How to develop a content marketing strategy for expanding globally

If you're looking to expand into the international market it's important to learn how to create unique content suited to those specific regions. It's so much more than just relying on Google Translate to localise your content.

A content marketing strategy is one of the most powerful ways of getting your brand message in front of the right people to grow your online presence.

From blog posts to whitepapers, and video content to gifs, there are many ways to get your message across to your potential audience.

As soon as you start thinking of expanding beyond the UK reach, then your content marketing tactics will need to adapt to suit those international markets.

This guide will tell you how to target the right international audience with your global content strategy.

What is a global content strategy?

In a nutshell, ‘global content marketing’ factors in the entire world through the creation of customised and targeted content on a county or regional basis.

There isn't a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for a global content strategy, especially when you're looking to attract such a diverse audience.

It's simply not feasible to apply the same content strategy and brand messaging across all countries and achieve the same positive engagements and conversions as you would in the UK.

This is because each country, region and locality has its own unique terminology and different ways of consuming information.

I’ve highlighted key things to consider when creating a successful content marketing strategy for expanding globally.

1. Understanding your audience and their locality

It's pretty much impossible to create a successful content strategy without understanding your audience.

It's not effective to blindly place a piece of content online with the chance that someone will click on it, let alone the people who you want to engage with it.

You need to understand what people in different counties want and how you will create this.

This means that you need to understand:

  • Local events and holidays, newsworthy events, local terminology and language used, and even what's happening in the world of politics.

  • How this differentiates from the UK terminology (e.g. "trousers" are "pants" in the US), we even need to factor in spelling (the colour "gray" is more common in the US, "grey" is more commonly used in other English speaking countries).

 

We shouldn't underestimate taking the time and effort to make these small changes, by not doing so, you're likely to damage your credibility of being a reliable source of information.

Think about the times you've been targeted by marketing campaigns with misused language, how did you feel?

  • Did you engage with the content? Probably not...

  • Did it make you want to buy what they were selling? Nope...

  • Was it a little bit spammy? Probably...

  • Did you feel like it was lazy of the company to not take the time to really understand who they were marketing to? Again, probably...

 

It's important to establish a content marketing team that have diverse language translation skills. If your teams know their regions, you'll be in a far better position to learn and attract local audiences.

2. Understanding restrictions and differences

Content marketing is all about resonating with those who have beliefs, cultural values, behaviours, educational backgrounds, and outlooks that are different from what we're accustomed to in the UK.

This is a crucial stage when planning your global strategy. Without knowing this information, you're basing your strategy purely on assumptions, not facts.

There can also be a very fine line between what's considered acceptable and what's simply not okay.

What's "normal" or funny in the UK might be very different across another culture.

Cultural sensitivity is crucial!

3. International keyword research

We can't just rely on Google Translate to make literal translations. What Google will present back isn’t always going to be grammatically correct. Therefore, it is not an accurate or reliable data source to find terms that consumers are searching for in your target areas.

Take the time to properly translate and localise your keywords. Carry out a competitor analysis to find out what keywords they are using on their sites. Tools such as SEMRush allow you to see which keywords your competition is organically ranking for and what they are targeting in their paid advertising campaigns.

This will be a good a starting list. You can then head over to the preferred keyword planner tool for that region, and you can start to bulk out your keyword list to see what other keywords are being searched for (remember to adjust the location settings before searching).

 

4. Paid and social activity

Don't forget that the standard paid advertising rules apply to foreign markets too. You'll need to think about changing quality scores, CPCs, average ad positions, and sending your visitors to the relevant landing page.

Think about the different search engines that are used across the world. In China, Baidu is more commonly used in the market in comparison to Google. In Russia, the most commonly used search engine is Yandex. Take the time to understand that you'll need to send specific signals to search engines (and potentially the ones you weren't expecting).

Having an idea of the amount of traffic coming to your site is important, but you also need to understand where it's coming from. This will help you to start planning for the time, money, and effort that needs to be spent on your website(s).

5. Technical signals

The right technical signals need to be implemented on your international site(s) so that search engines understand the specific language and location that your site(s) are trying to target. The more context we can give for search engines to understand this, the better the chance they will serve your site to the relevant people.

Make sure you have hreflang tags, meta content language tags, x-default tags, Schema markup, and geo-targeting (local PPC) set up at the very least.

6. International link building

International link building will help advertise your international site(s). It will drive relevant referral traffic and build your domain authority. This will then help to improve the overall search visibility of your site(s) in the relevant search engines. Some tactics you should consider:

  • Build local citations

  • Competitor research will help you find sites that are popular with your target market. Look at the content they’re producing, this can help spark inspiration around what content to create.

  • Influencer marketing

 

Influencer marketing can play a big part in some global strategies. After all, if you see a recognisable person trusting and loving a brand, it makes the product or service far more appealing.

However, it's unlikely that your strategy will make any sort of positive impact if the individuals that you feature aren't recognisable or relatable to the local market you're targeting.

To summarise

 

Targeting your audience on a global scale requires a completely customised approach. What may work in your small town may not work for people living in a big city on a different continent.

You need to take the time to understand your diverse market, and what they want to see from your brand in order to win the trust and support of your international customers.

About the author

Stephanie is the senior content strategist and copywriter at Edit. she leads, develops, and delivers industry-leading content marketing strategies for clients within the agency.

Stephanie Naylor

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