Following a localization strategy is essential when going global. However, targeting a specific language in content marketing efforts can significantly drain time and resources. Luckily, you can avoid this if you know how to strategize effectively.
This guide will show you how to create a global content marketing strategy with local appeal. Included in the guide is a useful content plan template you can use to start strategizing for success. Let’s get started.
- What is a global content marketing strategy?
- ~What is included in a content marketing strategy?
- ~Why global businesses like yours use content marketing
- ~Why having a global content marketing strategy is important
- Examples of global content marketing
- Four steps to a successful global content marketing strategy (+ a free content plan template)
- How you can streamline your global content marketing with Redokun
What is global content marketing strategy?
A global content marketing strategy is a plan for how your business will tailor content to international audiences in a way that aligns with your company’s goals.
While the definition of content varies, it generally refers to texts, images, videos, and audios that you publish for an audience to fulfil some sort of purpose. Be it entertaining, informative, or educational. This can come in many forms, such as blog posts, infographics, video reels and research reports.
Good content offers value to consumers, making them more likely to trust that your brand is a worthwhile use of their money. A good content marketing strategy, on the other hand, sets out how you will create that value while getting the word out about your product or service.
What is included in a content marketing strategy?
What goes in a global content marketing strategy depends on your company's specific needs. Generally, it should always include these core elements:
- Company goals and objectives
- Buyer personas
- Distribution channels
- Languages targeted
- Topics and content types
- Style guide
- Publishing schedule
- Team roles and responsibilities
- Translation and content management
- Progress tracking and KPIs
The first two items are arguably the most important, because:
- Defining your goals and researching the target audience will guide your decision-making moving forward.
- Knowing your audience well will tell you how much you need to localize your content to succeed in a market.
Translation and localization will always be necessary, as suggested by the latest translation statistics that say 75% of consumers prefer to buy from websites in their own native language.
That doesn’t mean you need to go all in to create hyper-local content for every single market.
Suppose your research finds that a universal version would resonate well with local audiences.Then, it might be better to focus on a carefully translated common message in your content marketing for those markets.
The key to remaining relevant is to find balance between global and local. In that regard, there are four strategies to consider when scaling your global business for content marketing:
The best global marketing strategy will combine standardization and localization in the content creation process. We will cover how to do just that in the later sections.
Why global businesses like yours use content marketing
Global content marketing is booming. The latest findings by Research Dive indicate that the industry is expected to achieve a double-digit growth rate in the next few years.
It's no wonder, when you consider that 82% of global marketers surveyed by Hubspot were reported to be actively using content marketing to market their brand to target audiences.
Why? Content marketing has several benefits in that it helps businesses:
- Increase organic search traffic
- Engage with customers
- Build brand awareness
- Establish thought leadership
- Generate leads and sales
- Reduce traditional ad spend
Why having a global content marketing strategy is important
Streamlining content marketing across multilingual markets is no easy feat. Particularly if you are a business with little resources and staff.
Having a documented strategy makes that job just a little easier, as it defines the priorities of a marketing team and sets out how to allocate resources accordingly.
The statistics speak for themselves: 65% of the most successful content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy (compared to only 14% of the least successful). When following a strategy, the marketers said it helped them:
- Align the team around common goals
- Determine which types of content to develop
- Keep focus on content priorities
- Allocate resources to optimize desired results
- Provide clarity on the target audience(s)
- Create accountability
- Identify suitable KPIs
- Layout their marketing budget
Careful strategic planning, it seems, is the difference between making or breaking it in the world of content. For a global business, it is even more important to think strategically when coordinating workflow across multilingual and multicultural teams.
Examples of global content marketing
As mentioned above, finding the right balance between global and local is key to winning over customers with content marketing. Before we dive into how that works in practice, let’s compare the different ways two global companies have implemented localization in their content marketing strategies:
Spotify Case Study: Content Localization
The Swedish audio streaming service is a major player in the music world. From 2018 to 2021, their number of monthly active listeners doubled from just around 200 million to more than 406 million.
If you are wondering how they did it, the answer is hyper-localized content marketing strategies.
