In today’s world, content is churned out at an astonishing rate. To cut through the clutter and reach your customer base, it is critical to approach your content development in a programmatic and thoughtful way, usually by creating an impactful content strategy. Here are four tips to keep in mind:

1. Have clear goals.

Approach your content strategy with a specific goal in mind. It might be to “increase audience engagement,” or “increase brand awareness.” Think about what you want to achieve and construct all steps to support the end result.

In addition to one overarching goal, it might also be useful to establish a smaller series of milestones. This way you can benchmark and measure your success as you produce new content.

2. Know your audience.

Keep your target reader in mind—especially his or her goals, challenges and interests. To do this, create an audience persona describing your average consumer or consumers. As an example, this might be someone who is a fraud manager at a financial institution and needs a way to reduce the number of manual transaction reviews.

You can go into much more detail. This step may take some initial market research, but it would provide a clearer image of your target reader and his or her goals and challenges.

It might also be useful to find out what your target audience is reading and where there are information gaps. From there, you can fill in the gaps with your unique and informative perspective. You might even find new industry questions that you can answer, further solidifying your role as an industry visionary..

3. Look inside for opportunities.

With your goals and target audience in mind, perform an audit of your existing content. Review past materials to create new opportunities.

In your review, you might find topics that could be expanded. As examples, there might be opportunities to provide additional insight into trends, or forecast where an industry is headed. Perhaps there was a past message that resonated well with your audience and you can provide some elaboration.

4. Create a timeline.

Once you’ve thought everything through, create a plan with established benchmarks. At this stage it is a good practice to plan your content by month, indicating your target audience, topics you’ll discuss, and how you’ll share the content—either on social media, a company website, email or other information channel.

Regularly evaluate the performance of your content against your established goals. Use your results to determine what works and what doesn’t for upcoming articles, social media and blog posts, etc.