Think Global, Content Local: the Key to International Content Marketing Success

Think Global, Content Local: the Key to International Content Marketing Success

It’s the elephant in the room. The internet has enabled a global audience to potentially see your product and service offerings. We are all international businesses now. Supposedly.

But it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

I think we are still struggling to figure out how to have success on the global stage. We believe that the world should be beating a path to our door, and to a certain extent they are — if that world consists only of those who are fluent in English (or at least can read in English) — and you’re really good at what you do.

But is there a specific mindset or methodology that can help us make true progress in international markets using content? I believe there is.

What I want to argue is a concept called “Think Global, Content Local.”

The Coke Playbook

Let’s look at one of the most iconic and successful global brands in history, Coca-Cola, and its implications for content marketers.

To boil down a strategy that is obviously a complex system of interconnected regional offices, hundreds franchisee bottlers and hundreds of local and global marketing campaigns into two simple concepts, we can summarize Coke’s global formula for success as follows:

Think Global, Act Local. Specifically, it can be broken down into two parts:

1. A globally transcendent brand message that appeals to everybody

2. Relentless localization

1. Globally Transcendent Brand Message

What is the one, simple brand message that distinguishes Coke from any other soft drink the world over?


In her blog post for the Smartling blog, Shahrzad Warketin says:

Throughout the decades and multitudes of marketing campaigns, Coca-Cola has remained consistent when communicating one strong and effective message: pleasure. Enduring, simple slogans such as “Enjoy” and “Happiness” never go out of style and translate easily across the globe.

Coke’s “Joy” message transcends nations, races and cultures. It’s a universal concept.

2. Relentless Localization

But Warketin points out something else that was key to Coke’s success: allowing their global franchisees substantial flexibility to make Coke a local brand:

Each country’s offerings are customized to its local culture and language, with the most popular names of each region printed on cans and bottles in place of the company’s moniker. This campaign is the perfect example of effectively applying a localized strategy to a global market.

When I used to visit Mexico as a child I remember how ingrained Coke was in Mexican society. Coke was as Mexican as Chile Relleno and Mole Poblano. And that’s because Mexico’s local bottling franchisees did a fantastic job of making Coke a Mexican brand.

Global Yet Local Content

Which brings me around to the Think Global, Content Local approach. The most successful international content marketers today have a consistent message, which translates across cultures and continents, yet create content that is completely appropriate for the local markets in which they transact business.

Blanca Treviño, CEO Softtek

Exhibit A: Nearshore technology outsourcing powerhouse Softtek, Mexico’s largest technology consulting firm. In fact, they’re the largest Latin American technology-consulting firm. Led by their dynamic CEO Blanca Treviño, Softtek has become an icon in the Nearshore outsourcing industry (in fact they trademarked the term “Near Shore”).

But they’re main content marketing efforts are oriented towards the English-speaking market. In fact their blog has a decidedly American accent. They’re not just blogging in English, they’re speaking in the particular vernacular preferred by their North American corporate clients.

At the same time, they cover topics that are of universal concern to a global audience: IT security, digital transformation, agile methodologies.

Softtek has made a point of addressing universal topics, but appealing to their primary target market, North America, by creating content with a decidedly local voice.

This is harder said than done, but when done right it can reap many rewards.

The Thing Global, Content Local Prerogative

So what does it mean to think global and content local? I believe it takes a two-fold approach:

1. Find your unique, universally appealing mission and voice. There are universal truths about you and your brand that have global appeal, and that you can communicate in your content. Coke’s is Joy, which they communicate through their bottle, their proprietary font, and their joy-oriented content. As a B2B brand, you too must identify that mission and voice that distinguishes both your product and service offerings, as well as the value you communicate through your content.

2. Create content locally. But if you want to truly have success in an international market, then you’ve got to create content locally — or as close to locally as possible. Recently a South American retailer contacted me because they were looking for a pan-Latin American content marketing agency to help them with their efforts throughout the region. But the person I spoke with emphasized something very important: the content has to be local to each country or region. He said that what flies in Colombia won’t fly in Chile, and what works in Argentina won’t be the same as what resonates in Mexico.

Google Translate will not do the job for you. A generic Spanish content effort (or English if you’re hoping to enter markets such as the UK, Canada, US, India) won’t work.

And it’s not just language differences — it’s holidays, slang, the school year, work schedules, local pop culture, the local media landscape, the social media networks that are popular in one country vs. the other.

For example, did you know that in Mexico you’re not going to make it big this year if you focus on SnapChat, despite the fact that Gary Vaynerchuk is so bullish on it? That’s because data usage costs are exorbitantly high in Mexico due to the almost total monopolistic hold Teléfonos de México has on the local telecom market.

Yet for applications like Facebook and Instagram data is free, thus making these the default favorite services of Mexico’s youth.

I just discovered that.

My suggestion, adopt the “Think Global, Content Local” mindset and put it into practice.

In future blog posts I’ll get into specific strategies and tactics as to how to make this work for you.

PS. By the way, you can read about how I got my first international client while blogging in Spanish.

