting your goals, you could be exceeding them.

It’s time to up your game.

Here are a few content marketing upgrades for your business you should make:

Become a Master of One

Too many people try to become a Jack of All Trades.

But how does that old saying end?

They end up a Master of None.

You need to focus on becoming a Master of One.

Don’t try to be an authoritative source of information on all topics. Instead, focus on becoming an expert on one topic. You will become a trusted source of information, and you will be the site that readers turn to on that subject.

If you try writing about topics on which you are not an expert, you will damage your credibility. Readers won’t come to your site even for information on the topic on which you are an expert. Your reputation will be damaged.

Cultivate your expertise in one topic and then focus on developing a few subtopics.

Keep Testing

Treat your content marketing like an experiment.

Every aspect of your content is a hypothesis about what you think will work. Test that hypothesis to find out what is actually landing with your audience.

For example, the headline style you choose is a hypothesis about what is going to get readers to click on your article. You can test that hypothesis by trying out different headline styles for the same content type and seeing what gets more clicks.

Continue to conduct A/B testing by changing specific elements of your content and seeing which strategies are more effective. You’ll strengthen your copy and increase the return on your investment, whether it’s the money you spend for freelance writers or the time you invest in writing the content yourself.

Get Rid of Gated Content

Unless you’re a content goliath, no one is going to pay for your content.

Putting up a pay wall is only going to cause you to lose visitors. As soon as people see that pop up asking them to pay, they are going to click away to another site.

Keep all your content free and open to all visitors. Don’t even play around with offering a limited number of stories or asking for free subscriptions. People won’t come back.

You’ll make more money on ads and with your email leads by making your content free and generating more visitors than you will with the very few people who will actually cough up a few dollars for your content.

Promote Your Content

Social networking is a great way to promote your new content and get new site visitors. However, the algorithm changes on popular social media sites have made it harder and harder for you to reach even your own followers.

Consider paying to promote your content on sites like Facebook and Twitter to ensure that more people see those posts. The bigger your following, the more visitors you are likely to get to your site as a result.

Network with the Best

Stop treating your competitors like your rivals, and start treating them like potential business partners.

Think about all the followers and site visitors that your biggest competitors have. Now think about what would happen if you were able to address all those people. The easiest way to do that is to create a partnership with those competitors.

Brand partnerships help you to reach more of your audience and to strengthen your authority in your field. No matter how big your own brand gets, you will always get these benefits from partnering with other big brands.

Think about ways you can join together in your content marketing efforts. Perhaps you can publish a white paper together, or maybe you can even develop an online course together. At the very least, you can establish a guest blogging relationship that will allow you to post content on each other’s sites from time to time.

Treat Your Blog Like a Business

Don’t treat your blog like a way to promote your business — treat it as seriously as your business itself.

You need to be focused on the success of your blog as intently as you are focused on the success of your business. Focusing on your blog to help your business will only water down your efforts. Creating a strategy as if the success of the blog itself is the main goal will help you focus and get results faster.

Improving your content marketing will help you increase customer engagement, grow your sales, and improve your opportunities for content monetization. Try these tips to improve your content marketing this year and start meeting your goals.