I love it when a plan comes together. —Hannibal Smith, The A-Team

Have you decided it’s time to create a content strategy? Ready, set…plan.

The first stage of a content strategy should be to plan; otherwise how would you know what you’re trying to create a strategy for? Your planning phase should include plenty of discovery so that you understand how you and your organization currently create content and what kind of content you need.

Here are some keys to planning your content strategy.

Know your audience

We create compelling content by defining who the content is for. We can find this out through metrics, which show us who you existing users are and what they want. We also want to find people who aren’t yet using your site, but should be. We can learn about them through interviews.

We also conduct competitive analysis to see what your potential audience encounters elsewhere. All these elements come together to lay the basis for your content strategy.

Identify goals and objectives

Once you know who you are creating content for, you need to document what those users want to do on your site. That could mean registering for an event, applying for admission to your school, or just learning more about a topic.

And don’t forget about yourself: what do you need from the site? What are you trying to say with your content? How can the site’s content improve your work?

Document and share

After you’ve identified these elements, make sure you write the findings into a document that you can refer to and share with those who need to understand the goals of your content strategy. You can prevent a lot of issues down the line by getting everybody to agree on the goals at the beginning.