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Multicultural Content Marketing Whitepaper
 

Multicultural Content Marketing Whitepaper

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English may be the lingua franca of the internet, but it is the first language of only just over a quarter of users. The number of English speakers online has grown by around 300 percent over the last ...

English may be the lingua franca of the internet, but it is the first language of only just over a quarter of users. The number of English speakers online has grown by around 300 percent over the last decade, compared to Spanish (800 percent), Chinese (1,500 percent) and Arabic (over 2,500 percent).

According to a recent Eurobarometer study, only around 18 percent of web users in the EU feel
comfortable purchasing a product in a non-native language – and 42 percent said they would
never buy online in a language that was not their own.

Early birds with a strong multicultural content marketing strategy can vastly improve organic
traffic, user loyalty and conversion rates.

Stories and symbols

Storytelling is a powerful tool for marketers, especially in an age where users can share and
recommend digital content with a single click. Good stories engage and inspire readers.
Compare a hotel website that lists dry room dimensions and amenities with one that uses cool
images, interesting facts and personal stories to bring the place to life. Which one would you be
more likely to read and share?

The secret of international content marketing is to understand local customs and language
usage. Stories and symbols have to resonate with users by tapping into cultural sensibilities –
not alienate them through ill-translated content, clichés and stereotypes.
There are three steps to successful global content marketing:

1. Develop an integrated content strategy that aligns all areas of communication, and
includes digital content marketing and storytelling as central pillars. Identify target
cultures and languages, and make sure your technical capabilities and resources can
cope.

2. Gather and create cool content and stories that will engage readers, and that they will
want to read, share and spread on social media. Adapt these for your target cultures
and digital platforms. Use on-the-ground resources, whether your own network or an
international content marketing agency.

3. Set clear Key Performance Indicators for measuring the success of your international
marketing campaigns, and analytics programs to track them. They should include
organic traffic and conversion rates as a minimum, with the aim of calculating the Return
on Investment of your multicultural marketing campaigns.

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    Multicultural Content Marketing Whitepaper Multicultural Content Marketing Whitepaper Document Transcript