As of 2021, the Spotify platform is available in 62 different languages. Focusing on building a “borderless audio ecosystem”, their multi-language support extends to their accounts on social media platforms. As shown in the example below, the content on their Italian account on Instagram is different from the global account.
Spotify’s music catalog is basically the same across countries, although license agreements may make songs unavailable in some territories. The major difference is in how they present the music to their audience, through playlists that recommend music to listeners based on popular artists and trends in their country.
Their localized content is based on extensive research on customer preferences, which informed them that more people than ever are listening to local music. As a result, they succeed in appealing to a global audience by pushing content that speaks directly to local markets in their own language.
Through a hyper-personalized approach that goes beyond country, Spotify Wrapped is an example of how the company leverages access to personal user data in content marketing.
Fully aware that people like to express identity through music, the annual feature gives users valuable insights into their own listening habits. The result? Free word-of-mouth marketing as people share screenshots of their findings with their friends on social media. It doesn’t get better than that.
Apple Case Study: Content Standardization
Few technology brands are as ubiquitous as Apple. Companies all around the world are benchmarking their marketing mix to reach similar levels of global recognition and success.
Apple follows a global content marketing strategy based on standardization and limited adaption to local audiences. This means that they publish simple, universal content that easily translates across markets.
An iPhone is an iPhone, whether you are in the United States or Korea. This means that Apple can streamline its content marketing campaigns to enhance value for consumers regardless of nationality. As you can see below, the only difference in Apple’s product presentation on the US and South Korean websites is the language, which retains the meaning of the original tagline.
Consider the Your Verse campaign from 2014, which demonstrated the various ways the iPad is used by people such as a hearing-impaired travel writer and a Finnish conductor in LA. In doing so, Apple localized its global campaign by emphasizing the human aspects of technology.
Creating content with a universal narrative means you can rely on economies of scale for a cost-effective method of getting your brand message out there. However, keep in mind that Apple has the brand recognition to make this possible.
As much as you need to create content that meets your audience where they are, you also need to think strategically in terms of leveraging your existing business resources efficiently to meet your goals.
So, how can you build such a content strategy?
Four steps to a successful global content marketing strategy
In the end, whether you want to localize like Spotify or globalize like Apple, the best content marketing strategy will be one created specifically to suit your audience and business needs. In order to build such a content strategy, we recommend that you:
- Keep the focus on your target audience
- Speak to your audience in their language
- Manage your content and translation workflow efficiently
- Track progress against local KPIs
Download our global content marketing plan template to put these ideas into practice right away (click on file -> download).
1. Focus on your target audience
The target audience is the end-all be-all to any content marketing strategy. You should always make sure any content marketing efforts align with your business goals, but the fact of the matter is you make content for the audience.
That means the focus should be on creating authentic content your audience wants to consume, instead of pushing your brand message.
After all, the audience needs to vibe with your content in order to get a good impression of your brand. They are less likely to do so if it feels like you are pushing sales pitches, rather than providing useful content that puts them at the center.
On the other hand, if you know your target audience and their pain point, you will know the types of content, distribution channels, and languages that engage them. Engaging your audience helps you reach your goals by building trust, generating leads and converting those leads to sales.
Ask yourself these questions to target your content marketing strategy:
- What are your goals and objectives for each locale?
- Who is the target audience/buyer persona?
- How will you use content to provide value to your audience?
- How do you need to adapt your overall product offerings, advertising and messaging to appeal to the audience?
- How does your brand want to communicate with the audience?
Check out tools like Google Analytics, Hubspot and Smartlook to learn more about the demographics of your customer base.
2. Speak to your audience in their language
Now that you know whether your target is Sophie in Seattle or Andrea in Rome, it’s time to find out how to create content that speaks to them. That means you need to know what to say, how to say it, and where to post it.
You need to know your French from Spanish, and how content is received differently across countries where those languages are used. In other words, marketing content to a global audience requires that you put effort into an editorial plan based on research and localization.
Translation and localization experts from the country you are targeting will be your best bet to advise on language.
