Content marketing and localization: how to do it the right way, at the right time

content marketing localization right way

Content marketing and localization: how to do it the right way, at the right time



In the past, the communication of large international companies tended to be much more uniform and globalized, with the risk of being impersonal. A practice that is impossible to implement today: users expect much more direct communication that goes through the choice of products, images and messages closer to their culture. Content marketing and localization represent a winning (and inseparable) combo for selling in a highly globalized world, where each market preserves its own peculiarities. If you want your products and services to be truly successful abroad, be aware that you cannot do so without translated content. But remember: you must integrate such process into a well-defined marketing strategy created specifically for the target country market.

And how does content marketing and localization work? To find out, keep on reading the article.


The intersection of content marketing and localization

Content marketing is all about creating valuable textual and visual content to inspire consumer trust and sell a product or service. Only by tailoring your content to the specific target audience do you increase your brand awareness and reputation, get more qualified traffic, and ultimately guide your customers’ buying process. If you decide to sell abroad, a correct communication methods that work for your chosen target audience are to be put in place, presenting the product as if it were created just for that target audience.

content marketing localization intersection

And that’s where localization comes in. In this context, it is not just a matter of transferring the superficial meaning of words from one language to another; the message must be in line with the expectations of the new audience, be appealing and understandable. When you localize content, you re-contextualize it according to the markets it is launched in, making it culturally appropriate as well. Let’s look at some examples right away.


Basic localization: textual and visual content

First and foremost, the correct language variety to use must be identified. You do not simply decide to translate, for example, “into German,” because there are big differences between the variants of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The same principles apply to Spanish, as Castilian is very different from the variants spoken in Hispano-American countries, and French also differs between France and Canada. Second, all formats must be adjusted: dates and address entry fields, units of measure and currencies, not to mention the size system for clothing. Voice and tone should also be chosen carefully: some people prefer a more formal register and others appreciate a bit of humor. Finally, compliance with any legal requirements regarding privacy, age, use of certain products, etc. has to be ensured.

However, to meet the tastes and habits of the target audience, this procedure is not limited to the textual bit only. Visual content holds the same importance, and it may be necessary to change images and creative prints, colors, text layout, and even the entire website layout.


The importance of the context

Context is increasingly important, and with modern technology you can succeed in making the right offer at the right time. Take, for instance, newsletters, one of the main communication techniques exploited by content marketing. You can resort to localization in this area as well through the use of geolocated e-mail. A simple translation of text designed for the original audience will do you little good, while you will gain great benefits by sending suggestions and selected content based on subscriber data. For example, a person living in Morocco will be able to receive information about specific events in their vicinity which are different from those reported to another client who lives in Japan.

But there is no limit to imagination, and in our case no limit to reality either, if we think about the results that content marketing and localization can achieve together. While newsletters remain an all-too-static type of communication, if users have geolocation enabled on their smartphones and it is possible to pin down their location, you can also send ultra-personalized messages, such as a special offer for an item they have browsed online and available in the physical store next door to which they are passing at that very moment.


Content tags and multilingual SEO

Tagging is essential for proper indexing of content, facilitating user search and collecting data on user preferences. Tags are labels (e.g., vacation, sea, books, cooking, cat) that apply to items such as Web pages or files and identify their content. As simple as it may sound, a literal translation is not advisable here either. For them to be truly effective, they need to be adapted to the target audience.

The same applies to SEO, which takes advantage of tools such as keywords, metadata and descriptions to optimize a Web site, trying to follow what Google’s algorithm likes so that the site ranks among the top search results. If your content is international, it means that the target audience changes: you can’t just think about translating web page contents; you have to adapt all the tools listed above as well. Users in Italy may not necessarily search for products using the same keywords as American customers, so appropriate research must be done to understand how to best localize them.

To learn more about how to improve your content marketing and localization efforts in this regard, read our article on the Multilingual SEO.


Slogans that leave their mark

The alliance between content marketing and localization is also key in the choice of slogans. As evidence of how important cultural background is, think for example of the failed slogan from McDonald’s 2019 Portuguese campaign. To celebrate Halloween and advertise a special strawberry-flavored ice cream, the company opted for the tagline “Sundae Bloody Sundae,” a quote from the song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by the Irish group U2. Unfortunately, no one realized that this campaign could be very offensive to the people of Northern Ireland: in fact, Bloody Sunday commemorates the bloody Sunday of January 30, 1972, when the British Army opened fire on people marching for civil rights and killed 13 protesters.

content marketing localization

Examples of winning slogans, on the other hand, include Swiffer. The original tagline was “When Swiffer’s the one, consider it done!” which, thanks to the rhyming couplet, was easy for the English-speaking public to remember. A literal translation obviously would not have had the same effect in Italian, so translator Marco Leali decided to recreate the slogan almost from scratch through a process of transcreation. The result “Dust doesn’t last, because Swiffer catches it!” [literal translation of ‘La polvere non dura, perché Swiffer la cattura’] is very successful (who doesn’t remember that?) and presents how the product works in a nice and quick way.

We hope this article has helped you better understand how to apply the right content marketing and localization strategies. Relying on experts in the field is critical to achieving the desired results.

If you are looking for more information or need help translating your content, please contact us!


foto articolo cristina


Cristina Siragusa

Booklover, travel enthusiast, friend to all animals. She can’t wait for summer to get here but has a weakness for hot chocolate.

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