Dare we say it? Yep: Content Is King. This ubiquitous digital marketing buzzphrase, rivalled only by “20XX will be the Year of Mobile” in being routinely bandied about over the past decade or so, might be a cliche, but it’s rarely been more true.
Content is the very heart of any brand communications campaign, providing as it does the opportunity for businesses not just to capture the attention and consideration of their target customers, but to demonstrate a multitude of other things such as their expertise, approach and values as well.
The new content marketing challenge
The thing is, set against a backdrop in which there are not just dozens of digital customer touchpoints but also countless competitors lining up to share their story, the task of creating content that cuts through the noise, says all the right things in all the right places, captures attention and drives consideration can be no mean feat.
Indeed, the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 report on Enterprise content marketing showed that 74 per cent of marketing teams struggle with the coordination and planning of multichannel content. This leads to other issues, such as a tendency to find shortcuts or cut corners - due to the demands of content management, only 50 per cent of marketers said that they prioritised matching content to its intended audience and channel.
The need to publish compelling content that fits into a wider strategy across a variety of different channels and formats is one of the main reasons brands and agencies have got smarter about ideation and production over the past few years. There are several popular approaches to driving this efficiency within campaigns, but one of our favourites is the Create Once, Publish Everywhere, or COPE, methodology.
What is the Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE) approach?
First of all, it’s worth saying the methodology isn’t new: it was developed around a decade ago by US outlet NPR, as a means of putting out tailored content in an efficient way across a range of media. But in the intervening years, the approach has been adopted by brands and agencies looking to find a streamlined way of ideating, planning, producing and managing content in an increasingly multichannel environment.
The basic principle and the way in which it has been applied to marketing is simple. At its heart, the methodology allows for consistent messaging across channels and platforms, delivered with operational efficiency. Proponents each have their own take, but COPE is mainly centred on the creation of a compelling campaign idea or content asset that is then cut down, remixed, reformatted and republished as required across a brand’s owned channels. The approach of coming up with one BIG IDEA and pushing it out across all the right touchpoints brings significant efficiencies, especially at the ideation stage. Rather than conceiving hundreds of different assets for publishing, teams can focus on the conception of a single campaign idea or asset and then work on translating that into tailored formats.
The obvious caveat is that you don’t simply slice and dice your campaign content until it fits into a tweet, for example. Thought still needs to be given to the different channels and how content will be formatted and published there. While not all content will be relevant to all channels, more often than not it can be remixed in a way that will be well-received by the audience. On the subject of audiences, consideration needs to be given there, too. People use social channels in different ways and for different reasons; and their consumption habits shift in line with the platform they are using. Understanding your audiences and their behaviours in relation to your content is a key building block in achieving success with COPE.
Combining a BIG IDEA with a deep understanding of channels and audiences brings greater efficiency, of course, but also delivers brand benefits: findings in Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer Special Report showed that, when prospect customers interact with a brand’s content across six channels as opposed to just one, trust in the brand increases by 55 per cent. So it pays to make sure your campaign creative is tailored for and published across a number of platforms.
COPE or CORE?
Given the above-mentioned need to tweak and tailor, it has been suggested - and it’s a suggestion we tend to agree with - that the COPE methodology should be renamed CORE, for Create Once, Repurpose Everywhere. Certainly, this would fit in with one of the main principles of content marketing, which teaches us to come up with compelling content of value to our audiences and then reformat and make use of that content across all the different owned, earned and paid media touchpoints available to use and across all the different stages of the prospect customers purchase journey. But whether it’s COPE or CORE, the essence is the same: it’s about getting the most mileage out of your content ideas in the most efficient way.
Key benefits of a CORE content marketing strategy
There are lots of reasons we choose to structure our campaigns around the COPE or CORE methodology, which fall into two main categories.
>> More reach - if your content marketing strategy still exists exclusively on your website blog, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Making use of all the owned channels available to you, particularly social and video, increases the number of content touchpoints and helps your brand be seen by more people.
>> More impact - multichannel, multi-device customer journeys are increasingly the norm, and while, as cautioned above, effort should be made to tailor the messaging to fit the platform, having the audience be exposed to it consistently and repeatedly will aid recall and trust.
>> More efficiency - on an operational level, putting in place robust campaign structures and content workflows will allow for the efficient production and repurposing of compelling content. Getting the people and processes right for your team will make content marketing more streamlined and sustainable.
Planning and executing multichannel campaigns is one of the most considerable challenges faced by marketing teams. If you need assistance or advice, we’d love to help. Feel free to send us a message here or call on 0161 848 4300 and one of our experts will be happy to chat.