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
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.