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6 essential steps for creating a content localization strategy

by | May 28, 2024 | Public Relations

Content marketing is all about reaching audiences on a personal and emotional level.

But imagine if you came across an intriguing social media post in a language you were only semi-proficient in. So much is lost in translation, and you might not pick up on all the cultural nuances that make that content shine. 

It’s a loss for you, and it’s a loss for the marketers who work tirelessly to create such engaging content. 

As a business focused on marketing and positive PR, neglecting your global audience is leaving money on the table. 

That’s where content localization comes in. Appealing to your target market in their own languages, cultures, and identities is the path to growing a global customer base.

In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of content localization and the steps your business can take in developing a content localization process.

content localization

Understanding content localization

Content localization involves adapting or creating content to fit the languages, cultures, and expectations of different audiences around the world. 

Content localization includes:

  • Creating new content to appeal directly to international audiences 
  • Adapting existing content for international audiences through tweaks or translations
  • Utilizing multilingual SEO 
  • Following international marketing laws and regulations

Creating localized content is all about meeting audiences where they are. 

Instead of asking customers to navigate languages they don’t understand and content that isn’t relevant to their experiences, content localization creates marketing efforts that appeal to everyone.

The benefits of having a content localization strategy

So why do you need a content localization strategy? 

Let’s dive into some of the main benefits of localizing content for your organization’s content marketing process.

Successfully launching into new markets

First impressions are everything and to target a new market, you need to make a splash.

Targeting a new audience in a country you’re unfamiliar with can impact your sales and reputation. It gives the appearance that their country and culture are afterthoughts—as if you thought you could just march in and sell big without putting in the work. 

Content localization can help you build deeper connections with your new audience and create relevant and engaging content that appeals to them.

Higher ROI

Wasting money on irrelevant campaigns is a big problem when it comes to global marketing. 

Content localization makes sure your budget is going into highly relevant and targeted marketing. 

The return on investment for content localization can be huge. DeepL’s 2023-2024 report on content localization found that 96 percent of respondents reported a positive ROI from translation and localization efforts. Even more astounding—65 percent of respondents claimed an ROI of 3x or greater. 

Increased search engine optimization and click-through rates

Content localization allows you to adapt SEO to a variety of languages, driving more organic traffic to your websites, online stores, and social media channels.

When your content is localized, native language speakers are more likely to click on your links and hang around.

content localization

Deeper emotional connections

In our intro, we talked a little about connecting with audiences on an emotional level. Creating that emotional connection through layers of language and culture is difficult. 

For one thing, marketing has many layers. Content has just a moment to catch its audience’s attention. It should be immediately engaging and its message recognizable.

When we design content for a market, we take implied meaning for granted. There are so many layers of understanding that go into a piece of content, and that doesn’t translate well into other languages and cultures.

That’s why content localization is so important. To truly connect with your global audience, you need to understand and deliver the tone and nuance of your target audience’s language and expectations. 

Successful marketing requires an emotional spark. Localizing content for your audience helps you create that with authenticity. 

Compliance with local regulations

Content localization isn’t just about reaching audiences—it’s also about adhering to local laws and regulations.

For example, many countries and some US states have implemented taxation on sugary drinks (sometimes called a soda tax). Marketers in those areas are legally required to highlight this in their content.

Abiding by local laws and regulations can help you financially, legally, and reputationally. You don’t want to risk getting labeled a scam likely number or becoming the defendant in a false advertising lawsuit.

6 essential steps in conducting a content localization strategy

Developing a content localization strategy will help your business plan ahead, budget accordingly, and streamline your execution.

content localization

Here are some essential steps.

Assess your current situation

Content localization is a big undertaking. If you wish to expand into international markets, you need to consider:

  • Which markets you’re trying to reach
  • If there’s a need for your products and services there
  • What kind of marketing infrastructure you already have and if it’s scalable to an international level
  • Your budget
  • The return on investment that content localization can offer

Assessing the current state of your organization can help you build a realistic foundation to work with, and a realistic target to work towards.

