6 Proven Tips for Strengthen your blog presence in China (with translated content)

For a lot of foreign brand who are entering China, translating blog is the low hanging fruit. The content is already there, you just need to send it for translation and then copy and paste.

While having one translated blog and keep it updated indeed hangs pretty low,building a great blog presence with actual readers is not as straightforward.

There are several barriers you have to conquer. Ranging from the easiest to the most difficult are:

1) Channel barriers
A lot of the social network driving traffic to your blog is unaccessible in China, so you will need to place your blog where the audience are.

2) IT barriers 
Your site, wherever the server is, needs to be opened and shared on Chinese mobile phone within seconds.

3) Language barriers
Not just literally, English and Chinese differs in so many ways. Your blog needs to speak to the audience like a friend instead of a Siri.

Two years of trials and errors, I have found six things that are particularly effective in building a blog presence in China, especially at the initial stage, where your main source of content will be translated ones.

1. Time it right with the local context

When it comes to timing of post, there are a lot of researches that gives you a scientific outlook on whats the best time to post an article.

What is more important, when it comes to building a blog presence in China, is to time it into the ongoing discussion among the Chinese audience.

Below you can see a chart of how public holiday can affect the way people are reading and posting on WeChat (one of the primary ways people read in China).

Having a sense of what’s on people’s mind when it comes to the particular times will give you a big advantage in timing your content.

Presentation is from China Channel

I’ll give you an example. When Germany won the World Cup in 2014, we published a blog on why Germany as a country can succeed in the world. It was the best performing blog of that year. It is not surprising considering that German soccer team has the largest fan base in China. Tapping into that fan base gave us a dramatic increase on the number of followers.

Over Chinese New Year time, we did another piece on why name-calling “leftover woman” is a backward step on China’s women’s rights movement. It is because over Chinese New Year, “Why aren’t you married” is THE question hunting, sometimes bothering most of the young women in the country.

2. Make the headline extremely colloquial

There has been a lot of discussion on how to turn a blog headline into a click-bait. The below overall rules applies to Chinese headline as well.

data: Moz Blog

The generic wisdom of headline is very helpful semantically. When it comes to the literal phrases, however, a simple translation of a viral title does not work if simply translating into Chinese.

One trick that I found very effective is to always have 2 or 3 headlines and then test it with your colleagues, asking which one they would click and share. A simple step as that could be the game changer for how many reads the article gets.

3. Localized graph is a quick win

Infographics is powerful. Rather than spending big dime in having graphic designers to design you a perfect localized infographics, you can easily use the below tool to alter the text.

http://xiuxiu.web.meitu.com/ is an online photo editing tool where you can magically make all the text disappear and insert the translated content.

4. Uberize your translation process

Given the rise of the freelancing economy, you have the world’s talent in translating your materials. It requires minimal investment but would generate the most effect.

With so many online collaborative tools available, it is rather simple to manage the process and control the quality if you have the right system in place.

Below is an example of how we manage the system of group translation. Some key things in building such a system are;

a) A close market place with pre-screened freelancers
First you will need to decide the number of people needed based on volume of translation. Then you can use the magic internet to find the candidates you want. Once that’s done, all you need to do is to set up rules and give basic training for the freelancers.

b) A transparent working process
You can see that each article is rated by the estimated time of translation. And just like Uber will increase the rate if demands become too high, the rate for each blog also subjects to change if urgent translation is needed.

c) A quick feedback loop 
Each translator can see how well their translated piece did.

5. Meet your audience halfway.

To conquer the firewall of China’s internet world, you will have to do the dirty work of copying and pasting all the finished blogs and distributed to already established platform and actively seeking exposure.

There are quite a few publishing platforms (both media outlet and aggregator APP) in China where you can easily sign up and start publishing. You would be surprised how effective this is to give your number a quick boost.

6. Building a metrics that works.

Given the spread of your distribution channel, you will have to centralize all the numbers and make sense of it.

Centralizing number is as easy as building an excel sheet and plugging in numbers. This may be manual and tedious, but it will give your team a clear sense of the effect of your article has on the audience. It is also a great feedback to the writers and translators, who will know what type of post can do better.

It also important for you to have a competitor or someone you wish to achieve and then know where do you sit compared to them.

All views are mine.