Doing business in the 21st century is a bit different than it was way back in the 20th. Today, thanks to the accessibility of the Internet – more and more companies are marketing their products and services to a global audience. If you are just now embarking on a global content marketing campaign for the first time, you may think that you can treat it in much the same way as you would a U.S.-based campaign: develop the message related to your brand and stick to it no matter what segment of the market you’re trying to reach. That, however, would be a huge mistake when going global. Here are a few tips for how to implement an effective global content strategy for your company:
Understand the number one goal of any global content strategy
To create content that is easily and readily understood and acceptable by people who speak different languages and live in different cultures. Obviously, the language barriers should be addressed by obtaining the highest quality of translations possible for your content. But don’t underestimate the cultural differences that exist between people in different parts of the globe. If you provide content that is either difficult for your target audience to understand and/or offensive to their cultural background (even if it’s unintentional), your content marketing plan will not succeed.
Begin with identifying your target audience
If you haven’t done so already, develop a plan for which potential customers you plan to reach out to through your content. This will depend on what type of product or service you’re trying to sell and where in the world you find the greatest demand and/or potential for growth. Considering the fact that there are approximately 6,500 languages spoken throughout the world, you’ll have to be somewhat selective. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you’ll never be able to reach all the people all the time. So do your homework and select your target audience(s) carefully.
Identify the content you’ll want translated and localized, and how you plan to store and/or distribute it
Feel free to pick and choose what you deem to be most important. Having a website that is available in other languages is often a must for companies. You likely want your blogs, advertisements and other marketing collateral translated and localized as well. But you may want to draw the line when it comes to white papers and technical reports, for example. Once you have identified the content, you’ll need to choose a good content management system where your content can be stored, accessed, reviewed and distributed. There is a wide variety of powerful CMS platforms available, so if you don’t already have one in place, choose the tool that best suits you and your staff.
Choose your translation/localization team
High quality translation of content is only part of the equation. Remember that you’ll also need localization services: i.e., you’ll need to make sure that your content is understandable, appropriate and acceptable to your target audience. Even some images and graphics can be offensive in other cultures. So ideally your translator will be an experienced linguist who is not only fluent in the target language, but also very familiar with the culture of your audience. A native speaker would be the best choice.
An excellent place to start building your team is by contacting a reputable translation company. If possible, find one with translators who are experienced in your industry and can provide a native speaker. It’s best if you can work with the same translator/localization expert on a regular basis. With a good team in place, you’ll be able to implement a successful global content strategy and grow your company into a worldwide presence.