Define your goals

Defining your goals upfront can help you plot a roadmap for the future and get all stakeholders on board.

So what are your content localization goals? 

Maybe you want to expand into one new international market. If so, what defines success? Maybe it’s attracting more international social media followers, or improving website traffic, or just pure sales numbers.

Define which metrics your content localization process can help you achieve, and then plan strategies to lead you there.

Understand your target audiences

To localize your content, you first need to understand each audience you’re targeting.

You can do this in a few ways:

  • Conduct surveys amongst your new potential customers
  • Undertake social listening in your target market to assess the needs and expectations of your audience
  • Look at what your competitors are doing in international markets
  • Speak with people within your organization who have ties to the location, culture, and target language you’re trying to reach

If you’ve looked at your resources and decided you can only expand into one or two new areas, understanding your customer base can help you make vital decisions about where to conduct your content localization.

Create a dedicated content localization team

A 2023 Global Trends in Marketing Localization report by Unbabel found that 64% of global marketers had a dedicated content localization team.

It seems to indicate that many organizations are heading towards a more holistic approach to international marketing efforts—now labeled Language Operations, or LangOps. 

This LangOps model creates a system by which businesses can easily scale their content localization strategies as they grow into new markets.

All this is to say that content localization is becoming the norm for growing companies. Businesses are preparing, factoring the costs of creating localized content into their growth models.

It’s worth considering putting together a dedicated localization team. You can do this by looking at your existing resources and your ability to scale marketing operations.

  • Do you have multilingual employees? If so, great! They could be ripe for a promotion to your new team.
  • Can you scale your marketing operations? Multinational marketing efforts require more resources, employees, and money.
  • Can you budget for recruitment? A dedicated team will require new hires such as translators, researchers, and additional marketing staff. 

Don’t skimp on translation

Translation is key to any content localization strategy.

Whether you’re creating entirely new content or adapting existing content into multiple languages, you need to be sure that your content is legible and high-quality.

If it looks like you just tossed a social media post through Google Translate, native speakers are going to notice.

content localization

There are a couple of ways to refine your content translation process: machine translation and human translation.

Machine translation

Machine translation is one of many content localization tools, and most marketers are happy with the results. Content translation tools can help you manage your budget and localization content quickly.

Unbabel’s Global Trends in Marketing Localization report found that 39% of businesses are using machine translation, and 83% are confident in the results.

If you’re worried about the technical aspects of machine translation tools, consider a mainframe migration to cloud and the utilization of cloud-based services.

Human translation

Human translation is less budget-friendly, but humans can interpret and translate nuance and tone much better than algorithms. 

If your budget allows, multilingual employees can be a real benefit to your content localization strategy.

You can even utilize a mix of both, using machine translation and having a real person edit and fine-tune.

Gather and analyze data

You’ve planned your strategy, defined your targets, and deployed your content localization efforts.

Now you need to look at that information and assess what worked, what didn’t, and what could be improved upon.

To get this data, you can look at:

  • Audience feedback through social media, surveys, forums
  • Email sign-up and open rates
  • Social media engagement
  • Organic web search traffic
  • Lead generation and conversion
  • ROI

All of these metrics will help you decide if your content localization strategy is a success. Increased engagement with your brand proves that your content localization strategy is paying off.

content localization

Create a content localization strategy that pays off

Content localization isn’t quick or easy. It’s time-intensive, costly, and requires a lot of planning.

But it’s worth it. 

For brands looking to expand into international markets, content localization is essential. The return on investment for content localization is huge, and businesses can no longer afford to neglect their international audiences.

Follow our essential steps to creating and deploying a content localization strategy that will keep your business thriving in a global market. 

Cory Plachy
Cory Plachy is the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Convoso, the leading contact center software for powering sales and lead generation As an adaptable and naturally curious Marketing Communications Manager, Cory channels years of content creation, marketing and sales experience into the world of SaaS communication. Here is her LinkedIn.

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