Content first cope made easy


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Although NPR socialised the COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere) acronym, the concept has been around for a couple of decades. There are two basic COPE variants, which work in very different ways. Learn the differences and application for each type, in five easy minutes. Presented as a Lightning Talk at Together London, Feb 2014.

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  • This is a bit of a whirlwind tour of how you get to a COPE architecture.I also want to clarify that "making COPE easy" refers to the explanation of it, not the implementation. That's more complex and much harder.
  • COPE is the acronym for Create Once, Publish Everywhere, made famous by NPR. How I would describe it is as a "hub and spoke" model of creating a content master, with automated re-use for various purposes.So why would we want to use a COPE architecture?
  • Findability is a big reason.There's the content that you see, the editorial side.And then there's what Google sees, which is the technical side. You want your content to be understood by the search engines, and COPE helps with that.
  • Personalisation is another reason.Knowing what content is right for each person is key here.In this example, these are all "iPad adapters" but each person has a different "right" adapter. Being able to deliver to customers the “right” content is a strength of COPE.
  • Feeding multiple delivery channels.To close a window…On a laptop, you might say "Press Escape". On a tablet, "tap the X". On a phone, “push the button” or “touch an icon.”With COPE, an e-book, you don’t have to leaver readers to "figure it out on your own."
  • Preparing for the omnichannel experience.This is where we make customers and their journeys the focus of our attention, and create content for all the customer touch points along the way. It’s far easier to stay on-message with COPE-model content.
  • So that's COPE. And there are two ways to get there. But for those ways to make sense, you have to understand how add semantic structure and semantic richness to your content, and to understand how technology affects COPE.
  • Adding semantic structure means that the editorial structure on the left needs to be supported by the technical schema on the right. These tags give Google way more info about what the content means, which helps with ranking, and you can re-use content way more when it's tagged.
  • So this simple piece of content on the left is US-specific: shipping and handling, US Postal Express. A COPE architecture, shown on right, lets you keep all the market variants in one place, and tag market-specific content that gets processed at output time.
  • Standards will make content work better under COPE, so you need to know which are right for you. And you need technologies that can support your COPE efforts. Knowing your tech means knowing what systems do, how they do it, which you need, and so on.
  • So, back to our two ways. The first way is driven by developers. We call this the "baked" method because they bake processing rules into the system. Authors enter content into, basically, form fields, and can maybe do a bit of tagging, but where the content goes is predetermined by the code.
  • An example would be LinkedIn. If I log in as myself, I can edit my content. But the LinkedIn developers have programmed where the content goes and who gets to see what. So when someone else looks at my profile, they'll see whatever has been determined by the code.
  • In this case, the content is stored in a database, and gets pulled, according to the whatever processing rules have been written, into various pages in the website. The content is generally pretty basic in terms of semantic structure or richness.
  • Nevertheless, you have a database and the usual Web CMS functions, and you have multiple outputs, though if you want something different per output, you may have some content duplication to make that happen. Also, this method is good for single-language environments.
  • The advantages for content people? It's easy peasy. Enter content, press Submit, and go to the next thing. The disadvantage is that the system isn't very flexible, because changes take time and budget, which generally turns into an onerous process after launch.
  • So, on to method two. We call this method "fried" because after frying, you can still pick out the bits. Authors have much more control over what goes into what channel. They create content small chunks, manipulate those chunks, and then do a content "build".
  • If you think of your entire corpus as the content superset, authors can determine which subset goes where. And the content components can get quite granular, and get quite automated, too. And it’s good for adaptive content scenarios.
  • The big difference is that the content repository has an editor built for power-authoring, and really can do extreme content re-use. Then, authors generate a "build", and at the other end, content is transformed, then sent to the given channel, such as web, tablet, mobile phones.
  • What this method does is allow the content to be agile enough to quickly respond to any new channels that come along: customer service scripts, ebooks or e-catalogues, print & training material, and new inventions like Google Glass.
  • The disadvantage? This is an advanced writing process, and authors need discipline and to hone their skills to make it work. The advantages? Control. You can personalize by channel, by audience, by product line, by any criteria, really - in a very agile way.And that, in a nutshell, is COPE.
  • Content first cope made easy

    1. 1. Content First: COPE Made Easy* Rahel Anne Bailie @rahelab *The explanation, not the implementation
    2. 2. Findability There’s what you see. And then… There’s what search engines see.
    3. 3. Multiple delivery channels Laptop Press Escape… Tablet Tap the X… Phone eBook or or (Uh, figure it out for yourself…)
    4. 4. Omni-channel experience • Seamless approach to multi-channel customer experience • Also called conversational marketing
    5. 5. Structure to COPE Returning an Item <Title>Text here</title> <ShortDesc>Text here You can return any item </shortdesc> within thirty days. <Step> 1. Pack the the item in its <Cmd>Text here</cmd></step> original packaging/ <Step> 2. Address the box to <Cmd>Text here</cmd></step> [address] <Note>Text here</note> Note: Postage and packing costs are your responsibility.
    6. 6. Write to COPE Specific to United States Varied for 3 more markets <p>Get your item soon.</p> <p>Standard shipping and handling charges apply.</p> <p>Or get your item sooner with US Postal Express.</p> <p>Get your item soon.</p> <p=AU>Standard postage and handling rates apply.</p> <p=UK>Standard postage and packaging rates apply.</p> <p>=US,CA>Standard shipping and handling rates apply.</p> <p>Or get your item sooner with [RAP-express service].</p>
    7. 7. Know your tech • Technical standards • What are the applicable content standards? • Which one ones should we use? • Technology choices • What are the right choices? • Do we have the right ones? • Do we customize or trade up?
    8. 8. Two ways toward a COPE architecture Method 1: Technology driven “Baked” • Developer codes rules into WCMS. • Author enters content into forms. • CMS delivers content as per rules. Method 2: Author driven “Fried” • Author creates content components. • CCMS manages components. • Content transformed for output as per rules.
    9. 9. Method 1 My view Public view
    10. 10. Method 1
    11. 11. Method 1 Advantages • Easy for authors • Can use common content management software Disadvantages • Brittle: rules are “baked in” • Depend on developers to customize or, later, make changes • Can be costly and complex to change
    12. 12. Two ways toward a COPE architecture Method 1: Technology driven “Baked” • Developer codes rules into WCMS. • Author enters content into forms. • CMS delivers content as per rules. Method 2: Author driven “Fried” • Author creates content components. • CCMS manages components. • Content transformed for output as per rules.
    13. 13. Method 2
    14. 14. Method 2 Advantages • Agility: content can be “fried” • Authors have more control Disadvantages • Authors need writing discipline • Authors need to understand technical side of content • Need specialty software