In 2016, we find ourselves at a pivotal point in the history of internet marketing and online business. Finally, after years of touting the benefits of investing in an online presence and producing high quality, original content to engage the masses, businesses have started to listen. From small businesses on the corner of your street to major corporations in downtown Manhattan, everyone is investing in content marketing.

However, while businesses have long been told about the benefits an investment in content marketing yields, very few are actually experiencing these high returns. The reason is that there’s simply too much noise. With millions of businesses producing blogs, articles, and other forms of content, we’ve ultimately reached a point of total content saturation. As a result, any individual piece of content a company produces is devalued from the start.

3 Ways to Rise Above the Noise

In order to enjoy a healthy return on your content marketing efforts, you must find ways to stand out. It’s the only way to survive in a saturated internet marketplace that’s full of low quality work.

Here are a few specific ways you can rise above the noise:

1. Don’t Tiptoe Around

So many content marketing strategies err on the side of caution. And while this is a good idea in some situations, the truth is that safe content rarely gets noticed. You need to do something to produce an emotional response.

“Every single day, I get inspiration for more stuff I want to write about and reveal and share my opinion on,” says Tim Sykes, one of the world’s most successful penny stock traders and coaches. “Sometimes, I purposely put forth a very strong opinion to get a reaction from people and create the debate. To start a fire you need kindling.”

2. Take a Contrarian Stance

Content saturation happens when everyone ends up on the same side of the conversation. Sometimes you need to take a contrarian stance just to stand out. This is exactly what content marketer James Scherer does.

“When Matt Cutts said guest blogging for SEO is dead, I took the opposite point of view,” Scherer reveals. “When Veritasium released a YouTube video stating that ‘advertising your page on Facebook is a waste of money,’ I responded quickly and emphatically that they were working with incomplete information and that their conclusions were hasty at best (and downright dangerous at worst).”

This doesn’t mean you have to write things against what you believe, but you should expose the other side of the argument. If nothing else, it’ll ensure your content stands out.

3. Make Things Personal

There’s a time and place for general content. With that being said, the majority of your content should be highly personal in nature. This is the only way you’ll produce any returns.

How do you make things personal, you may ask? Target specific titles (CEO, writer, baseball player, single parent, etc.), use words that speak to the specific stage of the buyer’s journey, or hone in on geo-specific locations.

These techniques will narrow your audience, but they’ll also give your content more clout within individual niches. Most would agree that it’s better to connect with a few relevant targets than to reach a large group of disinterested targets.

Make Your Content Stand Out

Do you have a documented content marketing strategy? According to the 2016 B2C Content Marketing Trends report, only 37 percent of companies do. However, it’s clear that having a documented strategy is one of the keys to being successful in such a saturated marketplace.

Begin working on a documented strategy today so your content can truly stand out.