Check out these answers to common questions in the fields of content marketing, and going global with content and translation.

You don’t. It could be a huge flop and there are loads of terrible brand mistakes out there online.  Market research and testing is required. But you have to get it right, or you will (at best) not fully reach your new market or (at worst) alienate them and bomb right out of the gate.  Your best bet is to retain an agency who can do the research and make recommendations as to your tagline, your messaging, and even your brand colors and logo. Ideally you did this at the start of your journey, but you might not have known at the time that you were going global.  So do it as soon as you identify that new market. It’s a first step before creating or localizing content. 

The exact ROI of content marketing can be very difficult to measure; you’d have to build a very sophisticated attribution model to track the influence and impact of content across your entire funnel while also isolating each variable. This isn’t feasible for more organizations, so the basics include: website traffic, website engagement, bounce rates, time on page, visits (all the google analytics metrics), email engagement, conversions (downloads), social media analytics, email / blog / podcast subscriber numbers, search rankings, quantity/quality of leads, cost to acquire a lead. But to get anything out of all this data you need to define your goals and KPIs and measure against them. Like: are you trying to generate leads, drive traffic, or boost social engagement?  Only bother with the data that pertains to that (or you’ll drown in data).  Another phrase you’ll hear is ROC – Return on Content (investment). 

Check out this list of goals mapped to metrics from ahrefs

1.Awareness (driving people to your website to build audience): traffic, social shares, referral traffic, conversion rates / email subscribers, bounce rate / time on page

2.Consideration (return visitors, sales leads): open rates, number of leads, click-through rate, time on site, total number of visitors/month, conversation rates for additional content

3.Purchase/decision: lead to customer conversion rate, average time to close for new customers

4.Loyalty (increased sales and advocacy): percentage of repeat customers, revenue from up-sell, retention rate

1.More online visibility: The more consistently you post educational and useful content, the more customers you can attract.

2.More leads: Because a good content marketing strategy drives traffic, it can also drive leads

3.More authority: The more useful content you share over time, the more people in your niche will see you as an authority figure

4.More customer engagement and closer brand relationships: Engage with those who comment or respond to what you share.


Check out this excellent blog post from bloggingwizard for more.

The most important content analytics include:


1.Traffic to your website

2.Top pages

3.Pageviews – blog pageviews are the most important

4.Source referrals to the website – social media, organic search, third-party websites

5.Average time on site

6.Bounce rates

7.Social media engagement (likes, shares, comments, clicks)

8.SEO position rankings and site health

9.Conversions – subscriptions, downloads, consultation sign-ups

10.Email opens and clicks

Content marketing strategy is the underlying guide to everything you do related to content. Content is the educational, inspirational, helpful, timely and relevant word and image-based stuff you provide to your market in the form of ebooks, blog posts, infographics, videos, whitepapers, on and on. Content strategy makes sure that your content aligns with your larger business objectives and helps your company achieve its goals. It is the how/why/what/when and specifically defines:


1.The purpose behind your content efforts – drive web traffic? Boost conversions? Brand authority or recognition?

2.Who you are creating content for and their key pain points (aka buyer personas)

3.Which types of content you create – runs the gamut from ebooks to blog posts to original research to infographics to video to social.

4.The channels where you distribute it

5.What metrics you’ll use to measure how it’s working for you

An editorial calendar is a day by day map of the content you are going to produce, including blog posts, ebooks, solution briefs, infographics, videos, quizzes, all of it. A calendar should identify all the content by topic, buyer, and stage of the funnel that you want in order to reach your target audience. If you don’t have a calendar, then you don’t have a plan, and so your content program is ad hoc; you’re just doing stuff on the fly. And this approach doesn’t move the needle as much as a well thought out, planned approach.  And please don’t use excel. I love Asana, which allows me to plot out each week and list all of the tasks I have to get done to write, design and publish each piece.

Global content marketing extends your home-market content strategy to all your target markets.  You need to speak to audiences with their culture in mind, in their own language, and about the issues relevant to them which almost always are different from your home market. If your content is full of stories and data specific to your home market, you might be alienating local audiences and undermining your ability to build relationships there.  But yet at the same time, you need to maintain your brand and keep it consistent and recognizable across markets. So, global content marketing is also about how you take your brand to new markets in ways that will reach them specifically yet preserve your brand at the same time.   Lastly, this work is rooted in a thorough understanding of local customer needs, interests and preferences. A lot of research is required. 

The process of localization adapts a product or service to the cultural and linguistic specifics of a target market. It goes beyond simple translation and includes things like crafting creative copy for the specific market, adapting your user interface, tweaking your product (localization engineering) so it works when the content/dates/payment process/currency/etc. is in a new language, customizing your website including colors, imagery and layouts—all the things required to accommodate local expectations, habits and behaviors. Also, culture shapes consumer motivations, preferences and decision-making, and this affects every stage of the customer journey. Localization is about customizing EVERYTHING for your target market and making sure it meets their needs, doesn’t offend them, and reaches them emotionally so they want to do business with your brand.  This work is rooted in a thorough understanding of local customer needs, interests and preferences (i.e. do your research).  Software localization and engineering is also highly technical—worth hiring a pro.

