Five years ago, a business could reach a critical mass for growing business leads by publishing 20 blogs.

If you’re still using that benchmark today, you’re about 380 blogs behind.

Since 2010, the number of blogs needed to start penetrating search results and generating leads has skyrocketed to nearly 400 blogs. For a small business or a large corporation, accumulating a hefty blog archive and finding a way to break through the saturation of nearly any topic seems daunting. Consumers are bombarded with similar results by multiple sources, and businesses are faced with the question of whether or not to publish yet another blog about blogging.

What makes your blog stand out among hundreds of nearly identical results?

Content marketing is a critical component to most marketing strategies, but if you’re struggling to catch a reader’s attention, you’re not alone. In an age of content overload, it can be tough to determine how (or if) your business will benefit from writing a blog. We heard from a few content marketers at the 2015 MnSearch event about digital marketing secrets at Spyder Trap in Minneapolis. Here’s what we learned from content experts Lindsey Graff and Diane Kulseth from Denamico:

Making the Jump

Before you get a jump start on drafting those 400 blogs, take a step back to determine if blogging really is a good fit for your business. What does your competition look like? Conduct a thorough landscape analysis to see where you stand and how you’ll be able to dive in to the pool of blogs already available online and beat content saturation.

Don’t just assume you can post at your own will. Determine your desired frequency of posts and how often you can realistically publish them. Thinking of starting a daily blog? Great. But if you begin to publish blogs once a week, your schedule may soon fade into “whenever you feel like it,” and you’re risking the loss of potential loyal readers.

Resonating with Readers

Yes, someone will probably find value in what you publish. But it’s critical to realize who you’re writing for and what’s going to provide value and answer questions for them. You might be writing about a topic that’s hot for millennials, but if your audience personas don’t fit this label, you might want to reconsider your topic. Similarly, expertise on financial trends might not mean anything to your creative-minded consumers.

There are valuable tools online that can assist you with persona development. From there, you can better incorporate your consumers’ values and insights into your business. Are there specific areas in which your readers are struggling? Pain points might be a struggle for certain groups, but that means an excellent opportunity for you to address those needs and offer insights through blogging.

Lastly, have conversations with consumers, through surveys, polls, or even straightforward conversations. Your consumers aren’t all going to be at the same point in their journeys, but you can trigger interactions that will give you a better idea of what’s relevant to them—what those stages of the journey are. By recognizing your customers’ goals, challenges and behaviors, you can create content that’s going to resonate with them instead of contributing to content saturation. Did we mention some of these tools are even free?

Growing Through Outreach

You’ve decided to blog, you’ve drawn your personas and you’ve written a killer piece on SEO tools you know your consumers will crave. But if you’re not reaching out to those consumers in effective ways, it might as well be for nothing

Do your research. Where are your consumers going to access your blogs? Outreach is a critical part of making your content visible and accessible to ensure it’s reaching its full potential instead of another piece contributing to content saturation.

Focus on where your users are and consider different influencer outreach methods as well as organic growth. Converting traffic on your blog into leads is a prime benefit of having a blog in the first place—share buttons and calls to action for other valuable content or your newsletter are musts. Title tags and meta descriptions are another way to attract more visitors to your post with compelling copy, so brainstorm innovative titles that users won’t want to scroll past.

Measuring Results

One big mistake businesses are making is falling into a trap of monotony. Just because you’re following a diligent blog schedule with relevant keywords doesn’t mean you’re going to get hundreds of new customers every day. Make sure it’s actually working: blogging without knowing how you’re doing is nearly pointless.

By measuring your results, you’ll be able to better understand what content is working and what’s not. Keep an eye on social media shares, leads and inbound links and you’ll be better equipped to alter your approach if needed. Consider having a guest blogger once a month in order to shake up your strategy. Accompany your blogs with e-books and videos and research successful content to repurpose.

Blogging can be a huge asset to your business, increasing visibility, generating leads and building credibility. Though blogging can require extensive research and a carefully planned content schedule, blogging the right way can elevate your brand or business to new heights. Don’t be too intimidated by the hundreds of unwritten blogs hanging over your head—you’ve got a good start if your strategy is on the right track.

What content marketing strategies have worked for you? Not sure where to start? Sound off in the comments!