Original article published here:

Why Translating Your Website is the Next Big Thing in Marketing

A few years ago, targeting a local audience was highly effective in online marketing. It has made it easier for online brands to rank in search engines, relate to their target audience, provide consistent customer support, geo-target their content, and deliver products or services. But in business, change is an inevitable element that kept companies on their toes.

Aside from the ones mentioned above, another advantage of focusing on a local audience is the competition. By further defining their target audience, online marketers were able to narrow down the competition and gain a comfortable market share. This was enough to enable growth and sustainability for a lot of online businesses.

Why Translating Your Website is the Next Big Thing in Marketing

But as more brands enter the market, established brands begin extending their marketing reach to stay ahead of the competition. And as markets grew more saturated, so did the need for global advertising,which is one of the significant marketing trends to look out for in 2016. Who knows, big firms in the UK, Asia, or Australia could be competing for your local audience in NYC this time next year.

Competing for a Global Audience

Effective global advertising takes a lot more than just enabling traffic to your website from different countries. True, your website might already be accessible to users in France, Germany, or China, but this means nothing without one key component to make global advertising work.

Think about this — what do extremely successful companies like McDonald’s, Nike, Apple, and Googlehave in common?

They are all globally-recognized brands. And more importantly, they cater to their foreign audiences with their own native languages.

You may not be looking to top the globally-recognized brands mentioned above. But it’s not about being the best – it’s about surviving the competition that never stops getting tougher:

The Need for Global Advertising is REAL

It’s true that there are plenty of startups — particularly those who offer digital services — set up shop with global in mind. Even so, most of them still overlook the importance of supporting site-wide translations to communicate with the international audience. This is probably due to the widespread misconception thatEnglish is the primary language of the internet. Sure, it might be the most-used language, but calling it the primary language is a stretch. Keep in mind that only 32.8% of internet users are English-speakers. Furthermore, more than half of all Google searches are made with another language.

If you have never considered using translated content or offering translation in your site before, then this means you could be missing out on more than half of the online population. This will definitely limit your own company’s growth and income potential. And as more online marketers realize this mistake, the demand of website translation services continues to increase.

Also remember that about 72% of internet users prefer to browse using their own native language. Roughly the same amount of people also prefers shopping in a translated online store. Furthermore, 42%of online shoppers think twice about buying a product or service without translated information.

The link between translation and conversion isn’t really hard to understand. It can actually be summed up in two words: user experience.

Being able to access a website that’s translated to your native language immediately builds trust and authority, especially if you get every translation perfectly. It shows that a company has the initiative to employ certain measures that improve user experience. And regardless of language, consumers are all over companies who will put them first.

Furthermore, proper translation will improve the communication between you and your target audience. This is essential for many aspects of your marketing strategy, like promoting a new product, educating your audience about your brand, and nurturing them as your leads. Of course, all these will have a beneficial effect on your conversion rate.

So if your online storefront is receiving consistent traffic from a particular non-English speaking country, then you should absolutely implement translation to make the most out of it.

Translation is the Next Step for GROWTH

You may be fine with the results your business has been getting so far. But then again, remember that your market could be getting smaller as more competitors enter the industry. Besides, what’s the point of running a business if you’re not constantly pushing towards growth and progress?

If your business has already gained ground with your current setup, then expanding your reach by offering website translation and launching a global advertising campaign are the most cost-effective means of growth.

For example, Neil Patel of Quick Sprout (also co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics) reported a traffic increase of 47% within three weeks after translating his blog into another language. This is because translating your site is one of the best things you can do to boost its global visibility.

In addition to appealing more to the foreign audience, translating your website will also optimize it for global search engines. Believe it or not, Google, Bing, and Yahoo are not the most-used search engines in countries like France and Japan – at least, not the English versions of these search engines. And if you want your site to be indexed into these foreign search engines, such as or, then your website should contain quality content that’s written with the appropriate foreign language.

If you want to extend your marketing reach to a non-English speaking country, be sure to incorporate a little bit of their culture in your content. This should include your website’s images, theme, text articles, email content, and so on. This should speed up the development of trust between your brand’s identity and your foreign audience. However, you will need a bigger budget if you want to offer content that’s culturally relevant.

Translating must be Done CORRECTLY

Despite being a marketing necessity and a door to further company growth, remember that language translations can be a double-edged sword, especially if you’re unsure of what translation service or method to use. Remember that mistranslation is one of the worst communication blunders that can ruin your brand’s image.

Never forget that your brand’s image is at stake every time you communicate with your audience. When it comes to global advertising, remember that a single mistranslated word can ruin your credibility. Furthermore, mistranslations will force you to waste money just so you could correct translation mistakes. It is an unnecessary investment that could’ve been used for improving other areas of your business.

With all these being said, it is a good idea to test translation services before fully committing to them for a long-term project. Fortunately, it was only a matter of time before the best translation services were brought to light.

Finally, remember that translating your website content into the appropriate language is a great way to form a genuine connection with your international audience. Although it is an on-going trend, there is still a good chance that your competitors haven’t implemented content translations yet. You can use this to your advantage by being the first to establish your brand in a foreign market segment.

Original article published here: