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Multilingual Content Marketing

Adapting a Marketing Strategy for Multilingual Content

Given the worldwide reach of the internet, digital marketing will have to inevitably be adapted for multilingual content. In fact, according to current statistics, 2016 is expected have a global internet penetration of 46%.

Hence, a number of global companies are reaching out to the fastest growing emerging markets through social media, video and other digital mediums. As evidence for this, one only has to look at the number of multinational companies with multilingual websites. For example, according to a study by the Common Sense Advisory, 60% of the top global brands have multilingual content with an average of 6 languages. However, digital marketing with multilingual content involves way more than just translating said content. A brand has to craft an entire campaign by appropriately adapting a message to different locales and cultural preferences.

In order to get the most return from your digital marketing campaign with multilingual content, below are some helpful steps you could follow.

Agree on the image that you want your brand to convey

Your brand should be an extension of your company’s core values and image. This ranges from hip and “new age” or traditional and “timeless”.

For example, Coca Cola is not just in the business of selling a drink. Their brand missions is to “inspire moments of optimism and happiness”. Similarly, Microsoft’s is not just about selling software but to “help people and businesses throughout the world realise their full potential”.

When a brand message can be easily adapted into multilingual content, it is that much more effective. For example, the slogan for McDonald’s is “Im Lovin’ it”. This message remains largely unchanged in all of it’s target countries. The menu, however, is adapted to reflect local preferences such as the Chicken Maharaja Mac instead of the Big Mac.


Localize the message for your target audience

Even though you may have a compelling message in English, this has to be translated and adapted for the market that you are targeting. Moreover, when it comes to multilingual content on the web, there are 560 million English users but 660 million Chinese and Spanish users. These consumers are usually not able to understand your English brand image and even if they can, they would usually only purchase from companies that speak their own language.

However, “localizing” a message is about more than just a translation. There are other things to consider apart from just the word itself. This include things such as tone, cultural references and neologisms. Hence, before considering a brand message you must consider its adaptability to other markets.

Moreover, when done professionally, localized multilingual content will improve your local search engine rankings. Given that the message has been adapted, Google will see it as a completely separate piece of content and hence you won’t run into any “duplicate content issues”. It is important to note, however, that when done automatically with no human intervention Google may penalize you. I covered this in a previous blog on Machine Translation and SEO.

Consider multilingual content management systems

It is one thing to translate and localize your company message. However, when it comes to managing this content, things are a bit more tricky. It becomes considerably more complicated when you consider social media mediums as well.

The manner in which you manage your multilingual content comes down to your brand’s requirements and your company’s resources. For smaller E-commerce brands, the numerous CMSs such as WordPress, Joomla and Magento all have multilingual plugins. These allow you to maintain a multilingual website with your content appropriately partitioned. Scrybs offers a simple and effective Multilingual WordPress plugin for download.

If you have more resources and are running separate social media campaigns in different languages, you may want to consider hiring a marketing manager for that particular language / region. Many of the multinational brands have separate marketing teams in country who handle the entirety of the digital media campaign.

Synergize your various campaigns

Even though your digital marketing effort is adapted for local needs, integration is key to efficiency. This is usually quite easy to achieve as a smaller E-commerce shop. However, when it comes to large multinational organisations, individual country marketing teams may be duplicating efforts. Hence, when structuring your various language specific marketing teams, focus on synergizing efforts. For example, when setting benchmarks, use the same agreed metrics. Conglomerate your technologies and resources such as data and media.

This was demonstrated extremely well when Snickers first launched the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign during the 2010 Superbowl. Not only was it well optimized across various digital media outlets in the English world (twitter, PPC, etc.) but also smoothly implemented into other languages for a global audience. Below is an example of the campaign being presented to the Spanish Market


There are a number of important considerations to take into account when considering digital marketing with multilingual content. At Scrybs, we have translators who are well versed in the “art” of marketing translation. We would be happy to help your brand reach a new global audience.

Pascal Evertz