We preach the value of content to anyone who will listen. A strong content strategy is beneficial for your user experience, your website’s organic presence and for your social channels.

The brands that achieve the most success creating and syndicating their original content are the ones who put in the extra work to craft a detailed plan. Here are five important questions to ask before you get started developing your own content plan:

How do you want content to impact your digital strategy?

Producing regular content for your brand can help your digital presence in a number of ways. If you’re looking for a bigger lift in your organic results when you start producing content, be sure to do your research and create content with search-engine friendly keywords and headlines. Content to improve the customer experience on your website should consider frequently asked questions or common issues. If you want to produce content to drive traffic and engagement from social media channels, spend some time crafting topics and headlines appealing enough for a user to click through from Facebook or Twitter.

How does your target audience prefer to consume content?

Think about the habits of your target audience. Determining the type of content likely to resonate with them is absolutely vital for your success. Some audiences may prefer brief blog posts about industry topics while others may only have enough attention span for a six-second Vine. If your audience is more into visual content, consider an Instagram or video focused strategy.

What are your content creation resources?

Creating content takes a lot of time. Even a short 500 word blog post (writing, editing, approval to publish) can take at least two hours of time. If you’re hoping to produce two blog posts a week, that’s at least 16 hours a month someone needs to spend on content. Do you have someone internally with that much bandwidth who can produce quality content? Or do you have enough budget to outsource the work to an agency (who may be more efficient at content production)?

Who is in charge?

Someone needs to manage the production and scheduling of your content. It’s good to designate one person to be a traffic manager to track deadlines. This person doesn’t always need to be one of your content producers but it’s good for it to be someone who is part of the brainstorming and scheduling of content so they have an understanding of the goals. Using an agency can make this easier for you because of their experience managing multiple content resources.

How and when does it get to your audience?

Once you know what type of content you’re going to produce and who is going to create it for you, you need to determine a schedule for where and when it gets published. Does that awesome infographic get published as a blog post or do you distribute it on social media first? Create your content plan in conjunction with your social media calendar at least 30 days in advance. This gives you a solid foundation of content for the next month and gives you the flexibility to respond easier to real-time events as they happen.

Start Simple and Evolve

Brands such as Coca-Cola, BuzzFeed and others are experts at content production and can reach a variety of audiences with content across multiple mediums. Can your brand get there eventually? Of course! But if you’re just starting your first content plan, I’d recommend starting simple. As you develop an efficient process, you can grow into a more complex plan and take your content to the next level.