    • How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • English may be the lingua franca of the internet, but it is the first language of only just over a quarter of users. The number of English speakers online has grown by around 300 percent over the last decade, compared to Spanish (800 percent), Chinese (1,500 percent) and Arabic (over 2,500 percent). According to a recent Eurobarometer study, only around 18 percent of web users in the EU feel comfortable purchasing a product in a non-native language – and 42 percent said they would never buy online in a language that was not their own. Early birds with a strong multicultural content marketing strategy can vastly improve organic traffic, user loyalty and conversion rates. Stories and symbols Storytelling is a powerful tool for marketers, especially in an age where users can share and recommend digital content with a single click. Good stories engage and inspire readers. Compare a hotel website that lists dry room dimensions and amenities with one that uses cool images, interesting facts and personal stories to bring the place to life. Which one would you be more likely to read and share? The secret of international content marketing is to understand local customs and language usage. Stories and symbols have to resonate with users by tapping into cultural sensibilities – not alienate them through ill-translated content, clichés and stereotypes. There are three steps to successful global content marketing: 1. Develop an integrated content strategy that aligns all areas of communication, and includes digital content marketing and storytelling as central pillars. Identify target cultures and languages, and make sure your technical capabilities and resources can cope. 2. Gather and create cool content and stories that will engage readers, and that they will want to read, share and spread on social media. Adapt these for your target cultures and digital platforms. Use on-the-ground resources, whether your own network or an international content marketing agency. 3. Set clear Key Performance Indicators for measuring the success of your international marketing campaigns, and analytics programs to track them. They should include organic traffic and conversion rates as a minimum, with the aim of calculating the Return on Investment of your multicultural marketing campaigns. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-556_en.htm Targeting digital marketing campaigns at different cultures and languages is a no-brainer for global brands. How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • Prepare What is your aim in expanding your marketing campaigns worldwide? • Grow organic traffic? • Improve conversion rates? • Expand sales directly through e-commerce? • Widen your indirect sales channels – provide a space for coupons, features, offers? • Build your brand's reputation abroad? • Recruit international talent? • Publicise a new presence, such as a new hotel or store? • Develop a reputation as a global leader in your industry? Knowing what you want to achieve is key – not just in content creation but in analyzing your success. Take aim Who are you targeting? This is an easy question with a complex answer. Even European countries may have several different languages or dialects – tiny Switzerland uses French, Swiss German and Italian – and the issues are compounded in large countries such as South Africa, which has 11 distinct languages, or India, which has 22 official but over 300 unofficial languages. Consider regional variations, too. Spanish is the official language in around 20 countries, but a Spaniard and a Mexican will have different vocabularies, grammar structures and frames of reference. Unless you're Coca-Cola, you don't need 15 languages on your website. Quality is better than quantity. So use your company's sales and forecast data, as well as statistics on internet usage and growth, to focus on the two or three countries or languages with the most potential. On the technical side, make sure your website can auto-detect the user's country or language, either through an IP address or browser settings. A home page that pops up in a user's own language sends a welcome message: "Hello, we're thinking of you!" Muster the troops Storytelling relies on a coherent message and branding. If your style guidelines need creating or updating, do it now. Engage people at all levels of your company, from the CMO to call-centre staff. 1. Strategy & focus How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • Choose your weapons There is an ever-increasing array of digital platforms on which to present and consume content, and their popularity varies across the world. The explosion in the use of mobile devices, particularly in emerging economies, makes content marketing more essential than ever: traditional digital ads just don't work on small screens. Smartphones and tablets also change the way you create and distribute content, encouraging snippets and sound bites rather than lengthy articles, and lightweight images and videos. Whether on desktop computers, laptops, tablets or mobiles, channels to consider include: • Regular websites, with or without interactivity • Blogs and guest blogs • Micro-blogs • Social networking sites • Apps (preferably cross-platform) • SMS • Videos • Images • Presentations • User review sites Consider which are the most effective channels – and the most popular in your target cultures – and focus your resources on those. If you're targeting the Chinese market, there's no point setting up a Facebook account (it's banned), focusing on Google search (go for Baidu), or using Twitter (try Sina Weibo). Choose channels that are likely to last. Keep your regular multilingual website as base camp. And check out which platforms your competitors are using – and how successful their efforts are. Resources and logistics Who is going to oversee, create and maintain your content? How often? How much? How long? A network of professional local content specialists (writers, editors, photographers, video journalists) is essential. If you don't have such a network, consider outsourcing to an international content marketing agency. Local experts can create quality content that hits the right buttons, and can advise on cultural customs and events that may affect your campaign. Second, draw up an internal content publishing schedule that details how and how often you will create and update content, and on which channels. Third, engage your tech guys and girls early. A brilliant multicultural content strategy requires an equally brilliant technical team and a user-friendly CMS – preferably one that enables multiple users to upload, edit and publish content on several platforms and in your chosen languages. How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • Secrets of storytelling The art of digital storytelling is too vast a subject to cover here, but the basic principle is to keep it real. Share true stories about who makes your products and how. Behind-the-scenes glimpses make readers feel they are backstage at an exciting event, and the human element allows ordinary people to identify with a brand. Accompany your stories with powerful imagery, whether photos or videos, and preferably sound, too. Engaging the senses – and the brain – helps users internalise your brand's core values. Users and fans like to share good stories with their friends, so make it easy for them to 'like' or 'follow' you, and set in place analytics tools to track this activity. Don't worry about creating 'viral' content, which causes a flash of traffic that quickly dies. Instead, aim for high-quality stories that will spread steadily through social networks and deliver long-lasting results. Add a local touch Context-specific localisation is the next step. It's well recognised that word-for-word translation, whether of the automated or human kind, is a poor substitute for content creation by professional local specialists. Even numbers and colours may cause offence when translated directly with no knowledge of local