Content marketing is a powerful way for both B2B and B2C businesses to establish and grow their digital presence.
From blogs to infographics, and white papers to video content, there are so many formats to deliver your brand messaging to your consumers.
However, once it’s time to cross the seas and expand beyond U.S. reach, your marketing tactics must be tweaked to adhere to your international market(s).
If your business is growing and you’re looking to touch other countries and continents, it’s probably time to learn how to create unique content for international markets.
While establishing a global content marketing strategy is essential, it can be very challenging.
In this post, you’ll get a better understanding of how your actions can make or break your international content campaign.
What Is International Content Marketing?
International content marketing considers the entire globe by creating appropriately tailored content on a by-country basis.
There is no one-size-fits-all in content marketing, especially when a business wishes to appeal to a diverse global audience.
Any business seeking to expand and reach a global market should consider implementing multiple teams with diverse engagement strategies.
It’s just about impossible to apply the same content and brand messaging across the globe and receive the same feedback and conversion rates.
This is because each country, region, and locality has unique needs, terminology, and means of consuming information.
Here are some key components of a successful international content marketing strategy.
1. Know Your Audience & Their Locality
OK, yes, we hear this all the time, but for a good reason.
How in the world are you supposed to launch a successful marketing strategy without knowing your audience?
You can’t just blindly place content online and hope that someone sees it, let alone those you actually want and need to see it. There’s no logic in that, nor is it effective.
Instead, you need to know the ins and outs of the countries you want to target.
This means understanding:
- Local holidays, politics, newsworthy events, terminology.
- How it differentiates from your company’s locality (for example, “soccer” is “football” pretty much everywhere else in the world), even spelling (e.g.., “favorite” versus “favourite”).
While overlooking small differences may not seem like a big deal, it is a fast-track way to lose your status as a credible resource.
Think about any marketing campaigns you have witnessed that just felt off-the-mark – unrelatable, misused language, improper placement and possibly placed by a foreign company.
- Did you give it more than a quick glance?
- Did you buy into their product or services?
- Did it feel a tad spammy?
- Or were you turned off, feeling as though it had nothing to do with you, or that the company didn’t take the time to know who they were marketing to?
Effective messaging can easily be achieved by establishing diverse content marketing teams. Your marketers should cover a varied landscape, with location-appropriate skills (such as language translation) and knowledge.
If your teams are regionally-adept, you will be far more capable of learning and attracting local audiences.
2. Understand Cultural Differences & Restrictions
Global content marketing isn’t just a matter of distributing content to different time zones in a timely manner.
It’s about resonating with people and cultures who have values, behaviors, sensitivities, educational backgrounds, beliefs, and outlooks on life that are different from what you are accustomed to within your own culture.
While identifying that fine line is not simple, it’s crucial.
Rather than focusing solely on language and translations, consider local perspective when creating global content.
There is a fine line between what’s deemed to be proper and what’s taboo, or simply not OK.
What’s normal and funny to you may be the complete opposite in another culture.
While content is always king, this time perspective takes the crown.
In 2015, a Tesco store in London set an aisle display featuring Smokey Bacon Flavor Pringles with a message reading “Ramadan Mubarak,” which translates to “blessed Ramadan.”
OK, so what’s the problem?
First, the display was out during Ramadan.
Second, the store was near one of the largest Muslim places of worship in Europe, and thus, presumably, largely frequented by customers celebrating Ramadan.
This triggered lots of conversation amongst Muslim shoppers on social media platforms.
Although the store acknowledged the blunder in a statement, it’s a prime example of paying mind to your local consumers, their culture, and product messaging.
Tap into your global mindset and create content that makes sense across various cultures. This will help improve your communication with your customers across regions and markets in ways that do not offend or come off out of term.
Cultural sensitivity is crucial!
3. Feature Local, Relatable & Recognizable Figures
Influencers and local figures are a central part of content marketing. After all, “if she’s loving it, I need it!” Right?
However, it’s unlikely that this strategy will make a positive impact on your bottom line if the individual(s) featured aren’t recognizable or relatable to the local market you are targeting.
If you are a beauty brand seeking to market a new makeup line in India, do you think your viewers will resonate more with Kirsten Dunst or Priyanka Chopra? (Google it if you must.)
The answer is clear, and those buyers you want to reach will take quick notice if you chose Kirsten for that new ad campaign.
Local figures and experts can not only attract the right people, but they can also help you create content and communicate in a way that will be received well.
Collaboration can make or break your content marketing strategy, so if you want to win trust, consider “the who” and “why” they relate to your brand.
4. Target Consumers with Paid Social Media Campaigns
Organic engagement is the primary goal, but what do you do when you are relatively new to the game or when you have a particular target?
Unfortunately, free social media is no longer effective as platforms increasingly favor and encourage the use of their ad campaign tools (not free).
Paid social media campaigns are an excellent way to narrowly target your ideal consumer, anywhere in the world.
You can honestly be sitting in your grandma’s basement in central Kentucky and target 25- to 34-year-old females in Mumbai, India who are interested in cosmetics using social media promotion tools.
And the best part is that you are granted complete control over your budget, your conversion goals, the demographic targeting, and more.
Targeting local consumers on a global scale requires a unique approach. What works in your hometown will not resonate with folks living in a different hemisphere.
Take the time to understand each market and what they need from you as a business to win the support from an international customer base.