Content marketing generates three times more leads and costs 62% less than traditional marketing. Also, the average ROI for B2B content marketing is around 3:1. This means that for every dollar spent on content marketing, businesses are seeing a return of three dollars. All in all, content marketing is a great strategy to grow your audience base, improve search traffic, increase conversions, and boost your growth. However, to be effective in building relationships with customers, bringing people closer to your brand, and converting targets to buyers, that content must be timely, useful, original, and relevant to their pain points. In other words, if it’s already been written and publishing out there, and if it not specific to your buyers, and doesn’t reach them ‘where they’re at’ (ie, on social), then it’s not effective content marketing.

There are several signs that it’s time to globalize your content strategy.  Question that will lead you the answer include: 


1.Are you starting to have buyers in a particular country? 

2. Are you forecasting sales in a particular new locale? 

3. Where are the people reading your content?

4. Are people asking for customer support in a new language? 

5. Where are your followers on social media located? 

Look to the data.  

This is different for each company.  If you are getting a lot of customer support questions from a foreign market, then do your user materials and FAQ and other customer support content first. If you are getting lots of international web traffic, then look at translating your website. If you are heavily recruiting employees in other markets, or have a large staff there, then translate all your HR content. (Yes, recruiting content is marketing content).  If you are driving aggressive growth in a new market, then look at your top performing marketing content. Ultimately you have to spend your money wisely and that means it won’t be possible to localize it all, so always look at the data. 

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation (aka customer profile) of your target buyer based on market research and data, such as demographics (name, age, location and income), and psychographics (their beliefs, how they buy, preferences, values and fears, etc). Having a buyer persona helps you make sure your marketing strategies are aligned to what they really want and need, letting you tailor your brand experiences for them. Here’s a good article for more info.
A content audit is the process of looking through all your legacy content to see what should be archived (out of date) or updated (easy to make it relevant). It’s also useful to assess what could be repurpose (turned into a bog post, social snippets, a short video, an infographic) to get more milage out of the creation of the first piece, which can save your content development budget for something else.

Translation is often thought of as a one-to-one exchange from one language to another. It’s often a literal transfer of meaning from one language to the next. It works best for technical texts, user guides, FAQs, online help and other straightforward content, generic content. It does not work well for creative content such as taglines. 

Transcreation, on the other hand, is a creative adaptation process from one language (culture) to the next (culture) where the cultural knowledge of your translator comes into play. Imagery, cultural references, jokes and idioms all need to change. A phrase in one language, such as ‘take it with a grain of salt’, might not have an equivalent in another language. Also, we use a lot of baseball phrases like ‘touch base’, and another culture may not care about baseball or understand the references. 

(Note that not all translators are great at transcreation. This requires a lot more research and craft). 

You also need to know about native or in-country copywriting. You should consider this when the content needs to be completely local, or if the transcreation process is more work than just starting over and creating something very specific to your target market. 

You’ve heard of translation which is the activity of changing words from one language to another.  Transcreation takes it a step further and changes meaning from one culture to another. In other words, it not only changes the words but also the colors, idioms, jokes, etc., to make sure it is truly relevant for the target culture. Often when content is transcreated, the source is more of a reference than anything, and the content must be recreated or significantly changed. Translation is more of a 1 to 1 situation.  Materials can literally be offensive when not transcreated properly, so this is not a trivial distinction between translation and transcreation. Lastly, if you translate instead of transcreate then SEO is likely to get all messed up and you’ll lose all the benefit. Keywords do not translate: they are different from market to market and this requires research.   And also, use professionals when translating creative materials, since your bilingual product marketer isn’t in the know about all the subtleties of this craft. 

Universal Spanish is a form of Spanish companies use in their content that is appealing to all and offensive to none. No one actually speaks it.  The problem is that readers perceive it as generic.  Better to carefully choose your Spanish-speakign markets and translate content for them specifically.  You can eliminate idioms, cultural references, etc., to make it more global, but it’s better to target your largest or first Spanish-speaking market specifically over doing them all at once.

A style guide is critical to make sure that multiple contributors (designers, writers) create content in a way that reflects the corporate style and ensures brand consistency. This is different from a brand guideline which is about colors, fonts, and imagery. A style guide should contain:


1.Brand personality- do you want to sound honest, confident, warm or formal and authoritative?


2.Voice and tone guidelines – do you use first person or third when referring to your business? Second person when talking to clients?


3.Grammar and punctuation – mechanics like do you want to use e-mail, Email or email? What do you think of the Oxford comma?


4.Formatting – i.e., how do you use bullets?

Terminology and acronyms – you don’t want anyone to make up new terms or misuse others when talking about your business so it’s best to list out the ones you use for your product/brand


5.Proper use of your product names


Also, provide lots of best practices and examples. This increases the chances that content developers will get it right.

A style guide will make life easier for your writers, editors and designers. You’ll get content that is on-brand and on-message every time, allowing for a consistent, cohesive brand experience for your target customers.

Blogging allows you to get regular, short-form content out there in the online world quickly because of its format.  Your blog is a great way to educate customers, provide tips or how-tos, and create more connections with your brand. You can also share your blog content across social media to help drive more traffic. Lastly, it’s an SEO play: you can optimize your blog in terms of format (headers with keywords) and content (keywords throughout) in order to make your blog findable just like any other web page.

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