By Jodi Harris published February 28, 2012

Two Ways to Simplify Your Global Content Efforts

You know your audience and you’ve found the channels to best reach it. You’ve crafted a relevant, engaging message that will get your targets to sit up, take notice, and join your conversation.

But what happens when your business starts to grow beyond the ability to manage your outreach with the same hands-on, one-content-person-wears-all-the-hats approach?

To remain competitive and responsive in our global digital “multiverse,” you need to be ready to scale up your content efforts to reach new markets, in new countries, and to communicate using new levels of sophistication.

Content Marketing Institute’s latest webinar, Content Marketing Two-Step: Scaling Editorial Calendars and Multiple Content Channels, provides marketers with some fantastic tools to address these challenges — with the help of a few seasoned content pros.

Scaling editorial calendars for global use

As Integrated Marketing Manager for Intel, Pam Didner recognizes the importance of content planning that is built to scale as outreach objectives grow. Pam started globalizing her editorial calendars last year, and has shared some insight into how Intel manages the process.

Pam says the secret lies in tight collaboration between the company’s headquarters (HQ) and its regional offices (geos). “Geos are your BFFs,” she says, so in order to manage expectations — and the flow of communication — establish clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each participant from the outset. Once you know who is in charge of each task, the content process boils down to a few manageable steps:

1. Prioritize your geos/countries, and the topics that are most relevant to each one, based on budgets and goals. Here, HQ takes the lead in making the decisions, but geo involvement and feedback is vital. When you are providing content on a global scale, it’s likely that every region will have its own distinct ideas, communication styles, messaging goals, and business objectives. Help each geo understand the focal points that will best speak to your current brand priorities by giving them the reasoning behind each choice. While you can’t always make every region completely happy, open communication will help ease potential conflicts.

2. Finalize the editorial timeline for outreach, based on each geo’s specific business objectives and product launch schedules. HQ should take ownership of this step, which, if Step 1 above is done correctly, shouldn’t take much time.

3. Create geo-specific editorial calendars to set deadlines for content creation and execution. This step requires equal participation from both HQ and geos. HQ makes its recommendations on topics, and each geo will then take its budget and message priorities into account to select the topics it will create content around.

4. Create a topic marketing kit. This HQ-driven task includes:

  • Outlining the key story you want to tell in a given geo
  • Determining your overall brand messaging and positioning
  • Listing the key search terms you’ve identified for that geo
  • Listing the specific content pieces that will work best (e.g., white papers, social media messages, case studies, videos, etc.), and templates the geo can use to customize any materials that HQ has created to share.

5. Craft an engagement plan. Once geos have the topic marketing kit in hand, they can begin developing their own plans to create, launch, and manage their content. Here, individual geos can use their knowledge about the audience to ensure that messages will resonate with their audience, based on its distinct communication style and cultural priorities. A few general tips apply here:

  • Make sure to allow yourself a long enough lead time to produce the kit
  • Use simple, headline-driven creative content that can be easily customized
  • Videos work well when creating content templates that cross cultural and geographic boundaries. But make sure your videos focus less on dialogue and more on images and demos so that key messages don’t get lost in translation.

This step is also where geos will determine the media strategies they will use to distribute their content (e.g., direct marketing, local events, search campaigns, etc.).

6. Share engagement results. After the campaign has been executed, it’s vital that HQ and geos take the time to debrief each other on the program’s performance. Metrics should be discussed and measured against expectations, and any unexpected events should be noted and explained.

7. Refine the editorial plan and marketing kit. Taking into account all results and learning from Step 6, HQ can go back and tweak the process for future use.

Virtual communications: Delivering a global content plan

Once you have designed and developed a scalable content strategy, there’s still the question of how to execute those plans. Scalable distribution of content presents its own challenges, such as how to capture customer attention, how to deliver consistent and personalized messages, and how to make your content accessible anywhere, at any time, on any device. Fortunately, there is a wealth of virtual communication solutions available to help marketers address these issues.

In his part of the webinar presentation, Mark Bornstein, Senior Marketing Content Manager at ON24, urges marketers to expand their perception of content execution and distribution beyond the trusty webinar. As virtual communication evolves, enhanced tools and capabilities are becoming available, such as:

  • Engaging rich-media experiences, including video, demos, Q&A screens, and more
  • Integrated branding opportunities that enhance, rather than interrupt, the audience experience
  • Multimedia content options that add sight, sound, and context to presentations
  • Enhanced interactivity, such as chat functionality, that allows the audience to participate, rather than just view what’s happening on the screen.
  • Social media integration, so participants can share what they’ve learned with their colleagues and the business communities they’ve cultivated online.

Virtual communication vehicles also work well when reaching out to consumers who aren’t able to attend your live events. For example, solutions such as briefing centers or user conferences and trade shows work well for distributing educational and informative content — particularly for busy professionals who don’t have the time or budget to attend many training sessions or press events. Another benefit of virtual communication events is that they can be archived and viewed at the consumer’s convenience. “These are not one-time environments. They live on after the original events,” says Bornstein.

Speaking of archived events, you still have a chance to experience all the fantastic insight shared by Pam Didner and Mark Bornstein in the Content Marketing Two-Step webinar. View the archive version here.

Author: Jodi Harris

Jodi Harris is the Director of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute. As a content strategy consultant, Jodi helps businesses evaluate their content needs and resources; build infrastructure and operations; and create compelling stories to be delivered across multiple media channels and platforms. Follow Jodi on Twitter at @Joderama.

Other posts by Jodi Harris

Join Over 200,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples FREE!