You can also consult the local language versions of major social media platforms in that country to target your content direction. For example, if you want to find out what topics are engaging people in Argentina, why not check out r/Argentina on Reddit?
An editorial plan for global content marketing should answer these questions:
- In what languages will you create content?
- What distribution channels can you leverage to reach the audience?
- What topics will be appropriate for the audience?
- Which content types do they engage with the most? Long form, short form? Video reels or Linkedin posts?
- When and how often do you need to post content to reach them?
For a more numbers-based approach, check out the built-in analytics of your social media pages like Facebook and LinkedIn. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Semrush and Ahrefs are also useful for local SEO research.
3. Manage your workflow efficiently
Whether your content focuses on one universal message or several localized ones, you will want to reach the audience in the local language. That will require translation and localization of your content assets and marketing collaterals.
Depending on your localization needs, you may even need to create original content for certain local markets.
Either way, the sheer workload involved in such a project - with translations, quality check and revisions included - means a lot is at stake.
The last thing you want is a delay in your time to market because of workload and a dependence on manual processes to translate your content.
We recommended investing in a translation software to help make your localization team more efficient. When choosing your translation software, consider aspects like:
- Ease of use and onboarding time
- Collaboration features
- File format compatibility
- Cloud or desktop availability
- Content management system (CMS) integration
No matter what you choose to do, concerted steps to optimize your translation workflow will make a world of difference to the success of your global content marketing strategy.
Set up a plan to manage your workflow that addresses:
- What are the file formats of your content?
- Who will translate your content? For example, will you be working with external translation vendors or in-house translators?
- What tools will you use to create and publish content?
- Could you benefit from using a translation management system (TMS) to automate tasks and consolidate your assets?
- What about SEO tools?
More resources on improving translation workflow:
- How to Create a Better Translation Workflow for Your Business
- Why Translation Software is Essential for Marketing Agencies
- 13 Top Translation Management Software on the Market
4. Track progress against localized KPIs
A key aspect of global content marketing is to measure the success of your strategy by tracking KPIs. These KPIs will likely be different for each market, depending on which stage of the expansion process you are in.
The progress of your localization projects across markets will be measured against your initial objectives, as well as global and local KPIs. Whatever you do, make sure you have tangible and time-based goals so you know exactly what you need to work on.
For example, say that your translation completion goal for a certain project is 70% by Christmas.
Checking your chosen translation software, you find that the team is barely hitting 40% and it’s already November. That means you probably should find the cause of the delay, and implement measures to improve efficiency as needed.
You will need a good deal of patience after putting your strategy into action, as reaching your goal ROI isn’t something that happens over night.
Using KPIs like lead generation, cost per lead (CPL) and conversion rate (CVR) to measure your sales funnel flow is important. However, you should also consider metrics like customer lifetime value (CLV) to measure customer loyalty over time as a result of your content marketing efforts.
Finally, consider methods like A/B testing and content audits to figure out exactly which parts of your content are hitting and missing where it counts.
Track the success of your strategy with the following content marketing KPIs:
- Template downloads
- Translation completion
- Social media followers
- Local website traffic
- Email signups
- Bounce rate
- Lead generation
- Cost per lead (CPL)
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Conversion rate (CVR)
- Customer lifetime value (CVL)
How you can streamline your global content marketing with Redokun
With a large volume of marketing content that needs to be created or adapted for multiple markets, the workload may seem overwhelming.
How do you manage your projects? How do you find local content writers and translators? How do you coordinate the localization process with a team of contributors scattered across the globe?
If you find yourself asking yourself these questions, consider a translation management system like Redokun. By adapting this solution, you and your marketing team can:
- Save time on translations by automating repetitive tasks
- Manage several translation projects in one workspace
- Collaborate and communicate across teams
- Boost productivity with machine translation suggestions
- Maintain quality and consistency with translation memories
- Build a database of all your approved translations for future reference (without lifting a finger - it's done in the background!)
- Reduce the workload as your company grows
- Receive feedback and implement revisions easily
- Upload and translate files in different formats without compromising layout
Till next time,