International Content Marketing - How Can You Be Internationally Successful With Content Marketing?

Do you want to expand your business into a global market? But you don't know where to start and how to get going internationally with content marketing?

In this article you will learn what you should do to determine the right online marketing strategy for your business. How do you identify your target group and how do you find content gaps to differentiate yourself from your competitors there? Please also find a detailed slide deck at the end of this post.

The long-term benefits after your thorough preparation for your content marketing will be most noticeable if you have implemented localised keywords instead of directly translated keywords for your website content.

According to the Digital 2020 April Global Statshot Report, 4.57 billion people worldwide are currently online. And experts predict that this figure will rise to 6 billion by 2021/22. All this means unlimited opportunities for companies to reach and attract potential customers abroad.

This is exactly the trend of start-ups in Germany, which can be well observed, because according to the German Start-Up Monitor 2019, 62% of all German start-ups are planning an international expansion.

However, 55% of those surveyed see the biggest challenge in finding the right strategy when it comes to customer acquisition.

And why is this the case? Well, it is almost impossible to apply the same content and brand messages worldwide in order to achieve the same response and conversion rates. That is because each country, region and place has its own characteristics in terms of needs, terminology and ways of consuming information.

Here you will find the most significant approaches for a successful international content marketing strategy.

1. Define Target Groups And Develop Appropriate Strategies

As in any marketing strategy, it is vital to identify the target group as accurately as possible. You have to ask yourself: What are the wishes and needs of my potential customers? The more you know about the target group, the higher the chances that you will be successful. Only when you know who you want to reach out to and what makes this group of people tick you will be able to run your business accordingly.

It is very important that you find out about criteria such as income, age, professional group and interests of your customers. If you address your customers incorrectly or not at all because the target group has not been defined precisely enough, your entire international marketing strategy may fail and a lot of time, efforts and money will be lost.

Who do you want to reach? The answer to this question is very important for successful content marketing, because as different as the target groups are, so should the respective approach. Below you will find the central questions which you should answer in advance:

Basically, the more you know about your target group, the better. This is the only way you can tailor your content activities exactly to the relevant target group and this reduces the time and effort involved while increasing your chances for success.

Obviously there are many questions that need to be answered, but thankfully there are good tools and sources you can use for this:

2. International Content Marketing Is More Than Just Simple Translations

According to an analysis by Google, the quality of localization has a direct impact on conversions. 82% of buyers are more likely to choose a product if the ads are written in their language. Therefore, in addition to professional translations, it is also worthwhile to work with local native speakers to ensure high-quality translations and consequently generate higher sales.

Pay particular attention to regional holidays and special occasions, events, as well as political and economic matters. Ideally you should create an annual calendar for these. This will also help you avoid the famous faux pas in your target market.

I would also like to give you a short example here, which illustrates very well how much potential is missed if the content of your website is not perfectly localized, in particular by someone who is not familiar with SEO and keyword analysis and search volumes.

Making content and websites more visible is impossible without a close interaction between SEO and content marketing. For high rankings in the SERPs, a detailed keyword strategy and a proper technical implementation are necessary. After that, the content can be optimized accordingly. Common goals of these two disciplines can result in better rankings on Google, more sales, traffic and increased visibility. While SEO provides us with the necessary preliminary work, content marketing reminds us that we are still producing content for users, not machines.

We were able to illustrate this very well to one of our customers with an example. The wellies below were incorrectly translated as "ladies rubber boots", which actually only has a monthly search volume of 1,600. In contrast, "women's wellies" is searched for 40,500 times per month. That' a missed search potential of 25 times more so to speak.

If you conduct this keyword research now for thousands of products, you can unlock a very large potential. Below I would like to show another example:

So, to sum up: Localization of content pays off in the long run, especially for your search engine optimization on an international level.

3. What You Should Consider For Your Website, When You Expand Internationally

Here are the most important technical tips for your website:

  1. Consider the settings regarding country and language
  2. Decide your URL structure (ccTLD, sub-directory, sub-domain) & your server location
  3. Avoid duplicate content with the use of Hreflang tags
  4. Don't neglect local SEO efforts to strengthen local search

4. Trust Plays a Major Role, In Order To Successfully Launch Internationally

In addition, I would like to point out that above all trust plays a major role in being successful internationally. Therefore I would like to point out these important factors here as well:

  1. Detailed information about your company
  2. Customer testimonials
  3. Invest in building your brand
  4. Certificates are key: Google Trusted Store, Paypal Verified,eKomi, TrustedShops etc.

5. Note: Payment Methods Can Vary From Country To Country

It is often assumed that credit cards are the best and the only option to accept payments for online purchases - but this is only partly true. Although credit cards are the most popular payment method in Europe (72% of Europeans use them), there are other payment methods that are important in some countries.

Online payment methods should therefore be adapted across different channels, devices and countries and should be included in content planning accordingly.

6. Seeding Is Not Equal Seeding - Find the Right Channels For Your International Content Marketing

Just because Facebook, Instagram & Co. are widespread in your country, doesn't mean that the whole world follows suit. Although Twitter, for example, hasn't gotten very far in Germany, it is the most important social media channel in the USA.

Similarly, completely different social media channels are in demand in Asia, such as the rapid growth of TikTok, for example.

As you can see: Seeding is unique for each continent, country and even region, so it is essential that you choose the right channels and platforms for your content marketing.

Another tip: Not all search engines are equally important in your targeted region. Even though Google dominates worldwide and in many countries, there are exceptions, as search engines can be different in each market. Only when you know your target market's primary search engine you can decide what kind of content you want to create for it.

7. How Do I Find Content Gaps?

A simple tip up front: Take a close look at the content on your website and your competitors' websites. Look for content types, where their content is placed, what their content topics are, etc. This gives you a good insight and helps you to generate new ideas.

Furthermore, there are great tools that can help you to identify content gaps in each target country and to create specific content texts and include them in your content marketing plan.

SEMrush and ahrefs are my two favorite tools for this purpose, which I would like to talk about here. If you have done your competitive analysis well in advance, you can for example enter your 3 biggest competitors directly in to ahrefs and you will get an overview of search terms on which one of your competitors ranks on the 1st page of SERPs, but you don't. Let's say, as listed below, you are Nike and one of your competitors has reached a good position for "vintage sneakers" in the USA and you actually have a great collection of vintage sneakers, then this would be a great opportunity to create a vintage sneakers subcategory with content elements. Makes sense, doesn't it?

At SEMrush I think that the content marketing platform can be a big help in planning content internationally. There is a pretty cool feature called Topic Research, which can give you great insights based on keywords, trend topics, similar search queries, current articles and frequently asked questions.

You can quickly identify what your target audience is most interested in. Filter the data per country, region or city and see the most popular topics and current articles for your targeted search term. Especially exciting are the thematically relevant questions that users are seeking and which give you the opportunity to answer exactly these questions in your next piece of content and even get the chance to appear as a featured snippet in the search results. It's worth a try, just check it out.

8. Here Is An Overview Of The Most Important Tips At A Glance:

  1. Identify your target group as precisely as possible
  2. Keep your hands off word-for-word translations
  3. Find native speakers with experience in content marketing for your translations
  4. Pay attention to cultural differences for each target market
  5. Determine the most frequently used and most popular search engines and social media platforms of your target audience.

OK, now you're ready to get started and can successfully launch internationally - good luck!

Please find all the slides to my article here:

International content marketing from Pinar Ünsal

Post date: 01 Dec 2020

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