CMWorld Recap: Stephanie Reid-Simons Feeds Hungry Content Channels

There’s just something about a presenter who has worked with Amazon to make you snap to attention. That’s just one of the facts of Stephanie Reid-Simons’ background that lets you know she’s an expert in her field. Now as Director of Content Marketing Strategy for the real estate giant Zillow, she is at the pinnacle of content creation. People go crazy for her content, honestly.

Kelly R is a 5-Star Writer at WriterAccess.

Kelly R is a 5-Star Writer at WriterAccess.

Listening to her tips and tricks in a workshop forum is a pleasure, since she is so upfront and candid with her extensive knowledge. In her session at this year’s Content Marketing Conference, Cope With Hungry Content Channels: What the ‘Create Once, Publish Everywhere’ Approach is, and How It Can Maximize Everything You Create In Social and Beyond, I got a front row seat at the stage of her vast experience. It might be a long title for a workshop, but Reid-Simons managed to boil down the substance of her craft to something that anyone can understand clearly.

Reid-Simons’ resume is nothing short of impressive. She was on the forefront of Amazon’s digital content ten years ago when she worked for them, basically in her own one-woman department of content creation. One example of how she got “content for days,” as she described it, was when she interviewed the cast of the Big Bang Theory. All she had to do was connect consumers to content they would enjoy. Targeting this highly sought-after cast was a boon to her work. It got shared again and again, cementing her expertise in creating COPE content.

What Exactly Is COPE?

COPE as a content creation strategy is fairly easy to understand. It means “Create Once, Publish Everywhere.” A simple acronym that is memorable. Reid-Simmons made it clear that she didn’t create COPE, but has managed to make it effective in her own work. In fact NPR came up with the concept when they were using it to produce various stories across many different content channels.

When you create content for a brand, ideally you want it to perform on multiple forums such as blogs, videos, email, social media, and the golden pinnacle, syndication. Everyone wants syndication. An example that Reid-Simons spoke about is how Zillow came up with their tiny house posts. They tapped into the fact that everyone is a little obsessed with the tiny house movement. By showcasing this through Snapchat and blog posts, they were able to get picked up by Yahoo Realty. Then other channels followed suit. The more channels that pick up your content, the better your ROI. The end game is getting more people interested in your brand, and more clicks on your website. It’s just that simple.

Newspapers Did Not COPE

Reid-Simons believes that the reason why newspapers are a dying industry is that they failed to use COPE. They don’t move fast enough to keep up with the constant demand that the internet serves its consumers. Reid-Simons says that “awesome ideas deserve an audience and you should optimize for awesomeness.”

That being said, her tiny house post received 270,000 views in only 12 days. It was featured across multiple platforms such as Forbes, AOL Real Estate, and Yahoo Home. Multiple partner pickups means that your content is traveling to where the people are looking. Content that isn’t seen and digested is a pointless failure. Reid-Simons is used to success and results from the COPE strategy. Plus, I can’t deny that she’s an expert storyteller.

Storytelling Saves Time and Money

Storytelling matters. Its reach means so much and can’t be overstated. Great storytelling, in Reid-Simons’ opinion, lives on forever, at least in people’s minds. Having a rich, narrative with a powerful concept and a plan in place is going to make seizing the storytelling moment work for your brand.

Communication among teams is integral to the process. That means having the right editorial calendar in place, with regular meetings, and a clear communication plan. You want to target things in a channel-specific way that will enhance your ideas by promoting them to the fullest extent. “Be respectable, not repetitive” is one of Reid-Simons mottos. Key performance indicators (KPI) are going to net you more views of your content. Well, at least if it comes from Reid-Simons very capable brain.

To Get Syndication You Want To Do This

Her steps to syndication are very clear. This is next level COPE theory, so pay attention:

  • Personal Connection
  • Thoughtful Engagement
  • Earn Trust (Journalistic approach)
  • Collaboration
  • Persistence

With this strategic plan in place, you’ll be able to fuel multiple campaigns in thriving content channels that people are going to see. She ended with an “ICYMI” moment, which in case you don’t know what that means, it stands for “in case you missed it.” She thought it was funny that people didn’t know what that meant. I’m a little embarrassed to say, I didn’t know either.

Reid-Simons summarized everything she said and took a few key questions from the audience.  Being in the front row was an informative way to spend 45 minutes. As she says, “let nothing you create go to waste!” In a content hungry world, every bit is usable.

Kelly R is a Beauty Editor and Copywriter. She has written for many different online and print publications including Allure, Mode Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Seminole and The New Yorker.

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