As a marketer, you’ve been trained to package efforts as campaigns. For decades, marketing has put together programs that have a beginning, a middle and an end. But the buyer’s journey and the nature of marketing have changed, and now only fools willingly end the conversation with the audience.

With content marketing, we have to put that campaign mindset to rest. Content marketing doesn’t end. If you’re doing it well it becomes an everlasting effort that binds you closer and closer to your audience. Once you start, if you’re doing it well, you’re not going to stop. You must “think outside the campaign.” That phrase comes from a recent message from the Content Marketing Institute. I subscribe to their content, and you probably do too, and that’s the point. I am in their circle, and I have a relationship with them. I trust their content (even if I don’t always agree with it).

The point is that you’re trying to create an everlasting relationship with your customers. You’re working to build an audience that you can hold tightly, without having to rely upon some other entities audience. That means that instead of building campaigns upon a media outlets platform, you’re creating your own platform. Ultimately, you’ll be less reliant on traditional media, and you’ll have a direct relationship with the audience.

But if you insist upon a living within a campaign paradigm, you’ll be trapped. You’ll never get beyond your reliance on other media platforms for access to an audience.

Look around at the state of the media – do you really want to rely on them? That’s not the way I would bet.

The evidence is clear that the best marketing today is not based upon making the sale; it’s based upon building trust so that the sale eventually can occur. Once there is trust, the sale often happens rather easily. But, like any relationship, trust can’t be rushed. It must be earned, and the way to earn it is to give something to your audience – help them do their jobs or make their lives a little bit easier.

Because your customers have so many choices now, you have to make the first move to draw them in. You have to make an “editorial promise” to them. And then you need to keep that promise.

And that promise shouldn’t end. Calling it a campaign means that you’re promise only lasts a little while. You’re truncating the possibilities when you bring a campaign mindset to the relationship. Instead of maintaining contact and building trust off into the distance, you’re quitting.

That’s old school thinking, and it ignores the reality of the way today’s buyer behaves. So leave your campaign mindset behind. It’s what your customers wants, and it’s the smart way forward.