Even though distribution is the final phase of content creation, it’s something you should think about first and foremost.

Many publishers are already realizing the importance of content distribution. Job titles like “Publisher of Digital Media” and “Publishing & Distribution Manager” are popping up left and right.

But why does the content creation and marketing industry suddenly care about distribution? In today’s digital media world, great content means nothing without an audience.

In order to get that great content to the right sets of eyes, you must ask the right questions in the early content planning stages.

1. Where are you publishing?

Whether you’re publishing content to your blog, Facebook or Pinterest (hopefully, it’s all three), you should have a full list of destinations prior to creating the content itself.

Knowing these distribution points will help you get ahead of issues that you may experience down the line. Incorrect context, format or audience targeting could mean reworking the entire project. Before you know it, your budget is blown and you have nothing to show for it.

To avoid this fate, ask yourself and your content team a few questions about your final content destination: If you’re creating an infographic, have you determined the dimensions for the site or network where it will live? If it’s a blog post that will also be posted on Facebook, should you also create a photo share for the latter?

2. When are you going to publish?

Digital marketing doesn’t rest. Any solid content marketing strategy must be consistently aligned with internal initiatives, campaigns and seasonal trends. You also have to keep those Googlebots entertained, so that means publishing content regularly.

The best way to do both of those things is to build a project timeline and publishing calendar for each individual content campaign. Not only will you complete the creation stage on time, you can prioritize particular topics, brands or dates.

3. Who is consuming your published content?

Take a look at how your brand ambassadors are engaging and interacting with your content. What do they share, retweet or pin?

Your existing content can also offer a lot of insight. For example, what are your most viewed pieces of content? Perhaps most importantly, do you have any content that’s performed well in converting views to sales?

Finally, review your high-level data and insights to find out where your gaps are, and focus on refreshing and updating your seasonal and/or popular content.

4. How is your audience consuming your content?

While new creative trends are extremely attractive and fun, the format must be the right fit for your audience experience and publishing strategy.

For example, before you sell your boss on a brand new interactive format, make sure the majority of your audience isn’t going to view it on a mobile device or tablet. The interactive experience may work well on desktops but not on other devices.

This is especially true of visual content. As more and more consumers access content on multiple devices, you will need to consider whether you should optimize your content for desktop, mobile, tablet or watch (kidding … kind of).