Content marketing is one of the best ways to engage your customers, build trust, generate leads, and drive sales. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 73% of B2B marketers and 70% of B2C marketers use content marketing. For global companies, content can be a powerful way to connect with new audiences around the world. It just takes the right global content marketing strategy.
What is a global content marketing strategy?
If your business operates in international markets, you likely already adapt your messages, marketing assets and advertising for different languages and cultures. Localized communications resonate more powerfully with local audiences, helping your company better meet its business goals.
A global content marketing strategy is a blueprint for how your company will create and distribute content across different languages, cultures, and markets. A winning strategy aligns with your company’s overall business goals and strikes the right balance between standardization and localization.
Consider the value of localized content when planning your strategy
Marketing resources are finite. Localizing every piece of content your company produces for every market you do business in simply isn’t realistic. To get the most from your localization spend, prioritize content that specifically meets the needs of your local audiences and helps to achieve your goals.
Here are some questions that can help you decide which assets to localize for each market:
- What do local audiences want? Focus on localizing high-performing content that will give customers and prospects in each market exactly what they’re looking for. For example, use Google Analytics to understand what types of topics, channels, and specific tactics appeal to your local audiences.
- Can localized content be launched on the same schedule as original content? For content to be valuable, it needs to be timely. Prioritize assets that can be localized and delivered on a similar timeline as your original content over pieces where there will be a significant lag.
- How big is the audience? Before you invest in localizing content, consider whether it’s worth it in terms of reach and lead generation.
- What’s happening in the market? Are there competitor moves or other dynamics in the specific locale that need to be addressed? Localized content that helps to protect or improve your market position should be at the top of your priorities list.
5 steps for crafting your global content marketing strategy
Once you’re ready to begin developing your global content marketing strategy, here’s how you can move forward:
1. Start with a plan
Careful planning is key to the success of any strategy. Begin by consulting teams across all your markets to understand their priorities and processes for content creation. By involving these colleagues in strategy development, you help turn them into champions for the strategy once it’s adopted. You’ll also want to outline goals, timelines, roles and responsibilities, key milestones, KPIs, and other important considerations for how the work will get done.
2. Focus on research
When localization is done right, your content speaks directly to your audience’s interests, needs, and concerns. So, it’s critical to understand what’s important to customers and prospects in each of your target markets. Website analytics can provide insight into audience interests. Team members in your target markets can also supply valuable information; they know your local customers better than anyone.
Another important step is to perform a comprehensive audit of all your content. Bucket assets into topic areas, record which languages each asset exists in, and also note how well each piece of content has performed.
You’ll also want to conduct extensive market research. It’s especially important to understand the competitive landscape:
- What kinds of content are your competitors creating?
- What is the scope of their content marketing?
- How well is the content performing?
- Are there any unmet audience needs where your content can fill the gap?
3. Map your strategy
Once you have a clear understanding of the audiences and competitive landscape in your target markets, you’re ready to start developing your strategy:
- Consider the customer journey—Successful content marketing hinges on providing the right information at the right time via the right channel at every stage of the customer journey—from awareness and consideration through decision and advocacy. Review your content audit and consider which assets provide the needed information at each specific step of the journey. Identify any gaps where new content will need to be created, and determine which assets to localize.
- Plan the details—Start thinking through the logistics of your strategy, including how content will be created, tracked, managed, and distributed.
4. Simplify implementation
Rolling out any new strategy across a global organization can be a complicated undertaking. You can help make the process easier by providing clear direction:
- Develop global brand guidelines—Teams across your organization will be creating content. A unified set of global brand guidelines helps ensure that all your content looks and sounds consistent and that it’s focused on meeting your goals. Your global brand guidelines should contain all the information content creators need to successfully develop assets, including:
- Brand essence and personality
- Tone and voice
- Look and feel
- Logo usage
- Typography and colors
- Images and iconography
- Create localization workflows—To get the most out of your marketing investment, you’ll need to make decisions about what types of content to localize and how different kinds of content should be translated. For example, machine translation may be appropriate for assets such as technical manuals or specs. However, human translation or even transcreation may be needed for things like brand videos or advertorials.
You can then map out the processes for how different kinds of content are developed—from research and ideation to content creation and approval through translation and distribution.
5. Track performance and optimize
To ensure your program’s success, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. There are many different key performance indicators (KPIs) you can use. Choose KPIs based on the goals you set out while creating your strategy. Use the insights these KPIs give you to build on what’s delivering results and discard what isn’t.
Get started with help from a strategic localization partner
Content marketing has the power to build trust, generate better leads, and drive more conversions. But to unlock these business benefits, your content has to deliver what’s important to your audiences, in their preferred language and with an understanding of their culture.
At Acclaro, we’ve partnered with some of the world’s most successful brands to develop the right content marketing strategy to reach audiences around the globe. We combine deep industry knowledge, cultural expertise, and strategic insight to help you truly engage customers and prospects at every step of the customer journey, in every market where you do business.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can work with you to create a winning global content marketing strategy for your organization.