Optimizing Your Multilingual Content Plan for Worldwide Growth
Creating an effective multilingual content plan is a tough job. But when successful, it can lead to worldwide growth. Is your content plan up to the challenge? Consider these six steps to help retool your multilingual approach and help your company achieve big things.
1. Consider How You Decide on Languages and Markets
Don’t just dive into Chinese because it’s the next biggest language on the Internet after English.
Consider what is best for your company—there is no one best approach. You’ll want to research gaps in the market and target audiences where your message could thrive. You’ll also want to take potential barriers to success, like competition and legal red tape, into account.
The potential for growth is another factor to consider. For example, Internet World Stats reports that the number of Arabic users online grew nearly 7,000 percent between 2000 and 2017. This was by far the biggest user growth during that period. Companies that took early advantage of this growth were smart.
2. Start with Easily Translatable Content, Then Localize
Creating solid, easily translatable content is key. This is the backbone of all your multilingual content. It is particularly crucial if you are aiming for translation into multiple languages.
Start with a base of content that makes the tone and desired outcome clear for all translators. Then work with a skilled translation company to bring it to life. Localize from this strong foundation.
As always, these localization efforts should take place in a way that still supports the global brand personality. This tricky task is easier when the source content is created intentionally.
3. Take Advantage of Technology and Tools
Every day developers and strategists are working on tools to make global digital marketing easier. Make sure you’re properly utilizing these tools.
Are you using a website platform that makes multilingual content more manageable? Is your SEO strategy ready for the worldwide market? (More on this later.) And are you utilizing language tools like translation memory and translation style guides?
Reevaluate your options and current methods and make sure you’re using technology to your advantage.
4. Make Sure Your SEO Efforts are Globalized
SEO is a great tool for creating a strong web presence. However, that presence will go underutilized if visitors in a certain region are searching using completely different terminology.
Even regional spellings in a single language can cause an issue, as Moz points out. You don’t want to be targeting your “aluminum siding” to British audiences who are searching for the “aluminium siding” they want to purchase.
Dedicating time and effort to localizing global SEO efforts goes beyond keyword and spellings. Consider how your site is organized and how users in different regions are likely to use it.
And consider which search engine you’re targeting—don’t automatically default to Google and leave it at that. For example, in Russia, a search engine called Yandex is king. According to Yandex’s 2016 financial reports, the site had 55 percent of the Russian search market share during the final quarter of 2016.
5. Consider Local Outreach Options
Are you trying to reach Chinese customers with a Facebook campaign? Yet again we see that one size doesn’t fit all. All that great content is worthless if no one sees it.
Because the social networking site is blocked in China, you’ll need to find another way to reach locals. QZone and WeChat were some of the most popular social media and instant messaging platforms in China during 2016, according to social media expert Vincenzo Cosenza.
You’ll want to make sure that your outreach efforts are led by someone who understands these platforms and how your target audience uses them. Don’t dive in blind and risk alienating or completely missing your market.
6. Put Effort into Metrics
Gather and analyze data from every market as you expand. You’re likely to see what’s working well in one region isn’t as successful in another. This shouldn’t be a source of frustration, but rather invaluable insight.
This data is already at your fingertips. Analyze factors like sales, website traffic, social media engagement, and complaints. Rely on these measurements to guide your multilingual content plan and strategy, and with each new effort, you’ll reach new levels of success.
A Smart Multilingual Content Plan Can Mean a Big Payoff
By retooling your multilingual content plan, you can better prepare for international expansions. And once expansion happens, you can better reach audiences, both at home and abroad.
Common Sense Advisory reports that 12 different languages are now required to reach 80 percent of internet users. Sticking with just one language will leave you unable to reach even 25 percent of users.
Companies with an eye on international markets must become multilingual or fall behind. And they must manage their global content with expertise. Consider your approach to content thoroughly and often to stay ahead in an ever-changing global marketplace.