But content marketing can be hard to get right, even in one language. Not just any content will do. You need content that attracts attention, provides useful information, builds relationships, and helps potential customers learn to trust you.
How do you do that in multiple languages? Here are 4 multilingual content marketing strategies worth stealing from brands that have been successful:
Unbounce’s Winning Multilingual Content Marketing Strategy: Hire a Local Marketing Ambassador
Unbounce is a landing page and conversion marketing platform that helps marketers build, test and optimize landing pages. The company relies heavily on content marketing to grow their English-language business. They have a popular blog, a robust social media presence and a treasure trove of resources for marketers.
In 2015, they began expanding into the German market. Naturally, there’s an excellent post on the Unbounce blog about the process they used. One key recommendation: Hire a local marketing ambassador.
Unbounce’s Ben Harmanus uses his knowledge of the local area to select content to translate from English, position it appropriately, and build Unbounce’s German language community on social media.
As Unbounce’s Stefanie Grieser put it, “The day a brand gets a local ambassador is the day they truly become a local player.”
McDonald’s Multilingual Content Marketing Strategy: Give Them What They Want
In the US, part of the appeal of the Golden Arches has always been a consistent experience. You can walk into any McDonald’s and order the same menu items prepared the same way each time.
Outside of the US, it’s a bit different. McDonald’s succeeds overseas by giving international customers what they want. For example, in India, there’s no beef or pork on the menu. Instead, local patrons can order a McAloo Tikki or a Maharaja Mac (vegetarian or chicken).
For McDonald’s, similarly customized digital and content marketing is the name of the game.
The information the company chooses to highlight for its Indian audience differs quite a bit from what it presents to its French audience. For example, the Indian version of the homepage emphasizes vegetarian options. It also highlights promotional meals meant for sharing between two or more people. Social media posts are humorous, fitting with McDonald’s India’s motto of “Simple Easy Enjoyment.”
For the French market, the homepage focuses more on “healthy” options, like salads and “premium” chicken. McDonald’s builds trust (or tries to) with its French audience by emphasizing their environmental commitments and sustainable seafood. There’s also a magazine aimed directly at French children, Air Le Mag. Different markets, completely different content marketing strategies.
Even the background color for the Golden Arches is different!
How Coca-Cola Wins at Multilingual Content Marketing: Global Themes, Local Content
Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has a “One Brand” strategy that extends to its global marketing. The ‘One Brand’ strategy involves “universal moments and storytelling . . . created to resonate with our consumers globally.” Does that mean Coca-Cola doesn’t localize? No way! Here are some examples of how Coca-Cola ties together global themes with local content.
First, let’s take a look at Coca-Cola’s FIFA campaign from 2013-14. According to Global Marketing Culture, “each country’s webpage was localized with popular, local celebrities and culture, though every page still conveyed the same Coca-Cola brand message and image.” The company also had the same song recorded 32+ times, by local artists from different countries working in their local languages.
Then, there’s Coca-Cola’s website/digital magazine, Journey. It’s available in 30 countries and 14 languages. Coca-Cola’s English-language website notes, ” These country and regional sites share a similar look-and-feel with our flagship site, but are published in the local language and produced by local Coca-Cola communications teams for local readers.”
According to content marketing platform Contently, “Coca-Cola doesn’t just translate popular American articles and hope for retweets from France. Publications in every country highlight topics, events, and news important to that region. When American content is incorporated into international blogs, it is carefully translated to fit within the context of local interest.”
Global themes and local interests . . . the best of both worlds!
How F.C. Barcelona Expanded Into China By Starting Small
Finally, businesses don’t always have to jump into a new market with both feet. According to the Content Marketing Institute, when F.C. Barcelona decided to expand into China, they used Chinese social media sites to “dip their toes in” first:
[The club] initially tested the water by launching Chinese social media accounts. When this was a big success, it branched out with a dedicated website. With the club’s approval, Tencent is creating branded applications and games for the site that are specifically aimed at the local market.
So consider starting small with your multilingual content marketing strategy, and expanding as you go.
Translation for Content Marketing
Effective content marketing creates an emotional connection between companies and potential customers. That connection is what separates effective content marketing from useless word vomit.
So, do you want your multilingual content marketing efforts to be successful, or not? If you do, choose a language services provider with the skills and local area expertise to translate your brand voice into your audience’s language. (We hate to toot our own horn, but we think our talented staff of marketers and copywriters from around the world might be just the thing!)
Most of all, don’t rely on Google Translate to connect with your international audience. You don’t want your brand to sound like a robot, and neither do we!