There’s no doubt in my mind that if marketers were on Whisper, there’d be hundreds of “My content marketing strategy is a total and utter failure and I don’t know why” posts circulating around the anonymous app.

But tons of people would relate because content marketing isn’t easy.

In order to be successful, brands must continuously create valuable content for their customers to keep them engaged for the long-term. Sounds beautiful, but it’s become more of an idyllic dream than an attainable goal these days. According to a recent report from Forrester, marketers aren’t seeing results because they often lack the resources, talent, commitment, and patience to stick with their content marketing strategy.

And unfortunately, they’re their own worst enemies.

The biggest reason why content marketing efforts fail? Many marketers are stuck in their old ways; unable to imagine a strategy that isn’t a short-term campaign. As a result, they’re completely overlooking the fact that content must be delivered to consumers on a regular basis. They’re also failing to create and distribute valuable content to consumers—and that’s a huge problem.

RELATED: What You’re Doing Wrong With Content Marketing

In order to reap the benefits of content marketing, you absolutely MUST do the following:

Change Your Mindset

You’ve heard it time and time again, but are you really listening? Content marketing is not a campaign; it’s a strategy that should be ingrained in your daily marketing efforts. Erase the finite ways of Old Marketing from your brain and think of it as a marketing philosophy that’s centered on the need for businesses to get real with consumers. 

Create Audience-Centric Content

Valuable content should entertain, educate, or inform your target audience about something—but not anything. A cute puppy rolling down a hill will surely garner some hits and elicit some Aws, but unless you sell dog food, keep it relevant to your brand. But don’t explicitly talk about your brand, because that’s advertising.

Identify Distribution Channels

If you publish content but don’t send it out, will anyone read it? No. Unless they already know you create content and visit your site daily for new posts, you need a distribution strategy to get your content out there and maximize eyeballs. This can include email blasts, social media, and aggregator platforms, just to name a few.

Measure Content

To discover if your content is effective or not, you’re going to need some analytics. Not only is this the best way to determine if your tactics are working, but it’s also a great way to optimize future content. Have a post that garnered thousands of views? You should probably cover more on that topic.

Wait

If it’s “already been a month” since you launched your content strategy and you’re not seeing results, that doesn’t mean a thing. It can take time for content brands to gain momentum, so you need a little patience. The audience is cynical, and you need to prove to them that you are putting their interests first. 

Repeat

Technology and the ways in which we communicate are constantly changing, so the content strategy you created a year ago might need to adapt as well. Always ask yourself if there’s a new channel to distribute your content, a new story your audience might find interesting, or a new way to get even better analytics. The principles of content might stay the same, but there’s always a way to make it better.