Multi-Cultural Content Marketing
Global firms that already have content marketing strategies in place must consider going from global to local with a multi-cultural strategy. For those who haven’t had a content marketing in the first place, now is the perfect time to do so although you will need much catching up to do. Indeed, English is still king, but the queens are scattered worldwide. Let’s look at the statistics first before we proceed with how you can get started with doing a multi-cultural content marketing.
Languages used on the Internet
According to the Internet World Stats, the top one language in the web is English with 26.8% total Internet users. Other Internet languages by their Internet penetration are Chinese (24.2%), Spanish (7.8%), Japanese (4.7%), Portuguese (3.9%), German (3.6%), Arabic (3.3%), French (3%), Russian (3%) and Korean (2%).
The figure complements with the results of the study conducted by W3Techs claiming that 55% of the most visited sites use English as their primary content language. Other commonly used content languages are German (6.1%), Russian (5.8%), Japanese (5.1%), Spanish (4.7%), French (4.1%), Chinese (2.9%) and Portuguese (2.3%).
What does this mean for global brands? The Internet presents itself as the most powerful sales weapon ever invented because of its global reach. English may be the international language for the web, but it is not a global language. Did you know that only 25% of people worldwide speaks and understands English? What about the 75%? This 75% are those who search the web using their native tongues.
Getting started with a multi-cultural strategy
Now that you had a good grasp of how diverse the Internet users are, the next important step is learning how to communicate and interact with them.
1) Conduct a content needs analysis
Start from scratch through understanding your target audience. Understand the language they use while on the Internet literally and figuratively. Let’s say your target markets are English- and French-speaking nations. When creating the editorial calendar, the topics must resonate for both audiences. Better yet, and if it is more strategic for the firm, the marketing team may device separate editorial calendars for the two though the calendars should correlate with one another.
If you are targeting the same customer profiles, then you can simply trans-create (not translate) the English contents into French. With this, creating contents that would resonate for both audiences is possible since (most probably) the firm is marketing the same kinds of products regardless of the location.
Timeframes must be clear from writing the bilingual contents, trans-creating and publishing them. A review cycle must be clear for all the writers and trans-creators. Calculating the time required for creating, reviewing and approving original contents is the first step. The second step is adding time for trans-creating, reviewing and approving trans-created contents before publishing the bilingual simultaneously.
2) Develop content guidelines for writers and trans-creators
Content standards (or branding editorial guidelines) writers can consult upon creating bilingual or multi-lingual contents should be developed. Standards and guidelines help the editorial team in understanding the brand’s voice. They’ll stick to it because of a sense of ownership.
For a multi-cultural strategy, creating a set guidelines for each language separately (or as a supplement to the general guidelines) is also a must. Here are noteworthy points to take into consideration.
- Cultural and religious differences
- Dialects and idiomatic expressions
- Political and economic situations where applicable
- Measurement units
Certainly, writing anything offensive out of ignorance must be avoided at all times. You don’t want to brand to gain negative publicity otherwise the editorial team has to double their efforts to recover from the humiliation. Amusing mistranslations may work for your brand’s favor resulting to product awareness, but for how long? Show respect and diligence by choosing the right topics and themes to write about.
This brings to our next claim that the editorial calendars must also have provisions for brainstorming. Take a cue from the comments, concerns and questions raised by your customers on your social media presence. The locals enjoy contents more when these are written for them, about them and by them especially when the content tackles issues that interest them.
3) Build a diverse editorial team
Content creators are the driving force behind the success of any content marketing strategy. Hiring freelance writers is acceptable; they should be a native of the specific language though. That’s the golden rule to minimize the inherent risks. Thus, the firm may avoid cultural blunders that stem from publishing offensive statements and inaccurate facts. These mistakes alienate the people including potential customers from your brand.
Nonetheless, you can always choose to build a team of in-house writers. As much as possible, hire content writers — the trans-creators — from the same areas as the target audience. A local editor, who will approve and review the non-English contents, must be also considered. Even the simplest words can cause offence when translated without a knowledge of the local culture. Remember that marketing gaffes go viral, crumbling your hard-earned credibility in a couple of days.
Right, trans-creators are human and not tools or software applications! Auto-translation programs, even those that come with a hefty tag, will never give provide you with the quality that your contents need and deserve. Contents, regardless of which language they are written, must create a flow. This cannot be achieved with translating the manuscripts verbatim. Recruiting strong trans-creators who are not only natives, but also subject matter experts should be your priority.
Further, this is not solely about the choice of words depending on the country or area that the firm targets. Instead, universal themes must be apparent though local stories must be written. Storytelling is the key for successful local contents. Digital storytelling is a complex subject to touch. The bottom-line is writing stories about real people, with real experience and for real readers.
Powerful and effective multi-cultural content marketing is not without difficulties, but the content localization strategy is very valuable to any global brand. Such an old-fashioned concept about creating high quality contents the idea is to include on-the-ground knowledge of cultures. More than being bilingual or multi-lingual though, the brand must think multi-culturally. It’s not about the language per se, but the people and their core values.
About The Author : Cris is a blogger and currently working as a freelance writer in Optimind Technology Solutions, a digital marketing agency in the Philippines that provide services including SEO, web design, social media marketing, Facebook app and mobile app development.
Find out more about guest blogging on Temi.co.uk here.