Content marketing is big business. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing, while 86% of B2C marketers view content marketing as a key strategy. With content marketing taking on such importance, more and more companies are looking to use it to their advantage, both at home and overseas.
If your business is looking to develop an effective international content marketing strategy, read on!
Content marketing is the use of content – blog posts, social media posts, videos and the like – to market a business, service or product. It is not directly promotional material, but rather content that is created to build interest in topics related to that product or service and to generate engagement with the brand.
The content must be relevant to the audience and deliver value if it is to be effective. Its goal is to generate customer engagement and action, ultimately resulting in the customer making a purchase, sharing the content more widely or taking another form of ‘profitable action.’
Companies looking to use content marketing effectively in more than one country or language need to build a strategy that focuses on delivering value at a local level. This is not a ‘one size fits all’ activity – the content needs to address the particular focus and interests of each audience.
This means that any effective international content marketing strategy needs to include not just provision for translation, but also for localization services, enabling companies to work with experts who can help focus their content to suit local audiences in different countries.
The first step of creating an international content marketing strategy is to define what success looks like: what is the goal of the strategy and how will progress towards it be measured? Without knowing this, it will be impossible to judge the strategy’s success.
Next, it’s time to create a list of topics of interest that can be used for content marketing, then define which topics best suit each of the target countries.
Then comes time to work out what kind of content will be most effective at engaging the audience in each country. Translation and localization experts can assist with this, helping to research how effective different kinds of content are in each location and building localized strategies around the results.
The result will be a content marketing strategy that is individual to each country that it includes, while weaving together a number of central themes and areas of interest. It will be possible to write or script some of the content and translate the same piece for different countries. Other pieces of content will need to be written uniquely for each country.
For those pieces of content that will benefit from translation, it’s important to avoid machine translation – the quality of professional, human translation far surpasses it and is more appropriate for business purposes. Building customer trust – and therefore engagement and profitable action – is far easier when you have well written content!
While machine translation is to be avoided for professional purposes, it’s worth keeping an eye on advances in content creation technology, which is developing rapidly. OpenAI recently revealed its contribution to the field, with machine-generated content that in many instances is indistinguishable from content penned by humans. Though not available as a commercial service just yet, it’s a developing area of work that is well worth keeping track of.
A sophisticated international content marketing strategy can do wonders for a business looking to expand its footprint overseas. If your company is looking to do just that, it’s well worth discussing your plans with a translation agency at an early stage, to fully benefit from their international expertise.