Our world is an expansive and ever-growing environment that spans countless cultures, languages and markets. The internet has bridged the gap that existed in the past and can connect people from opposite ends of the Earth at any time. This has enabled companies to go beyond their borders to receive help with digital marketing efforts, but creating the right content in different languages must go beyond simple translation of your current material.
So what is necessary to successfully create content across languages?
In order to reach your audience abroad successfully, you must localize your content. Translation just doesn’t cut it anymore. People want content that actually speaks to them, and as a speaker of four languages with a multi-cultural background, I can assure you that it is instantly transparent when content is just translated with no effort made to cater the information to the culture. The integration of native speakers into this process is essential to optimizing a story for the appropriate audience. If a native speaker tells you that a piece of content doesn’t apply in their culture and that you should create something altogether, then you better listen and make the effort if you want to see any benefit coming from it.
2. Keyword Research
One of the first steps in creating content is identifying keyword phrases that could maximize its reach. Google’s Keyword Planner allows for targeting based on language and region. This can help to determine keywords and their particular search volumes based on their usage in the desired country or countries. It is also handy to demonstrate whether a direct translation is accurate or not, because a translation that doesn’t make sense in the language will have a very low or non-existent search volume. While you may think it is not significant, the importance of selecting a region should not be underestimated. Words can have different spellings in different regions, and even different meanings entirely. While Google is useful as a tool in most locations, it is also important to note that other search engines are used in some countries, therefore I advise that you find the appropriate tool to determine accuracy based on the search engine in question. Übersuggest is another great option for finding keywords that an actual speaker would use and has options to search in multiple languages.
Determine the relevance of an English piece of content in other cultures. Something could be the most fascinating story or image for an audience in the United States, but be completely lost in another country or another language because it is not relevant to them.
For example, jokes in American-made comedies often fail to get even a chuckle from audiences abroad because the culture differences limit the understanding of the situation or reference. Do your market and cultural research. The time spent learning about your target location and its people, as well as speaking and coordinating with natives of that culture, will most definitely pay off in the long run. Google Trends can help you find great topics in the location and your native speaker can help you formulate the best way to present a story. Visual content elements are important to adjust as well. The consideration of the quality of designs and layouts can be very different in two different places, so analyze what the local standards are in the design rather than just reusing the same exact images and changing the words.
4. Proper Promotion
Sure you can publish your content to your site and social channels, but to really gain traction, you will need to do some kind of promotion to reach the people on the ground. As you might have expected, your designated native speaker will be your best friend again in this situation. With their insight, you can reach out to the right people who will post your content on their site and share it with the relevant audience. Knowing how to build relationships in these cultures is vital, because more than likely, they will not be as straight to the point as Americans are and want to really get to know you before they publish your content. But once you do make that connection, the partnership can last forever.
Marketing internationally requires more resources than normal and this should be expected when planning to use multiple languages. If you want your content to spread, it has to be interesting and unique. That phrase is said every day in digital marketing, and when factoring in other markets, it should also be unique “to the specific location.” Invest in your efforts fully and you’ll reap the rewards. Take the easy route, and you’re just wasting your time.