Given the global scale of the endeavor, it should be no surprise that global content marketing will be more challenging to execute than undertaking localized content marketing for just one target audience.
In particular, the various international markets you’re targeting will have different needs, interests, and preferences. How can you consistently create content:
- that appeals to their differing characteristics,
- in a manner that makes the most efficient use of your limited resources, and
- delivers the desired increase in brand awareness and sales?
The answer lies in crafting a global content marketing strategy that comprehensively lays out which markets you’ll be creating content for, how you’ll create such content, and how you’ll evaluate and improve on the results of your content as a whole. Keep reading as we share an 8-step marketing plan for doing just that.
What is content marketing?
If you’re looking into global content marketing, you probably already have some familiarity with content marketing in general. But let’s get into a quick explainer on this to make sure we’re on the same page.
Content marketing is a branch of marketing that uses content to market a business or specific products and services of the business. Such content includes blog posts, social media posts, e-books, white papers, infographics, and videos. Instead of trying to go for the sale right away, the main goal of content marketing is to educate the target audience on topics surrounding the business’s industry and share how the business’s products or services can help address the user’s pain points.
Through sharing insights and expertise, content marketing also aims to position the business as an authority in its space. If this is done well, customers may regard the business as a trustworthy source of information. They may also perceive the business’s products or services to be worth using, and then purchase these – leading to more sales.
Since successful content marketing relies on producing relevant and valuable content for your target audience, you’ll need a good understanding of your target audience to create content they will resonate with. You’ll also need a solid strategy for distributing the produced content because it’s not going to promote itself!
Among the various content distribution methods, optimizing your content for higher visibility in the search engine results pages is an especially popular strategy. We’ll touch on a particular search engine optimization (SEO) tactic for lifting your content’s search rankings later.
What is a global content marketing strategy?
So that’s the general concept of content marketing. A global content marketing strategy follows the same playbook, but applies it on an international scale. In other words, instead of creating content for a particular local audience, you’ll be creating and distributing content to international customers across multiple geographical regions, with the aim of increasing global brand awareness and sales.
Since people in these different locations have varying cultural tastes and preferences, you’ll need to adapt the content you produce to suit their specific needs. For example, if you’re producing English-language content for an American audience, you’d minimally need to translate these to Japanese if you are marketing to people in Japan (since Japanese is the most-used language there). Simply producing a piece of content for one geographical market and reusing it wholesale for another, regardless of the region you are targeting, is a sure-fire recipe for having that content fail to take off with the people there.
But as you modify your marketing campaigns for different countries, you risk diluting – or even altering – your brand messaging such that it is no longer an accurate representation of your brand. A main challenge of global content marketing is therefore to produce and adapt content for specific local markets while keeping your brand messaging and voice consistent across the board.
This can be a more resource-intensive exercise, but later, we’ll share a tool you can tap into to reduce the costs of global content production. Using it, you’ll be able to free up resources for fine-tuning your content to meet the needs of local markets while ensuring it stays true to your brand.
How to create a global content marketing strategy in 2023
1. Identify and understand your global target audiences
The first step to running a successful global marketing strategy is to identify the people you want to market to. In other words, who will you be creating your content for?
If you aren’t sure who they are, conduct market research into which international audiences are already showing interest in your brand – and hence more receptive toward your products and services. For example, a review of your Google Analytics reports may indicate that your website receives many visitors from Germany. In this case, you may want to develop content for the German market.
After identifying your global target audiences, learn more about them so you can tailor your content to their unique characteristics. For example, you could look into:
- Their general demographics, such as their age, gender, and occupation.
- The languages they speak.
- Their interests, desires, and pain points.
- The social media platforms they frequent (and that may hence be ideal for posting content on).
Your findings for these issues could differ significantly from market to market, and it’s worth keeping such differences in mind for your global content strategy. They’ll provide guidance on whether you could adapt existing content for your new markets, or whether you might be better off creating new content from scratch.
Want intel straight from your new market? Consider working with an international SEO agency, as they’ll help you determine the right keywords to make sure you hit the bullseye with your audience.
2. Undertake international SEO keyword research
As mentioned above, optimizing your content for higher search visibility is a common method of improving its distribution. However, your SEO efforts should start right at the content creation phase and not only after you’ve created your content.
In particular, conduct keyword research to identify the search terms (also known as “keywords”) your target customers use in their online searches. If it makes sense to, you’d then create content that aims to rank for such keywords so it gets seen by potential customers. The higher your content’s rankings for keywords relevant to your business, the more website traffic you are likely to enjoy – which can ultimately lead to more sales.
If you’re accustomed to researching keywords for a local audience, you’ll be glad to know that international SEO keyword research works similarly. For each global market you intend to target, shortlist high-potential keywords by considering factors such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and search intent. SEO tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush are extremely beneficial here.
Apart from looking for entirely new keywords, a comprehensive global SEO strategy typically also involves translating and localizing your existing keywords (more on localization later) for your new audiences. This is a good method of reusing keywords you’ve already identified for your business and getting them to do double duty.
3. Define your KPIs
One more thing to do before you dive into content creation work is to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring the success of your global content marketing strategy. Your KPIs could include metrics such as:
- The number of times your content has been viewed. You could swap out this metric for YouTube video views or social media reach if your content is in YouTube video or social media post format, respectively.
- The number of clicks your content receives. If more people are clicking your content to view it, this is a good sign they’re interested in it.
- Your conversion rates. You’ll also need to define what a successful conversion would look like. For example, it could be the placing of an order or requesting a demo. (Just bear in mind that people are unlikely to convert the first time they view your content, so you may need to engage in content marketing for the long term before you start seeing significant boosts to your business’s bottom line.)
