As many of you have seen in the recent B2B Content Marketing: 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, you’re not alone in stressing out about consistently producing fresh, interesting and varied content. Yet, I’d wager there’s something that can get you up and pacing an even deeper hole in the office floor: generating localized content for a foreign market.
Content localization is not about translating what you already have into another language (although there certainly are ways to re-purpose and localize existing content). You need new stuff. Customized, relevant, interesting, accurate, targeted localized content. But if you’re grasping for inspiration in your own region, how can you come up with anything new for a foreign culture?
One way is to draw your inspiration from the locals themselves. Use their command of the language and understanding of local culture, interests and concerns to create engaging, appropriate localized content. Try some of these ideas:
1. Team up with a local expert in a related field
Want to give instant credit to your content? Ask a locally-known expert to produce it. In Australia, Electrolux (a Swedish company) has collaborated with several local experts to provide useful and compelling content. Among other things, Electrolux Australia offers fashion advice from Alex Perry and cooking lessons from Tetsuya. Your expert can write weekly blog posts, create how-to videos or interact directly with local customers through an “Ask the Expert” segment.
2. Feature a local celebrity
The first person to greet you on Electrolux’s US website is Kelly Ripa — a household name for most of their target audience — with interactive content like personalized music playlists and behind-the-scenes clips. Think beyond ads and TV commercials. How about asking the celebrity to share favorite parenting advice or personal photos of local scenery?
3. Use local guest bloggers
Approach respected local bloggers within your industry or a related industry and ask for guest posts or short articles on industry news, trends and standards.
4. Highlight local clients in case studies
If you already have clients in the area, ask them to write down their stories in their own words. Then, frame those stories into compelling case studies.
5. Interview local members of your target audience
Interview both customers and non-customers — and not just about your products and services. If you sell clothing, interview people about local trends. Do you provide computer software training? Interview companies about the challenges of keeping up with global technology. You can even have your expert or celebrity conduct the interviews.
6. Give locally
Beyond the obvious reasons you should give to any local community you serve, it’s also a great way to produce content to help the region, your customers and your company. For example, if you manufacture children’s toys, you may donate to a local school or shelter. Ask members of the organization to write about their work in the community. Interview families who are benefiting from the organization’s work.
7. Create or join a local online community
A discussion forum related to your industry, product or service, where people in your target audience interact with and learn from each other can get people engaged in your online presence and generate new ideas for content. Create one or join an existing forum and monitor the questions, issues, praises and struggles. Create articles, blog posts, letters, videos or other content to respond to and help them.
8. Host a local contest
Ever heard of a little thing called American Idol? Well, Americans certainly have. So in the USA, Electrolux teamed up with the popular show to host a contest to find America’s “Mom Idol.” On the other side of the world, Electrolux France is hosting a contest to win a culinary workshop in Paris. What interests, events, or TV shows in your target region can you use as inspiration for an appealing contest? Invite customers to write their own compelling stories or entry essays and share them online. Interview finalists. Ask the winner to write about his or her experience.
Asking locals to produce content in their own voices, dialects and styles can take tremendous pressure off you to come up with new localized content on your own. Just remember: it’s still your responsibility to control the message. Make sure you have an expert in the language and culture on your team to check everything for content and accuracy.
Where do you get inspiration for content localization?