How to Develop Global Content Marketing Strategies
Our grandparents probably never had to worry about doing the so-called “international marketing”. Most businesses were confined to local areas, local supply chain, local customers, and local marketing. Things were pretty simple and straightforward.
However, we are living in an age of change. The business of now differs greatly from the business of a few decades ago. Internationalization and globalization expands everything to a global scale. If brands don’t open themselves up to the customers and audiences from the other side of the world, they’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.
The competition for market share has now gone global. The mission of the marketer is to flexibly adapt their marketing strategy. From local to global, from small-scale content marketing to global content marketing.
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What is Global Content Marketing?
Companies create content to promote their business. Content marketing comes in various forms, including:
These types of content bring information to your audience and educate them on your product. Once they understood what you offer, they will be more willing to buy/order from you. It’s a win-win situation.
Neil Patel, an industry expert on content marketing has written a very detailed and well-researched guide on content marketing that you definitely should check out.
However, Neil Patel is missing out on a critical aspect of modern content marketing: the world is larger than America and other English-speaking countries.
What if your demographic contains readers, audiences, and people from countries that don’t speak English?
What if you want to reach, educate, and effectively communicate with customers from countries that don’t use English as their primary language?
What about French, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Korean customers?
They are eager to know more about what you’ve got to offer, too.
Even if a large percentage of your readers, customers, and audiences live in countries different from yours, they still deserve to know about your product and services, right?
It’s here that we need international content marketing. When creating content for foreigners, we aim to bring the products and services closer to them. Once they understand your value, they’ll be willing to hand you the money.
However, there’s a catch.
Not everyone thinks and acts like people from English-speaking countries.
Cultures differ greatly from one country to another. International content marketing is tricky, not because of the distance that the message has to travel, but because of the way the recipients react to it.
The same content that went viral in the US might not have that much of an effect on Mexican readers.
There’s more that goes into international content creation than just translating verbatim (or translating the content word-by-word).
Before you create content that is tailored to international readers, you need to have a clear plan in mind:
Before You Develop Your Global Content Marketing Plan:
There are a lot of factors to consider when doing Marketing, especially international content marketing, including:
1. Brand Voice
We want to keep your brand voice consistent across all languages. Although the concept of “voice” in writing is quite intangible and abstract, it is what makes a piece of writing…a piece of writing. It is the soul of your marketing copy, and a slight change in brand voice can ruin your marketing copy entirely.
When bringing your content to international readers, you need to know exactly what your brand voice is.
“Knowing” your brand voice is not enough. You need to know how to effectively transfer that voice from the local copy to the copy intended for that region.
2. Cultural Factors
Culture is not static. Even neighboring countries don’t share the same culture and values. This is the most difficult part of international content marketing.
If you’re from English-speaking countries, and you want to market your products to nearby countries, it can be easy, since these countries share similar values. However, what if you want to establish your presence in China, or Asian countries, which share almost no values to your countries?
For example, in Western countries, white is associated with weddings, while in China, the color white means death and sadness. The use of colors can be the make-or-break of your marketing campaign.
Once you have overcome the cultural and language barriers, you need to go even deeper. You have to know specifically who you’re advertising to, and what type of content they want to read. Your targeted audience might have expectations vastly different from your local audience, even though they’re in the same age range and demographic.
Culture is nuanced and hard to grasp if you don’t live among people of the culture for a long period of time.
3. Language Factors
It’s simple to understand. Countries don’t speak the same language. If you want to let your customers know what you have to offer, you need to tell them, in the language they use.
It’s the priority of any customers to browse the product they’re about to buy in the language they understand.
Huge companies do know that, and they want to bring the best experience to their customers. However, many of them make the mistake of translating their content verbatim (or word-by-word), without taking into consideration its context or connotation. By doing this, you are putting the reputation of your brand at risk, since phrases that seem innocent in your language can easily become offensive ones if improperly translated.
When expanding to China, Pepsi translated their slogan too literally. From “Pepsi brings you back to life”, Pepsi went with “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”.
It was a hilarious accident, but could totally be avoided. All they need to do is find a Chinese marketing translator or a native Chinese to proofread the content.
4 Steps to Develop a Global Content Marketing Strategy for Your Company
1) Know Your Audience
Do you know what you want to do with this global brand? Is international content marketing truly what you need?
Gather a lot of information about your brand and customers before you embark on the journey to bring your content global.
Are your customers from country X, which is not your home country? If so, how many percentages of them are showing interests in your product?
Are they familiar with your brand?
What are the struggles that they’re having when trying to learn more about your brand?
To learn more about your customers, engage with them. Ask them questions. Observe and reach out to them whenever you can, whether it be in the comment sections or the email. Try to learn what they want from your brand, and what value you can offer to them.
Once you have gathered enough information about your visitors and potential customers, you’re ready to create content that engages and converts.
2) Know MORE about your audience
A good market research tells you a lot about the peculiarities of the community you want to reach. In the first step, you are barely tapping on the surface. With a market research, you’re diving deep into the minds of your audience and understanding clearly their wants and needs.
3) Connect the information you find with cultural and regional aspects
Now you know that your customers are, for example, Chinese, in the age of 30, have higher-than-average income, have a family, and have some interests that fit exactly what your brand sells.
However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that 30-year-old Americans don’t act in the same way 30-year-old Chineses act.
Pay attention to the differences in consumer behavior in your target country.
What channels are they using? How are you going to market your products on those channels?
What is their attitude towards all aspects of your business? Do they like the way you package your product? Do they like reading a certain type of content?
These seemingly small and insignificant factors can have a huge impact on the success of your campaign. If you’re struggling to make the connections between the quantitative data and the abstract culture, consider finding a consultant with local experience. Their knowledge of the culture will bring you an entirely new perspective on the problem.
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4) Define local and global objectives clearly
When speaking of objectives, we usually think of KPIs, and KPI is truly a good metric to measure your marketing success. Of course, there are a lot more ways to measure performance than KPI, but whatever you use, always measure performance.
Sometimes you don’t know what works and what doesn’t. If you have a specialized team that knows what they’re doing, that’s good, but if you don’t, it’s all about trials and errors.
In those cases, establishing objectives can help you have a clear vision of what you’re supposed to do. In the future, those data can even become a point of reference to find out what works and what don’t.
It is indeed not easy to do marketing in other countries and cultures due to the differences in values. However, with proper research and planning, it’s totally possible.
Do you have any experience with global content marketing? Feel free to share with us in the comment section below.
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