How To COPE When Trying to Reach a Multigenerational Audience

In a world where young people suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on social media, somehow that doesn’t apply to in-person events. Event planners frequently tell me how hard it is to get millennials to show up for events like conferences or resume workshops.

While I hear this complaint about Millennials, the truth is it’s a multigenerational audience issue: It’s amazing how many people now sign up for something but don’t attend.

I wonder if that’s because in today’s world we assume that everything will be recorded and available for later viewing, just like it is for our favorite TV shows, sporting events, political debates and awards shows.

Why You Have To COPE

What is an event planner (or, ahem, professional speaker) to do? I think the answer is clear: In a world where everything is on demand, your information must be easily accessible, too. That’s why I live by this acronym that I learned from my marketing agency and share it with my clients and audiences:

COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.

If our desired audiences want to substitute another platform for a live event, we have to meet that need. If people prefer to read a transcript, watch a live stream on Periscope or follow a Twitter chat, then we must provide that option.

The goal is to be available the way your audience wants to reach you, not how you might prefer to be reached. Savvy customer-service oriented companies, such as Nordstrom or Zappos, are employing this multi-platform method with their customer service. Got a question? You can call, email, live chat or tweet. Event planners need to apply the same strategy.

Remember that the key word is “options.” Often we want our audiences to do what we want them to do whether that means listening to our podcast or reading our book but in today’s diverse, multigenerational world we have to be agnostic about how people access our products or information.

COPE 101: Make it Work For You

Believe me, I feel the pain of letting go of the need to have people physically show up: There’s nothing I love more than a full audience. But since the main goal is to share my message, I know I need to offer it on any platform where people might want to access it.

At first COPE can sound exhausting and expensive, until you realize that you’re really only creating the message once; you’re just using different technology tools to share it. It’s a little like the concept of “cost per wear,” which is how I can justify spendy black pants or shoes: The cost actually decreases with each wear or, in this case, view.

So, once you create awesome content, repurpose it and leverage it like crazy.

Here’s a challenge: Pick one communication vehicle you use regularly, whether it’s a newsletter, or even old-school meeting minutes, and experiment with publishing that information in another medium, such as a podcast or a video. Did you succeed in increasing your audience size or engagement? Let me know how it goes please share your feedback in the comments.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, and the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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