Is it Possible to Create Content that Spans the Globe?

Dechay Watts

Written by Dechay Watts on Wed, Mar 26, 2014

content marketingWe help a variety of companies outside of the US with their content marketing strategy and development.  From the UK to India and Saudi Arabia, clients turn to us to create personas, keyword strategy, SEO content, lead nurturing campaigns and more. This week, we’re talking with a company out of Singapore looking for content marketing help.  

Our team enjoys working with people all over the world and learning about different cultures, pastimes, business and lives. But, we haven’t positioned ourselves as a global content marketing agency - because we don’t create content outside of American English. The key to our global client relationships is that they are looking for content created in American English, which is our first, and really only language.  

Don’t get me wrong, I could find a baño for you in Spain and order a nice French vin rouge.  I could probably ask for a stroller in Germany too. But those skills certainly won’t drive traffic to a company website or engage an online audience.  

The American English Web  

Sarah Mitchell recently wrote a great article for the Content Marketing Institute about preparing your content marketing for a global audience in which she included this quote from Scott Abel:  

“Many of us treat the worldwide web like the Ohio web or the American English web. Marketers are overwhelmed and unprepared to produce content for a global audience.”  

I have to agree. Even global clients we’ve worked with like Avon and Oral-B found translation a challenge. As we move toward transparent communication, an English-only web presence will likely become passé. Even if your core message stays the same, people will expect that your brand cares enough to speak to them authentically in their own language.  Quick translations that miss important cultural ties or overlook important calendar dates will seem rushed and fake.  

The clients mentioned above actually sought out a U.S. based content marketing agency because they wanted authentic American English speakers to create their content. Why? They are targeting the US market. In fact, our UK client works with us for their US website content and hired a UK based content marketing agency for their UK website. They are smart that way. 

So the question becomes, is it even possible to create content that spans cultures? 

Well, if you are a company like Coca-Cola or Apple anything is possible, but what if you don’t have a global team to create content? Here are a few options to consider:  

  • Before creating content, interview local subject matter experts to get their perspective. This should be part of any content marketing plan, but it’s especially important when learning nuances of different cultures.

  • Hire local editors to review everything before publishing. Local editors will have a better grasp on cultural sensitivities, tones and emotions that are essential to connect with a local target market.

  • Consider how global audiences consume information. For example, Singaporeans spend more time on Facebook per session than any other country.  

The content you deliver has no purpose if it doesn’t connect with your audience, which means it has to connect with their language requirements, emotions and culture. 

What do you think?  Do you have a global content marketing story you can share with us?

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