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3 Tips for Content Marketing in Foreign Languages

Every year, the web becomes more multilingual.

From 2000 to 2008, Web use among the Chinese grew by a whopping 755 percent, while Web use skyrocketed by 2,064 percent by Arabic-speaking individuals. As a comparison, web use increased by 204 percent among English-speaking people.

In the near future, Chinese will supplant English as the top language of the Web.  As a result of this trend, businesses realize their success on the Web will depend on creating foreign-language Internet marketing strategies.

However, localizing your web presence for foreign markets and optimizing them with your ideal keywords is only half the battle. Your next challenge is to build your brand buzz and back-links through your content marketing strategy. Here are three easy-to-implement tips that will help you use content marketing across a range of foreign languages.

Keep it simple

A main advantage of using content across different languages is that Google doesn’t pick up on duplicate content in different languages. This means you can write one piece of excellent content in English, and then translate it into Chinese, German, French, Russian, etc.

The trick is to write ‘source content’ that does not require too much localization. Obviously, if you communicate to readers in their own languages and use local references, your content will be more relevant to them.

However, writing 15 different articles for 15 different websites is not always practical or affordable. So the trick to writing easily localized and translated content is to keep it simple and general by avoiding  specific local references (such as local news events or television personalities) or turns of phrase that may not translate.

Here are two examples of content describing my translation company Lingo24.  This one is general and can be easily translated and used for marketing purposes in any language.

“Managing translation can be complex.  At Lingo24 we make it simple, fun and inexpensive.

We work 24 hours a day, so there’s always a friendly Lingo-ist on hand to answer your questions and keep your project on track.”

The second is more specific but requires further localization before it is appropriate for use in different language markets.

“Managing translation can be complex. At Lingo24 we make it simple, fun and inexpensive for American companies to do business in foreign languages.

We work 24/7 so there’s always a friendly Lingo-ist on hand to answer your questions and keep a steady guiding hand on your project.”

Identify target sites

Your first priority when creating marketing content for a range of languages is to generate content for your own site and ensure your various localized sites are kept fresh with a regular stream of new content.

Your second priority will be to build back-links and buzz by publishing content in article directories and pitching it to relevant industry websites in the local Internet. The trick here is to identify the best foreign language directories and websites to post your quality content.

This is where Alexa or the Google Toolbar’s PageRank will come in handy. Alexa and PageRank rank websites based on variables such as the site’s age, the number of in-bound links, and the site’s traffic. Alexa offers a useful tool for evaluating websites and directories by ranking each site overall on the Web, and ranking each site within its local Web market.

Pitch in multiple languages

Placing your site’s contact details and links in online directories and uploading multilingual content to article directories such as is the simple first step. To get higher quality links, you’ll have to contact editors and content managers of  foreign language sites. This is where language-gap difficulties can come into play.

You have two options for multilingual pitching. You can either do it yourself or hire in a professional.

If you decide to do it yourself, write your pitches in English and then use a translation program such as Google Translate.  You can also use Google Translate for replies that you may receive.

The problem with using a translation program is that it doesn’t address cultural differences in pitching etiquette. For instance, when pitching to UK editors, an informal style may help you connect more easily. For German editors, nothing less than absolute formality is appropriate.

Naturally, using professionals will improve your success rate in connecting with editors in other nations. Moreover, multilingual PR and Internet marketing professionals can assist you with identifying target sites, pitching content, securing publication of articles and writing or translating the content.

Either way, content marketing in foreign languages is far less complex than you may have imagined. With forethought and effort, you can connect  to foreign language markets and increase your online audience.