There are so many types of content today that it can be confusing to understand how to create the right content for your needs. You need content for education, engagement, and inspiration in all aspects of your business.

The best way to create the right content is to know what the various forms of content are, plus what your goals are. You need to know your audience, understand the various things you offer, plus what the goal of any piece of content is before you even start creating it.

* Know Your Audience – You’ve heard this over and over again, because knowing your audience is that important. So many business owners try to skip this process, but it won’t pay off if you do. You must know your audience so well that they think you’re reading their mind.

* Know Your Audience’s Buying Cycle – As you get to know your audience, you need to understand their buying cycle so that you can create effective content for each and every stage of the buying cycle. Remember, the general buying cycle is like this: awareness, assessment of choices, risk alleviation, decision making and finally (after buying) achievement of results. You need to produce content for each part.

* Understand Your Offer Funnel – You should build an offer funnel that also takes into consideration the buying cycle of your audience. That way, you can offer them information and products at each stage of the cycle as it relates to your offer funnel. For example, if they’re still choosing between solutions, you can offer case studies to help them turn toward your product.

* Know the Goal of the Content You Create – When you create any piece of content no matter the form, it’s imperative to know the goal of that piece. Do you want to educate, inform, engage, inspire or something else? That’s where your call to action comes in, because you need to always include a CTA with any content created and published.

* Work Your Brand Story In, but Remember It’s Not About You – It’s important to tell your story from the vantage point of your customers. They really don’t want to know that much about you other than why you’re the right person to help them. They want to know that you started this for them, not for yourself.

* Match Content to Your Launch Schedule – Know what products you’re launching and when. That way you can create the content for these launches in advance so they can be tested for effectiveness and improved over time.

* Follow Trends – While you do want to create most of your content in advance based on your audience’s needs and your launch plans, you also want to include trending information. The way you do this is to keep tabs on what’s happening in your industry and curate content to share, and be willing to write or create content on the spur of the moment based on the news.

* Create a Plan – Everything starts with a good plan. Start with your launches and work your way back to today so that you can make a plan based on your products. Go through the products you have already and create new content for them too. If you do a content audit, you’ll find gaps in coverage that you can fill but that can only happen with good planning.

Creating the right content for your needs takes an understanding of your audience and what your products can do for them. They care about what’s in it for them, and all content should be created with that idea in mind.