Creating Digital Content for a Global Audience

Interview with Robbie Reddy, Creative Director at Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Agency

Robbie Reddy is Creative Director at Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Agency. In this blog interview, he talks to Welocalize Global Communications Manager Louise Law about the explosion of digital content and what global marketers must consider when creating digital marketing content destined for a global audience.

Why is digital content ruling today’s global marketing activities?

Digital content is now at the forefront of most conversations about global marketing. Rather than talk about conventional marketing, everyone now talks about digital content. Marketing has been repackaged as content to make it more accessible to consumers. Brands want to interact with consumers and have conversations, presenting them with content that they’re are actually interested in rather than just selling to them.

The reason digital content is exploding is the pace we can create, develop and publish it. Digital content can be quickly made available to a wide audience compared to more traditional offline and print methods. Some of the big global brands have made huge plays into content marketing and the smaller brands are following using blogs and social media channels to push out targeted digital content.

With digital content marketing, many businesses who would not have the budget or resource to take part in marketing activities can now promote themselves using new digital techniques. If you take an example of a small London café, before digital marketing they would maybe produce a menu and a couple of printed flyers. Now, they can publish blogs and establish a community of followers on Twitter and Facebook. Everyone has the ability to be a content producer.

Digital content has also exploded because of mobility of access. Everyone is carrying mobile devices and can be reached anywhere, at all times. Offline marketing can be restrictive. To see a billboard, you have to be there, walking past it. People are now obsessive content consumers, on the train or plane, people are constantly consuming information. Brands are harnessing this change and focusing in on it. There is no rest for consumers now as they have access to content wherever they go. Digital content is everywhere.

What are some of the emerging creative techniques used in today’s digital marketing campaigns?

There are all sorts of techniques being used in global digital marketing. What works well for organizations is to find a niche and tackle it head on. One big growth area has been the popularizing of content. All kinds of organizations have been publishing digital content that is snappy and less dry than more traditional content, even in the more conventional industry sectors. Internet media company, Buzzfeed Inc., news and entertainment publisher is well known for publishing “contagious media” that goes viral on the social media sites brought this type of approach to the forefront and inspired many brands to drive smart, easily digestible pieces of content online. Brand have to remember though that publishing popular content requires high standards of writing and grammar, in all target languages. You have to publish quality content to be taken seriously in all target markets.

Creating content outside of the traditional sales funnel is another technique used in digital media. Companies are investing money in creating entertaining, fun content with no obvious clear role or objective. Those marketers creating and publishing the content know the objectives and overall agenda, but for consumers, the content is simply cool and fun to digest and they engage with the brand in a really positive way.

Another growth area is the development of web based content that it just couldn’t exist in any other format other than digital. Some collaborations between design agencies, artists, illustrators and brand marketers are producing really cutting edge digital content. In both the B2B and B2C sector, there are some fantastic interaction techniques, even for more flat content types, like white papers, that organizations in all sectors can use.

What are some of the key considerations digital marketers need to address when developing global and multilingual digital campaigns?

  • Do the research. Don’t make presumptions that you know what will work in certain local markets. Global digital marketing requires specialist knowledge of each market. Understand all the relevant social platforms, know what levels of technology your target audience has access to. The social media landscape can vary across continents. For example, Twitter is more widely used in the UK than Germany — you have to understand the different nuances of each geography, for your target audience. Don’t invest in a huge Twitter campaign if no-one in your target local market can access Twitter.
  • Be found. Make sure content can be found in each market and will get maximum visibility — SEO optimization for multilingual markets is very important. Which search engines are used in China, USA and Europe? Not only do you need to know the statistics and analytics, but you also need access to technical knowledge of how to optimize content for the different engines.
  • Develop the right content. One piece of content will not fit all. Developing digital content for a global audience doesn’t just involve translating words but also culturally adapting messaging and content. Most digital content involves transcreation which requires a deep cultural understanding of target consumers and adapting content to suit their needs. Working closely with people who are “in situ” ensures the right language and sensibilities for local consumers. For every language and market, Adapt works with talented professionals who are native speakers and based in the target area.

Most marketers understand that content has to be changed to meet different language markets but are less savvy when it comes to the finer details. This is where education and consultation is needed to ensure the right research is conducted and the best digital content is developed.

Are there any examples of how important it is to transcreate and not just translate digital content?

Diamond manufacturers, Vashi, ran a great campaign around Valentine’s Day which demonstrated how some certain words simply cannot be just translated as they carry much greater, complex meaning. They published an infographic, More Than Just a Word — Untranslatable Words of Love from Around the World, which contained illustrations showing words of love and their more in-depth, complex meaning in English. This is a great example, showing how each culture and society has its own words, phrases, idioms and values which will affect how content is viewed and digested.

Everyone understands that you must change marketing content to suit different cultures and target markets — it is the finer details that many global marketers need to get savvy about.