When it comes to creating a content marketing strategy, it’s easy to feel pulled in a million directions. From email to social media to blogs to SEO efforts – your to-do list can feel impossibly long. So how do you create a content marketing strategy that doesn’t waste time or effort- but still builds leads and maintains your existing relationships?

First, if you’ve already been dabbling at content marketing, look at what’s working. It’s called the 80/20 rule – figure out what’s working the best (email? SEO?) and reinvest your extra effort into those channels. Focus on your top-performing channels, and put your efforts into those.

If you aren’t sure what’s performing best, you need Analytics. Google Analytics is one of the industry standards, and can give you a wealth of information (maybe even more than you need). Hubspot is also a good option if you also need a CRM, especially for small businesses who want an all-in-one solution. Armed with this data, you can figure out if your content is driving leads, or whether people are coming back and making a purchase on your site within a certain amount of time.

Then you need a CMS to actually send out your content. WordPress is among the most popular options, and for good reason. It’s extremely customizable, yet still easy to use. You can add lots of plugins for SEO, social media sharing, and more. A quality CMS saves you time, so you’re not having to design a new page every time you want to post a blog.

Once you have a sense of which platforms you’re going to focus on, you need to set up a calendar and workflow system. There are lots of options out there, like Asana, Airtable, and Coschedule. This allows you to take other team members, set deadlines, and have an at-a-glance look at everything you’re publishing in the next month.  You can even add other departments to your calendar so they also know what’s going on with the marketing team.

A social media scheduling system can be a huge help for content marketer, and will make your strategy easier to execute. Buffer is a great option, as it allows you to upload images, create captions, and schedule across platform. The calendar system Coschedule also allows you to set up corresponding social campaigns with your WordPress blogs.

For an efficient content marketing strategy, it comes down to prioritization. You need to ask yourself “why.”

Why are we posting this blog?

Why are we putting effort into this social media platform?

Why is this a topic we’re covering?

After you have the why, you need to go back and see if it worked. Content marketing is not about resting on your laurels and continuing to do what worked in the past. Because while you might still get leads on a blog topic you wrote years ago, it’s probably time to change your strategy. Content marketing allows you to innovate and try new things, so take advantage and think outside the box. Don’t just do something because that’s what the other guys are doing – get some data to back it up.