International consumerism has changed the world. Today, any business, big or small, can expand their brand reach faster and easier than ever before with global marketing campaigns.
To engage users across the world, a global marketing campaign must consider language as a key component of its strategy. A successful multilingual content marketing strategy connects with local audiences and builds trust in an organization’s brand. And the only way to do this is to tailor content and deliver personalized customer experiences relevant to local audiences.
Multilingual content marketing is a strategy that helps you attract and engage global end-users and consumers who speak different languages.
A recent study discovered that 65% of internet users prefer content to be in their native language. Therefore, businesses that don’t translate their content are losing out on a huge chunk of the global market.
And it’s not just about websites. Multilingual content marketing strategies should incorporate all types of content, from blogs and social media posts to newsletters and eBooks.
However, if you truly want to connect with global end-users, your content must feel like it was created just for them. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. That’s because a multilingual content marketing strategy is more than translating words from one language to another. While translation makes your message understandable to your target language, it doesn’t personalize the message for individual users.
The best multilingual content strategies aim to adapt their content by localizing it. Localization takes translation a step further and incorporates the end-user’s culture, habits, trending news, traditions, and norms into the marketing strategy. It also considers the regional dialects and linguistic expressions of the target audience.
Thoughtful localized marketing content considers the locale of the target audience to make the content relevant and familiar to them.
One of the most important benefits of multilingual content is trust. If you can speak the same language as your target audience, they are more likely to feel connected to your brand. Naturally, this provides a competitive advantage over content that remains monolingual.
For example, perhaps you’re a mobile app creator moving into the global market. The results of your mobile usability testing have shown that some of the buttons don’t make sense in certain countries because they use different terms for “shopping cart” or “direct deposit”. If you don’t adapt your app and make it relevant for the target audience they won’t use it.
A localized experience is also more likely to convert one-time viewers into long-term customers. When you make the user experience relevant to individual markets you can increase connections with a global audience.
Netflix, for example, uses a highly personalized content marketing strategy that not only features subtitles and dubbing. It also provides localized viewing suggestions depending on the country of the subscriber. For example, if you were watching in France, you would be offered different suggestions than if you were in Argentina.
If you want to go beyond simply translating your content and create an effective localization strategy that connects with the target audience, consider the following five tips:
While you need to adapt your marketing content to make it relevant to the target audience, it must also maintain your core message and brand values.
To do so, your core message should be fully understood and upheld by the whole team before it is translated and adapted for a global market. If you can’t get it right in your native market, it will fail globally too.
For example, imagine a company produces software for retail inventory management and wants to expand globally. While they may adapt some of the functions to meet local logistical needs, they should still concentrate on value and ease of use if that has always been the prime focus of their brand.
Before you adapt your content, it should already be high quality. Make sure your content is edited and proofread thoroughly — this will only make it easier to translate for foreign markets. Lack of clarity or incorrect information can be expensive to fix across multiple languages.
To help you produce quality content that upholds brand equity, you should also consider producing a style guide that maintains the tone and quality you require for each market. A standard glossary of terms is particularly helpful if your products or services use complex language.
For example, companies that develop code may wish to ensure their blog posts about securing the CI/CD pipeline use standard terms and definitions that cannot be misinterpreted when translated. A glossary or style guide will also help speed things up for future projects and provide consistency in translation.
It’s important to do your research and know your chosen market. To tailor your marketing strategies, you must know not only the native language but also the culture, customs, expressions, trending news, and consumer habits.
This requires more than just native language translators. You need people who are familiar with the market you want to tap into. The right message can only be conveyed when it has been created by an expert team.
Those experts can also help ensure you create marketing strategies with cultural nuances in mind (i.e using appropriate images, icons, and date formats). For example, color schemes can have different relevance across the globe. You don’t want to brand your multi-tenant software product using a color scheme or font that is associated with death in some cultures.
Your team should also know which local influencers are “in” or “out”. This requires in-depth knowledge of the market’s culture, including popular TV shows, places, and current affairs to help your strategy appeal to local consumers. There is no point using an Australian TV actor to promote your product in Brazil if your target audience doesn’t recognize them.
To keep costs to a minimum, it’s essential to create content that’s easy to localize. Not only does this save time, but it also makes it easier to avoid difficulties translating problematic or ambiguous language and helps keep a project on schedule.
Keep your content clear and concise. Remove idioms, local jokes, phrasal verbs, and overly complicated language that doesn’t translate well and may undermine the quality of your content and your brand. If those are required, make sure to provide clear and concise guidelines so linguists understand exactly what it is you’re trying to get across.
Let’s say you want to expand your offering for e-learning products in China, so you sign up for an online class on Facebook marketing campaigns and begin promoting your brand. However, you quickly find that there’s little interest in your product. If you’d done your research, you would’ve found that Facebook is not the top social media platform in China and your time would have been better spent on other channels.
Before diving in, you need to know which platforms and digital channels your target audiences use and prefer in each market. Only then can you create an effective global customer journey that will reach your potential customers.
And don’t forget, Google is not the only search engine used across the globe! You will need to find out the preferred choice for each market and adapt your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy accordingly.
Keywords can change from language to language and even within the same language. British English and American English, for example, use different spellings for a number of words. If you’ve spent a lot of resources creating the perfect strategy and content, you don’t want it to disappear from searches simply because you used one set of keyword spellings across multiple markets.
Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that any and all promotions are compliant with local laws and platform guidelines. Don’t make the mistake of offering free access to video conferencing software from webex competitors in countries where Webex is the only provider because it will only alienate potential customers.
Managing a multilingual content marketing team is complicated and requires organization. You will have to coordinate teams of translators, market specialists, content writers, SEO experts, and proofreaders who may work across the globe and in varying time zones.
Content Management Systems can help you integrate your teams and allow quick and easy internal communication and quick access to leading integrations for translation. You can also create shared databases to store previous versions and translations of content that can be adapted for each market or referred to for future marketing strategies. Using a CMS, you can give your team access to a communications plan template to ensure effective information sharing across your teams.
As your strategy grows, and you require more and more team members, CMS will help you to keep track of your individual and tailored strategies on one platform.
Creating a multilingual content marketing strategy is hard work. It requires extensive research and expert knowledge to prepare a tailored package for multiple languages with localized content that connects brands with global consumers and end-users. If you want to build trust with your audience and provide them with the experiences they deserve, localization and personalized global customer experiences are a must.
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Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace Lau also published articles for domains such as Klipfolio and Survey Anyplace. Here is her LinkedIn.
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