It’s a Tuesday just like any other; you wake up, grab a cup of coffee and your smartphone, and log on to your Facebook page to see what’s been posted over the last eight hours. You click “share” on one of the articles you found enticing — maybe it’s about your local sports team’s big win or an 8-car pileup just in time for your commute to work. Congratulations. By sharing that post, you’ve successfully become a content curator.
But if global content curation is your goal and multiple languages are involved, just clicking “share” is more likely to get you into a world of trouble than into your target markets. While content curation is basically the process content marketers use to cull information from the internet and turn it into bite-size pieces their targets can digest, global content curation requires more than the standard components.
In the global arena, simply aggregating information isn’t enough. Neither is relying on technology, or on the skill set content marketers typically bring to the table.
Communicating on a global scale means you’ve got to speak the right language and understand the likes and dislikes of local audiences who have their own unique requirements. Failure to localize marketing with country-specific content is like flashing a neon sign that says you’re an outsider. And who wants to listen to an outsider?
So how can you make your message heard — correctly — all over the world? For starters, follow the five steps detailed below. They’re a passport for getting your content to, and understood by, your target audiences, no matter what language they speak.
Step 1: Find the best content to curate
- 72 YouTube videos are uploaded every minute.
- 140 million tweets are written and sent out every day.
- 25 billion pieces of content are produced (text, pictures, links, videos) every 30 days.
- 4.5 thousand English news sources are on Google News.
- 2.3 million new Tumblr posts appear every hour of the day.
- 58 million WordPress sites are now in over 120 languages.
The explosion in online content is daunting enough for marketers to deal with, but when you’re curating information in 50-plus languages, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack while you’re scaling the Tower of Babel.
That’s why when international markets are involved, content marketers need to think beyond their core skill sets. Even the basic rules on where to engage your targets and how to speak your own language can vary across markets. Google or Baidu? Twitter or Weibo? Among or amongst? Each market’s preferences are different.
What you say and how you say it can’t be taken for granted. Global content curation requires market-specific content strategies which, in turn, call for added skills.
Enter the language service provider. A professional language service provider (LSP) isn’t just a translator. An LSP is someone who translates but also knows how to localize content for specific countries, regions, or business segments, along with how to manage the process as an extension of your team.
An LSP can help you decide what kind of content you need for a given region before you start the curation process. The earlier you add localization skills to your team, the more likely you’ll be able to get your content right.
Step 2: Personally curate, don’t automate
Content curation has a plethora of benefits and purposes, but chief among them is the establishment of thought leadership. In fact, a survey conducted by Curata found 85 percent of curators view establishing thought leadership as their main objective.
However, thought leadership won’t be achieved on a global scale if you are just automating your curation process. Effective curation involves dumping the negative, promoting the positive, and plucking out the themes that will provide the most useful information for engaging your audiences. Since very few brands have equal swagger in every foreign market, it’s critical to keep local nuances in mind.
For example, a sports company that posts baseball scores on its U.S. site won’t get much traction in India. Recipes that win contests in one country might tout foods that are taboo in another. Political news from one region rarely carries the same weight in another.
The best way to optimize global content curation is to think — and speak — like a local.
Step 3: Moderate the conversation to uphold your brand values and perspective
Community moderation is the process of supervising and controlling content to ensure your brand makes the impact you want to achieve in a specific community. Every language your communities use should have its own moderator.
A moderator may adapt your content before it goes live to prevent potential damage and to make sure messages come across to the local market in the way you intended. Active moderation also does the cleanup work necessary to control harmful comments and feedback in markets where you’re not fluent in the native tongue.
No matter where you are in the world, people are likely going to say and write inappropriate things on your brand’s communication channels. Sure, negative reviews can lead to improvements, but when they’re too damaging or are conveyed in foul or offensive language, a moderator can help restore the balance.
The moderator’s goal is to get the gist of what you as a content marketer are trying to tell your communities — and to summarize and respond to the messages your communities are sending in return.
Step 4: Translate your message and its context
Not all translations are created equal. The most common mistake content marketers make in foreign markets is to view translation as a commodity. It isn’t.
As far as content curation is concerned, translation means nothing without localization. In the language industry, the term localization typically refers to the process of adapting software to another language. (There’s even an acronym developers use for it: L10N).
But in reality, localization is much more than that. It isn’t too hard to get translations done, but they’ll shout “I’m a foreigner!” if they’re done incorrectly or if they don’t take cultural nuances and tones into consideration.
For example, South Africans are generally laid back and casual, so content translated into Afrikaans should reflect this easy-going style. But the same can’t be said for Germans, who tend to be more responsive to formal and less flippant tones. As you can see, a message that seems just right in one language can come across as impolite, or even offensive in another one.
Another important consideration is the translation of social media content. Though a friendly, conversational tone has become the standard for social media content worldwide, there are absolutely community-specific nuances that need to be observed to make sure your brand’s content stays cordial without getting too intimate or invasive. Not to mention that people outside your primary community might not understand the meaning of certain slang terms like LOL, OMG and BRB — even if they speak your language. So look for a translator who understands your audience and your business if you want to keep the conversations flowing.
Step 5: Share, everywhere!
Curata says 76 percent of marketers share curated content via social media. But getting your message out through Facebook, Twitter, or other popular networks in the U.S. might not cut it when you are trying to engage an audience in other parts of the world.
For example, Chinese microblogging site Weibo’s monthly active users were just under 144 million in March of this year, up from 129 million in December 2013 (according to China Internet Watch). Mixi has around 25 million followers in Japan, where Gree is also huge. You could be missing a massive component of the Asia-Pacific market if you don’t include these sites in your content distribution.
You should never share content in a global environment until you’ve moderated and translated the messages accurately. By just using machine translations or automated software without vetting the language content, you won’t just miss your goals, you might as well give up the game before you even get on the field.