cultures. In Japan, for instance, the numbers four and nine are bad luck, as is the colour white. The key is clever adaptation. McDonald's is an instantly recognisable brand across the world, but if it didn't adapt menus to different cultures, it would be trying to sell beef burgers to Hindus. Instead, the company targets local tastes – in India, for instance, you can tuck into a McSpicy™ Paneer Burger or McAloo Tikki™. Do with content what McDonald's does with burgers: keep your core message consistent, but find new twists and angles that will appeal to locals, and show that you understand their culture. Chop it up, spread it around You can and should re-use good stories in new, interesting ways to increase their spread and your return on investment. Making similar content available on multiple channels helps you tap new markets. Say you are a global hotel brand and your story is about the architect who designed your new eco-friendly hotel in Mauritius. Have the main story on your website with a photo gallery and video tour. Post those images on a photo-sharing site, and the video on a video-sharing site. Add blog updates to keep it fresh and relevant, and reach out to environmental and design blogs to spread the news and encourage inbound links. Rejig the story into a presentation and post it on Slideshare. You can do all this in multiple languages, depending on your budget, and on the most effective channels for each. Just take care not to copy content directly. Search engine algorithms increasingly reward fresh, original copy and penalise duplicate text. 2. Content & Storytelling How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • Time it right Timing is everything. Adapt your stories to current events, so that you can blog, tweet and talk about events that users are thinking about and searching for. Remember that search engines, as well as people, privilege content that is recent and topical. For instance, a hotel that blogs or tweets about an upcoming event in the area will pop up on searches by people planning to attend the event. Good timing means consistency, too. A realistic publishing calendar will help you stay on track – whether you're updating once a week, once a day or once an hour. There's nothing more off-putting than a stale website, blog or social networking page. Keep standards up Many companies find it a challenge to maintain quality, particularly when content is spread over several languages and geographical areas, and handled by several different people or agencies. First, maintain a comprehensive editorial style guide in your target languages, preferably kept in the Cloud so that all writers and editors have access to the latest versions. Second, dismiss any thoughts of auto-translation. Not only do automatic translation tools produce inaccurate, often amusingly incorrect translations, they mean you miss the benefits of accurate keyword translation. To take a mundane example, Google Translate may render the English term 'fridge' as 'réfrigérateur' in French, whereas users looking to purchase a fridge would use 'frigidaire' or 'frigo'. Third, start slow and build up a small but high-quality body of stories that users will appreciate and share. In this way, you can be quick to adapt where necessary, and to nip quality issues in the bud. How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • A successful international content marketing strategy has a plan for tracking the effectiveness of specific campaigns and areas. Iterate and be prepared to amend your strategy as you discover what works and what doesn't. First, set and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your stated aims: • Organic traffic • Conversions • Download counts • Click-throughs to specific pages • Followers and fans on social media accounts, and their activity • Mentions in blogs • Inbound links from reputable, relevant sites • Search rankings for relevant keywords Second, take into account internal costs (resources, technology, person-hours) and cost savings (for instance, if digital content takes the place of flyers and brochures). KPI data from website and social media analytics programs, along with a raw cost-benefit analysis, can give you an idea of how your campaigns are performing. But since content marketing is more about raising your profile and enhancing the experience of users, you need to supplement number-crunching with qualitative surveys, advice from locals and partners, and feedback from social media platforms. At the end of the day, your boss will be looking at the bottom line. Be prepared to explain that an initial investment in digital marketing may pay off over a longer period, as your content spreads and helps to establish your company's reputation. 3. Measuring success How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • Top tips for online marketers reaching out to other cultures, countries and languages: 1  Content marketing and mobile devices should be two of the main pillars of a digital communications strategy. 2 Target languages and cultures with the most potential for your company. 3 Create stories and symbols that engage readers. Don’t simply translate these: adapt them for each target culture. 4 Set in place a proper publishing schedule and brand guidelines for each target language or area. 5 Rally the entire company behind your content strategy. Engagement is the key to gathering and spreading positive stories. 6 Set clear, easy-to-measure Key Performance Indicators. 7 Iterate. Be quick to react to feedback from users and KPI data, and learn from your competitors’ mistakes. 8 Maintain a strong relationship with your core market while reaching out to new areas. Content marketing is about engaging existing customers as well as new ones. 9 Put quality before quantity. You need a small amount of engaging, unique material that can be adapted for different platforms. 10 Invest in a user-friendly, integrated CMS that can handle multiple languages and channels. How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.
    • EnVeritas Group (EVG) is a global content marketing firm dedicated to helping companies empower customers and grow their business by developing engaging, relevant and original content and communications. With over a decade of experience and a growing client list, EVG is now a world-leading brand publisher and content marketing specialist. Today, we have over 70 full-time employees based in the United States, offices in England and France, and a network of over 1,000 writers and editors worldwide. Over 1m distinct URLs publish content created or managed by EVG. Eric Ingrand VP Content Marketing EMEA Phone: +33 683 8599 87 Email: eric@enveritasgroup.com Twitter: @ericEVGeurope EVG blog: http://www.enveritasgroup.com/blog/ About us About the Author Eric Ingrand is a natural-born traveller and an early adopter of global ecommerce technologies and digital marketing best practices. For the past three years Eric has been helping EnVeritas Group become a powerful multicultural content marketing agency. In Europe this translates into helping large hospitality groups like Accor, Rezidor, leading online travel agencies, mainstream brands, publishers and agencies to resonate in the highly multicultural and multilingual environment that defines the European marketplace. Over the past 12 years EVG has built a unique and powerful network of multilingual digital content professionals, assembling journalists, bloggers, translators, editors and developers to create a very unique machine, enabling large global businesses to tell well-targeted local stories. We believe that quality multilingual storytelling and content marketing best practices create the most valuable long-term assets for global brands online. Here Eric shares some of the methodology that creates success with global customers, growing organic traffic, conversion, brand loyalty and credibility in very competitive commerce sectors such as travel, banking, mainstream media and the food industry. How to tell your story to the world: the power of multicultural content.