A lot of the content marketing resources I read and watch tend to be built around US customers — what they want and how they like to consume content. And many content marketers focus the vast majority of their time and efforts on their home country.
It's great to build a content marketing strategy around the local audience you know best, but if you work at a company that ends up growing and expanding globally, you may need to market outside your comfort zone.
Today we're launching a new episode of the Marketing Cloudcast — the marketing podcast from Salesforce — focusing on smart global content marketing. To get to the bottom of this topic, we interviewed Pam Didner, who's a leading expert and author of the book Global Content Marketing: How to Create Great Content, Reach More Customers, and Build a Worldwide Marketing Strategy that Works.
Pam helps companies with global content marketing goals and tactics, drawing on her more than twenty years of experience in a variety of different roles, from accounting to supply chain management to marketing. And in this podcast episode, she's here to help us.
Take a listen here:
Subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Pam — in the form of 4 ways to start localizing and scaling your content.
When thinking globally about your content execution and promotion, Pam advises marketers to focus on the four P's of content marketing:
These steps are the foundation to any well-planned content marketing program, whether at home or abroad.
Even if you're not a global company, plenty of folks may be interacting with your content who aren't located where you live. So first and foremost, Pam believes, "You need to be cognizant of your potential audiences that might come from outside of the US or your own country.” That's true whether you're currently a multinational corporation or just starting out.
If you're producing educational, valuable content, you can bet that folks from a variety of geographic areas will encounter it. So if you use cultural references or humor, try to provide alternatives that are understandable by everyone.
When scaling content globally, someone needs to take the lead. In most cases, that responsibility falls to corporate headquarters. Pam says it's fine for HQ to be the center of command, since HQ is also typically the area that usually has the budget for marketing activities and content creation.
While it makes sense that corporate teams provide guidance on how budget is spent and how campaigns should be aligned, Pam sees too many corporate teams barreling ahead without consulting local groups. Pam says “getting your feedback in advance" before charging forward is the key to scaled-content success.
Pam advises that gathering feedback doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to incorporate every piece of information from your local team. But you need to keep the lines of communication open, early and often. “Have a chance to talk about it and listen. If nothing else, allow them to speak. Allow them to have a voice.”
Cultural nuances play a huge part in how a consumer experiences digital shopping and information-gathering. When drafting content, most companies focus on their biggest market in terms of revenue, and build plans around that audience. Less revenue-generating audiences receive second- or third-tier experiences. Pam sees this as a pain point where marketers should make some changes. If you can't create quite the A-list experience for global consumers, at least make sure you keep cultural sensitivity at the forefront.
Cultural awareness plays into image selection, the vocabulary you choose, sports you reference, and even colors. Pam advises marketers always to be mindful and respectful of cultural differences, asking local teams for advice. For example, black and red are associated with happiness in Chinese cultures, whereas black is used as a color of mourning in the US.
According to Pam, official job titles in content marketing are fleeting. Roles change quickly as customer needs change. The most important role is the leader who provides guidance and ensures all cultural pieces of the puzzle are tied together — and all voices are heard. You can call this person a content strategist or a senior program manager. It’s not about the title, but rather, the role they play.
“The thing with content marketing today is that there are no official job titles for a lot of people," she says. Plus, it takes people outside of the content team (like analysts, web designers, and more) to make it all happen.
Pam believes that the person in the controller role should also serve as a program manager who can collaborate with internal stakeholders and geo-managers. You need someone who speaks collaboration as their first language. “Creating content is important, but you also need someone who can actually work closely with internal stakeholders and geographies.”
Looking for more global content strategy insights? We covered much more in the full episode with Pam (@PamDidner).
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