Thinking about internationalizing your business

Thinking about internationalizing your business? Among the multiple aspects that this entails, the creation of digital content for each country is one of vital importance. When we are preparing the digital content strategy for different markets we must take into account different aspects. Thus, before launching to translate the web page or the blog we must have a clear and well-defined strategy. It is possible that in some cases it makes sense to replicate the same strategy as the national one, mainly if the markets are similar or have common features (like, for example, the Spanish market with the Italian market).

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However, we must never forget that each country and each culture is a world and that a certain level of adaptation will be necessary: we must be clear about who we are targeting and what are the characteristics of the market. But before translating the national website, we must take into account certain aspects and create a well-defined strategy. In this article, I want to tell you what you have to take into account, as far as content is concerned, when you launch your business to other markets. Let us begin!

Key aspects to consider before starting

It will not be enough to create content in several languages, but we must consider certain essential aspects. Take note!

Technical issues

There are some technical aspects that are essential for the strategy of creating digital content in different markets to succeed. Although it is best to have technical advice, I can tell you that aspects such as the domain , subdomain or subfolders should be reviewed, updated and adapted.

Search engines

Another relevant point to take into account is the study of the search engines in which we want to position the content. Maybe for a strategy of creating digital content in Spain, Europe, the United States, etc. let’s be clear that Google is the leading search engine, but there are some countries where it is not. In cases like China, whose most used search engine is Baidu, or Russia, where Yandex is the king, it would make no sense to base a strategy focused on Google.

Country research

A country is much more than a language. Translating the page is not enough and it is interesting to investigate to get a deep knowledge of the culture and the market: it is for this reason that what must be done is to locate the content. You can count on specialized profiles, such as translators, so they can carry out an appropriate location.

How to translate content for a multi-language strategy

Once we have covered the country’s research and all the more technical aspects of the strategy, it is time to define more precisely the strategy of creating digital content for the new market. Then I tell you the main aspects that you should consider.

1. Having valuable content

Having valuable content is essential, both for strategies in foreign and national markets. If you have some ideas and want to validate them, a good tool to find out if they are a trend in the target country and in the different geographical areas or specific regions is Google Trends. This tool will allow to deepen in certain subjects and to design a strategy to obtain better positioning.

2. Choose the different types of content

What kind of content are you going to create? It is clear that the strategy will be based on articles and posts on the blog or in the news section of your page, but there are some markets that are more avant-garde or perhaps we could say even more “digital”: your audience prefers another type of content more visual, so in these cases it makes sense to focus the strategy towards videos, infographics, images, etc.

3. Search keywords adapted to the market

Each market may have different search tendencies or keyword positioning competition, that is why it is necessary to perform keywords search adapted to each country. Creating a content adapted to a certain market means adapting keywords as well.

4. Organize publications

It is important to maintain an organization in publications, mainly in terms of seasonality. There are periods, for example, holidays, in which public responses may vary from one country to another. Even if we have a website in the same language but we receive traffic from several countries it could be key to detect a traffic drop for this reason from a specific country, although now Google is preferring to geolocate.

Using Google Keyword Planner we can see the seasonality of the keywords in each country and take into account this factor since the periods of holidays or seasonality can vary and thus affect the results of other countries’ projects.

5. Rethink the KPIs

There are certain essential KPIs in a content strategy, and they are equally important regardless of the country in which we are. However, we must take into account the peculiarities of the country and adapt when necessary.

6. Another type of strategy

Another type of strategy in the creation of digital content in different countries is the fact of mixing content created specifically for the country with translated content. Of course, without losing focus on the keyword, specifically sought to adapt that content.

Good practices in the creation of digital content for international markets

It is not enough to translate the content, you have to locate it. If you already have a content base in a language, to launch a multi-language content strategy is not just about making a translation, but it is also necessary to locate it to make sure it fits at the business level in the target country. Locating the content is a more complicated task than translating since it involves taking the content further, not only at the text and context level, but also in the fact that everything has to be adapted, especially if the country is very different: design, images, UX, etc. For example, if we have a website from Spain and we want to open a market in China or Japan, it would be strictly necessary to perform the location. Localization has a business component, and when considering the internationalization of a company (and with it the creation of digital content for different markets), it is important to have a global vision that does not neglect all these points.

Do not use machine translation

Although you can technically implement Google’s automatic translator, it is not a good practice to publish translated content directly from Google Translate. Although it can serve as a basis, it is not a text ready for publication and we would need to post it, as well as to professionalize that content. Not forgetting the SEO optimization mentioned at the time of keyword search. Automatic translation is becoming more sophisticated (tools such as DeepL give better and better results), but we can not say yet that it can replace a human being if we want to publish quality content. Professional translations must be performed, and the literal translations returned by the automatic translation tools do not yet have acceptable quality.

Practical example: Starbucks and Lush

To better understand the concept of location as a pillar of a strategy to enter a new market, we can see a couple of examples. The first is the case of the almost global coffee giant, Starbucks. We have visited the Starbucks home page of different countries on the same day and have found:

The second case is about Lush. This brand of cruelty free cosmetics and with a vegetarian-vegan approach makes an interesting use of the CTA in its home page: it has a different CTA in each language, as I show you next: Even if the language is the same, the CTA varies by country, as in the case of the United States and the United Kingdom: All these factors contribute to building the best possible user experience according to the country, and, if the market research that supports this decision making is correct and thorough, we could even see improvements in the conversion, since we know exactly what you like to our target audience and how to communicate with them more effectively. As a conclusion, we can say that there are three keys when we are dealing with a multi-language digital content creation strategy:

  • The context is fundamental.
  • Planning and strategy must go before action.
  • Knowledge of the specific characteristics of the target country is essential for success.

Have you developed a digital content strategy for different countries in your company or are you considering doing it? What difficulties are you encountering? Tell me in the comments section!

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