The KPIs you prioritize may also differ between markets. For example, if you are working on growing your brand awareness in one market, you may want to pay more attention to the number of views your content has received in that market for the time being. That’s because the more views your content gets, the stronger your brand awareness will likely be over time.
In contrast, in markets where you have a more established presence, your conversion rate is likely to be the more important KPI as you focus on making more sales.
4. Create your content
With all the groundwork laid, you can move on to the fun part of creating your content!
Although it may seem as if the biggest brands create content for every platform under the sun, we suggest focusing on producing just one or two content formats at the start. Resist the urge to put out daily blog posts, publish 10 social media posts on three different platforms every week, hold monthly webinars, and start your fortnightly podcast all at once, and in multiple markets – trying to do too many things at the same time will only lead to you spreading your resources too thin.
Once you’ve decided on your content formats, work on producing high-quality content that your audience will love and find valuable. For example, you can interview experts to learn their opinions on the challenges your customers tend to face (and that your products can help address). Alternatively, have knowledgeable team members address your customers’ burning questions about using your products. Your content should speak to the user pain points and desires you’ve uncovered through your market research. Where appropriate, optimize your content for the search keywords you’ve identified earlier as well.
How your content is packaged also plays a big part in determining whether it’ll be well received by your target audience. This can involve investing in custom images and infographics for blog posts (as opposed to using bland stock images), or filming your videos using a professional film setup. If you don’t have an in-house team experienced in such content production work, consider hiring external agencies to fill this gap.
5. Translate your content
If you have great content performing well in one market, it’s worth exploring if you can repurpose it for other markets. And here, the language your content is in matters: if your content isn’t in a particular audience’s preferred language, you’ll need to translate it. Otherwise, all the value that your content provides may just get lost in translation.
Hiring a professional translator to translate all your content can quickly get expensive, especially if you need translations into multiple languages. The easier and more cost-effective method of creating multilingual content is to use translation solutions like Weglot. Using machine learning technology, Weglot translates and displays your website into over 110 supported languages instantly and accurately. This makes it perfect for translating your content marketing efforts on your site, including, blog posts, case studies, and other text-based content published on websites.
All website translations are stored in a central dashboard where you can make manual edits to ensure your content matches your brand identity. You can also preview your translations on your website to check if they need to be tweaked to suit your website theme. (This can include the shortening of translated button text copy so your buttons don’t appear too wide, for example.) And instead of doing everything on your own, you can invite digital marketing team members and external agencies to collaborate and assist with your translation project.
6. Localize your content
After translating your content for a new market, the next step is to localize it. Localization is the process of adjusting a piece of content to fit the societal preferences of the local market. While this involves translating your content into the target audience’s native language, localization also takes into account other cultural nuances that the content will need to cater to. Executing a well-rounded localization strategy may involve:
- Replacing words with local slang and dialect, such as changing the word “breakfast” to “brekkie” if you are localizing your content for the Australian market.
- Translating your media, which involves swapping out existing images, videos, and other media with more appropriate alternatives for the new market. For example, if your content had originally been produced for the Italian market and features an image of Italy’s national flag, you could replace this image with an image of Canada’s national flag if you are localizing your content for Canadian users.
- Redeveloping your website theme to support right-to-left language content, such as content in Arabic or Urdu, if you are targeting visitors from countries that speak these languages.
As far as possible, your content should blend seamlessly with your target market’s local context. This makes your content more relatable to your global audiences so they’ll be more likely to have a good user experience when engaging with it. The conversions and sales you seek will naturally follow.
7. Track the performance of your content
You’ve polished up your content and released it into the wild. Now, use the KPIs you’ve defined earlier to gauge the impact of your marketing efforts.
Tools such as GA4 can help you track key metrics for website-based content, including page views, the geographical locations of visitors, and goal conversion rates. On the other hand, if you post a video to YouTube, the platform can share insights on the number of views your video has gotten, watch time, average view duration, and more. And over on Instagram, you’ll be able to track data such as the number of likes, comments, shares, and saves your posts have received.
If a piece of content is doing really well, analyze what made it shine so you can replicate this for future content. Likewise, if your content seems to have underperformed, review its possible shortcomings so you can avoid making the same mistakes next time. That said, some types of content (such as search-engine optimized ones) may take time to deliver results, so allow your content to gain sufficient audience exposure before you pronounce whether it is a success or a flop.
8. Consistently adjust and update your strategy
As with any marketing strategy, a global content strategy will need regular adjustment and refinement to continue producing results. Keep an eye on how your content is doing in various markets across the world and be prepared to change your approach based on how things are working (or not working). For example, if a certain piece of content has gotten traction in one geographical market, you might want to localize it for another.
Apart from updating your global content strategy based on the data gathered, don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas to see if they appeal to customers. Keep a pulse on the content that peers in your industry have released, or even the content that businesses in other industries are putting out. They will give you fresh ideas and inspiration for new content that your target audiences may love.
Get started with global content marketing with Weglot
Global content marketing can be highly effective in attracting new customers to your business, but only if it’s done well. And as we’ve seen here, executing a comprehensive global content marketing strategy involves many stages of planning, content creation, and evaluation.
You’ll first need to lay the foundation for success by establishing your target market segments in different geographical regions, conducting keyword research, and defining the KPIs of your content pieces.
After that comes the actual content creation work, which involves creating, translating, and localizing your content. Finally, track your content’s performance and use these insights to improve your international content marketing strategy.
Weglot will prove to be a vital tool in your global content marketing strategy here, helping you translate all your website-based content in minutes. Using its high-quality content translations, you’ll be able to get your content to the international markets faster and start reaping the benefits of content marketing sooner.
Try Weglot on your website for free to see how it can help you achieve the business goals you’ve set for your content marketing efforts.