Global Content Strategy: a Complete Guide in Creating Content Without Borders

Content marketing’s an important component of any business marketing strategy. Content includes blogs, white papers, videos, and infographics. It’s a great way to reach customers online, so it’s no surprise 82% of marketers used content marketing in 2021.

Because content is online, you might think it will automatically reach international audiences. But that’s not always the case. To expand your business overseas, you need a global content strategy. This article will look at what a global content strategy is and how to create one.

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What is a global content strategy?

A content strategy is the planning, creation, delivery, and management of online content. Content strategists have many roles, including:

  • Defining business goals
  • Researching target audiences
  • Mapping the user journey
  • Designing content, including messaging and branding
  • Managing content workflows, roles, and tools
  • Developing content guidelines and best practices
  • Tracking and analyzing content marketing KPIs

A global content strategy does this on a much larger scale. To appeal to a global audience, you need a mixture of content and IT business strategies. You also need diverse content teams who are familiar with the culture of your target markets.

3 essential aspects of a global content strategy

1. Economy

Economic considerations include:

  • Currency and currency value 
  • Purchasing power 
  • Average income levels 

Information like this will help you create a realistic buyer persona. After all, you don’t want to waste money marketing goods to people who can’t afford them. Anything you write should reflect the currency and economic situation of each target country. 

2. Culture

Be sensitive to cultural differences, including beliefs, politics, holidays and festivals, and language. For example, English has different variations in different countries, like American and British English. An “inventory turnover calculator” in America would be a “stock turn calculator” in the UK. 

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To ensure cultural sensitivity, consult marketers in your target countries. 

3. Behavior on the internet

Identify the popular search engines and social media sites in each target country. For example, China has banned websites like Facebook and YouTube. Chinese consumers use Chinese social media sites like WeChat and Weibo. 

Also, identify the most popular search terms, which vary by country. Some topics, especially technical topics, may not be suitable everywhere. For instance, you could write about a multi tenant application in the US, but in Africa, it might not be relevant. 

5 common mistakes in creating global content

1. Unoriginal content

One common mistake is translating the same content into different languages. To make content resonate with people, create original content that’s tailored to each country. Research what’s relevant to local people and what they want to read about.

2. Creating one content for all audiences and cultures

As discussed, be sensitive to different cultures. That means creating content that reflects the unique culture of each target country. Today’s customers expect personalization, and content is no different. 

3. Lack of research in the audience’s culture

Research the audience’s culture to understand what users are searching for when they enter a certain keyword. For instance, “lifestyle” could mean:

  • Healthy eating and exercise
  • Vegan vs meat-based diets
  • How to earn money fast

The meaning can vary from country to country, so you must know which meaning to target to resonate with the local audience.

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4. Shallow translation

If you do translate content, ensure you consult a native speaker. Otherwise, you could end up with a shallow translation that loses the finer meaning of the content.

5. Lack of results analysis

Have a way to measure success. After all, product developers use agile metrics to improve products, so content marketers should use metrics to improve content. Common content marketing metrics are:

  • Engagement 
  • Traffic
  • Shares
  • Link clicks 
  • Time on page

You can also conduct A/B testing by monitoring KPIs to see which campaign performs best.

How to create an effective global content strategy

1. Plan, assess, and research

As discussed, research your target audiences in each country. Market research also includes researching your potential competitors. This means researching competitors in your target countries. Consider factors like:

  • The kind of content they write and the topics they write about 
  • Which communication channels they use
  • Which strategies give them the best results
  • How people react to their content
  • Any local brands or celebrities they partner with

Also,  research which Hreflang tag to use so your content is optimized for international SEO. The Hreflang tag tells search engines which language a webpage is in, so users get SERPs in their own language. For example, the “En” tag makes your content more visible to users who speak English.

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2. Feature local and well-known figures or products

A central part of content marketing is brand ambassadors like influencers and celebrities. Consumers are more likely to trust you if their favorite celebrity tells them how great your product is. Use brand ambassadors that are relevant to your target audience.

The solution? Partner with brand ambassadors that are popular in the country you’re marketing to. Research popular influencers and brands in your target countries, and find popular websites and blogs. Guest posting is a great way to get your content out there.

3. Understand restrictions in culture

Research whether there are any taboo or sensitive topics you should avoid. What’s acceptable in one culture can be offensive in another, so don’t make a joke unless you’re sure it’s not offensive. Sensitive topics include:

  • Gender
  • Religion 
  • Race
  • Politics
  • History

If in doubt, avoid talking about them.

4. Create a persona and user journey

Use your target audience research to create a buyer persona and user journey. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Typically, buyer personas include information like:

  • Interests and behavior
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Goals 
  • Pain points
  • Buying patterns 

Map out your user journey. This shows you any potential pain points, so you know which kind of content will resonate most with your audience. Together, buyer personas and user journeys guide your content creation. Create separate personas and user journeys for each target country. 

Conclusion

Nowadays, the best way for a business to thrive is to reach international audiences. Content marketing’s great for this. To create content without borders, you need a global content strategy.

Global content marketing’s more than translating the same content into different languages. You must understand the cultures you’re targeting, and partner with brand ambassadors local people relate to. Market research is key, as is employing diverse content teams. The most important thing to remember is there’s no one-size-fits-all for global content.

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