If you’re trying to get the most out of your content marketing, you need to understand that it isn’t just about putting information in front of your customers. It’s about having a strategy to augment your brand identity, build trust, and position yourself as a resource that customers can count on even when they’re not making a purchase. To do that requires an approach which is rooted in strategic thinking from beginning to end, where every choice is made with a purpose.

To get those results, you need to remember the difference between tactics and strategy and put strategy first. If you’re not clear on the line between the two, it can be simplified easily. Tactics are the short-term choices you make to advance your goals given your immediate circumstances. They’re important, but by nature they are short-sighted. Strategy, on the other hand, is the guiding principle behind your tactical choices that defines the long-term goals your short-term goals support. Tactical knowledge is important to develop, but strategic knowledge needs to be in place from the get-go, which means advance planning before rolling out a new content marketing campaign.

That’s the next thing to remember. Since you need in-depth planning to deliver content marketing that effectively covers all the bases you need to cover, it’s helpful to break your efforts into campaigns with discrete goals and limited time frames. This allows you to task teams with specific campaigns, which in turn gives you the opportunity to plan a campaign while the previous one is running, giving you a fluid content production calendar while still ensuring you are doing the strategic planning necessary to keep your tactics in line with your strategies.

Finally, don’t be shy about rethinking your strategy if it is not getting you what you want. It takes a long time to reposition your tactics if you shift strategy, but that investment is worthwhile if your current efforts turn out to be less productive than desired. Since strategy is long-term, it takes a long time to decide when you should change. This is another thing that discrete campaigns can help with—by looking at the data after each one, you can begin to build a longer-term vision of your marketing and your brand growth. That’s really what content marketing is all about—establishing the long-term relationship with customers that makes you an authority in your field, not just another competitor on the game board.