Feed Your Hungry Content Channels With a Powerful COPE-ing Strategy

Why companies should COPE Why is it so critical that content creators find ways to increase production efficiency? To COPE, as Stephanie uses the term, is to envision from the get-go how you might refashion an especially promising content idea over and over to serve multiple purposes on multiple channels. According to Stephanie, three features are essential to making COPE work: A rich narrative: If you have a strong, resonant story to tell, you can extend its life by telling it across multiple formats and platforms. Make sure they appeal to your publishing (amplification) partners: To be accepted on professional media, other brand, and influencer platforms, your efforts must conform to the quality, topic, and stylistic standards their audiences have come to expect. The thing that Stephanie talks about “creating once” isn’t a reusable piece of content but a content idea with a lot of potential. Bringing her COPE approach to her role at Zillow, Stephanie discovered that not only can “optimizing for awesomeness” save her team time and money, but it exponentially increases the impact of their content — sometimes as much as 100-fold. Starting with a post for the Zillow Porchlight blog and an email campaign, the Zillow team soon found ways to extend Leah Wymer and Brady Ryan’s story across platforms. Through its COPE strategy, Zillow was able to exponentially increase views of the original blog post and the YouTube video over the course of several weeks as people were seeing the same basic story on higher-profile media sites. Want more on content strategy for marketers? If you’re like many other marketers we meet, you’ll come to look forward to his thoughts every Saturday.

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Your great content is not a tasty snack, it’s a full-on feast — if you know how to ‘COPE.’ From articles to videos to photo galleries, it’s easier than you think to increase the impact of your work via social media, email, and syndication to a content-hungry world.” – Stephanie Reid-Simmons, director of content marketing at Zillow
COPE stands for “create once, publish everywhere,” and represents a highly sustainable technique of building strong, foundational assets that can be expressed in different forms and easily adapted for use on multiple content channels — as part of a single, unified process.
Though likely coined by National Public Radio in reference to specific content management tools the broadcast service was building, the phrase has come to represent an important strategic shift in how content can — and, arguably, should — be developed. When planned and managed thoughtfully, COPE content enables marketers to satisfy their audience’s increasingly voracious appetite for quality content — without overstraining their team’s resources to the point of a breakdown (nervous, operational, or otherwise).

Why companies should COPE


Why is it so critical that content creators find ways to increase production efficiency? Consider this: According to our 2017 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research, of the 62% of marketers who feel they became more successful at content marketing over the past year, 85% credit more efficient creation of high-quality content as a key contributor.
What’s even more interesting is that, of those who report that their content marketing programs had stagnated (28%) or even declined (3%) over the last year, almost half cite content creation challenges, and slightly over half cite an insufficient time commitment as reasons for their program’s failure to thrive.
Need more evidence that businesses can no longer afford to ride things out without addressing their content productivity problems head-on? Consider some tough love recently delivered by Joe Pulizzi, which boils down to this: Companies that aren’t able (or willing) to fully commit to delivering high-quality content on a consistent basis might be better off ceasing their content operations altogether.
COPE helps address gaps in content capabilities by enabling marketers to squeeze greater value from their efforts. To COPE, as Stephanie uses the term, is to envision from the get-go how you might refashion an especially promising content idea over and over to serve multiple purposes on multiple channels. Rather than build every asset from scratch, you plan to repurpose, reconstruct, and reposition your best content ideas in various ways to get the most out of them.

What it takes to COPE

 
In her top-rated session at Content Marketing World 2016, Stephanie described the technique in detail and illustrated how brands can leverage it — not only to amp production and increase efficiency but to maximize the impact of every asset produced.
According to Stephanie, three features are essential to making COPE work:
  1. A rich narrative: If you have a strong,
    resonant story to tell, you can extend its life by telling it
    across multiple formats and platforms.
 
  1. A powerful concept: When you come up with a
    unique idea or even just something fun that people will talk about,
    it’s worth doubling down.
 
  1. A plan: You need a thoughtful
    framework
    that governs what, when, where, and how you will
    atomize your best content.
 

Learning how to COPE


As Stephanie mentions, not everything COPEs universally: There will always be ideas that kill it in a specific channel, but get killed in others. However, just because an idea might not translate to every possible publishing platform doesn’t mean you have to abandon it altogether. You just need to prioritize the ones that offer the strongest potential to suit your primary marketing purpose.
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