To write, or not to write? That’s hardly the question.

An organized content marketing calendar is all well and good — but all the organization in the world won’t make a difference if your strategy isn’t up to snuff!

Although adapting age-old marketing techniques might temporarily boost your visibility, the truth is, what works for one business might not work for another. Sometimes it takes going back to the basics to reinvigorate your strategy and maximize your chances of success. With that in mind, here are the questions you should be asking before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) so you can build your best-case game plan from the ground up.

1. What is our goal?

As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said,”if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.” Setting clear, achievable goals for your team is the only way to make sure your marketing strategy stays on track.

When you’re setting goals for your team, make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, that is. According to Professor of Management Robert S. Rubin, this acronym “embodies the fundamental practices necessary for achieving increased motivation and improving the odds that one will actually accomplish a given set of goals.”

If you’re not sure where to begin, it’s often useful to revisit your less successful content initiatives — what went wrong? What could you have done differently? Once you’ve come up with a few goals that meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria, you’ll be well on your way to developing a strategy that reflects your company’s unique needs.

2. What target audience can help us satisfy that goal?

Whatever your goals may be, identifying your target audience can play a key role in helping you reach them. After all, marketing your service is all about knowing who’s buying (or who’s interested in buying) what you’re selling.

So who is your target audience? Rather than writing them off as a collection of anonymous consumers, try creating specific marketing personas to spice up your strategy. By painting a clearer picture of your consumer base, you can create content that is more relevant to their needs and interests.

3. What valuable experience can we deliver at a key stage of their journey?

When you’re deciding what kind of content should be on the docket next quarter, ask yourself this: what burning questions can you provide the best answer to? Put another way, what services or knowledge can you furnish your consumers with in order to alleviate the pain points in their personal or professional lives?

Although any blog post is better than none, a carefully crafted brand publication will provide much more value to potential consumers than one-off pieces of content. Think of yourself as a one-stop shop for the solutions they want and the information they need. By establishing yourself as an expert within your niche, you’ll be surprised at how much new traffic — from consumers and competitors alike — you’ll be able to attract.

4. What makes OUR approach to delivering this value different?

Your company is one-of-a-kind — so why should your content be any different? As Shaun Young mentioned in a recent interview with L&T, content marketing is all about telling a story; “those who can tell their story in a complete, compelling way,” he claimed, “have an outsized shot at winning.”

So yes, create content that your target audience wants and needs — but be sure to put your own special spin on it! By marching to the beat of your own drum, you’ll not only get their attention in the short-term; you’ll also capture their lasting interest and loyalty.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.