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A guide to content localisation

January 13, 2021

When it comes to content marketing, there’s no “one size fits all”. Extend your reach across countries and cultures with content marketing localisation.

The internet has made it a lot easier for content marketing to reach people all over the world. While this means that you can attract more people, it also means that you need to appeal to different audiences.

Why localise your content marketing?

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Localising your content marketing goes beyond just translating it into local languages. It also involves researching the trends, preferences and cultural sensitivities of a locale and adapting your content marketing strategy accordingly.

Why is this important?

Firstly, it will help you overcome cultural barriers and market to a larger global audience more effectively.

Aside from that, you’ll be better able to retain your brand integrity. By learning more about each country and its culture, you can avoid inadvertently offending your target audience or making insensitive content.

Finally, good localised content marketing can generate brand loyalty. When it’s clear to your new audience that you’re not a clueless outsider, people will be more likely to trust your brand.

How to localise your content marketing

Translate — but be smart about it

Yes, content marketing localisation should go beyond just translation, but it’s still important to make sure that everything is translated into the local language correctly. After all, 72% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.

It’s not uncommon to see brands launch different websites for different countries.

That being said, you need to avoid any mistakes in translation. Meaning can get lost or skewed in translation, and the last thing you’d want is for a perfectly innocent phrase or slogan to become offensive.

On the other hand, you can use the power of translation or transliteration to make a new brand identity. In Japan, Kit Kat, pronounced ‘kitto katto’, is phonetically similar to ‘surely win’ in Japanese. They have since used this to their advantage by marketing themselves as a lucky charm in the Japanese market.

Keep cultural differences in mind

To properly localise your content marketing, research on various aspects of the local culture — such as important holidays or events or unique cultural practices — ought to be done.

Not only will proper research help your brand avoid offending locals by being insensitive, it will also give you some unique ideas on how to make your content marketing strategies more effective.

Take, for example, this Nike advertisement that was launched for Chinese New Year last year. This advertisement has been lauded for accurately capturing what celebrating the Chinese New Year feels like. More importantly, it captured the back-and-forth interactions of an aunt and her niece that many Chinese can relate to, with a humorous twist.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dolce and Gabbana’s attempt at content marketing in China was met with outrage. Their advertisement, while intended to depict how Italian and Chinese cultures can come together, ended up offending their Chinese audience.

Work with local norms, behaviours and preferences

Consumers from different cultures also have different norms, behaviours and preferences.

It can be something as simple as changing your social media page. Laneige, a beauty brand, has different Instagram pages for different countries. Their pages for Laniege US and Laniege Indonesia not only have different colour schemes, but are also adjusted to fit local preferences and trends.

Take a look at the latest content marketing trends and find out what strategies have seen success in your target countries.

For example, Japanese consumers seem to be attracted to pop-culture references in content marketing. In fact, using manga (Japanese comics) story-telling in marketing strategies increases average visit duration by more than 1 minute. Plus, bright and busy designs seem to appeal to Japanese audiences more than clean and minimalistic ones.

In South Korea, social media is the key to your content marketing strategies. as it ranks third in the largest social media penetration rate at 87%. Influencer marketing — involving both popular celebrities as well as social media influencers — is also on the rise in South Korea. Take a look at our blog on influencer marketing to learn about how you can get started.

Find out what platforms are popular in your target country

If you are looking to expand into a particular market, it might help to figure out what media platforms are most popular in that region just so you know where to publish your content.

While there are universally popular social media platforms across the world, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, certain countries do have their own preferred channels that a large segment of their population uses.

While Google has a strong presence in most places, advertising on Google search might not be as effective if you are trying to reach Korean consumers. In Korea, the most popular search engine is Naver — it handles nearly 75% of all web searches in the country, with 42 million enrolled users.

Digital content marketing in many other Asian nations is also a whole different ball game.

Forget the usual players; with its strong censorship laws, China has its own set of social media platforms. WeChat, Sina Weibo, Douyin… The list goes on. You can check out this article we put together about how you can best market on Chinese social media.

Messaging-apps-turned-social-media-hubs such as LINE enjoy immense popularity outside of their country of origin as well. While produced by the Japanese subsidiary of Korea’s Naver Corporation, LINE is also the most popular messaging app in Thailand and Taiwan.

If you want to expand into these markets, you might want to consider signing up for a LINE for Business account that helps brands connect with their consumer base in much more personalised ways.

Understanding differences

Communication varies wildly across cultures, and it’s vital that you understand these nuances if you want to speak effectively to each unique audience in a way that they’ll understand.

Looking to tailor your content to appeal to local audiences? Let us help. Reach out to our CEO Simon Kearney at [email protected].

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.