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global marketing and customer engagement road signIn marketing, finding the right messaging to compel and educate target audiences is key to getting results. A core part of that concept is being familiar with these audiences and understanding the type of information they find valuable. It sounds simple, but it’s not easy.

This challenge only escalates in global marketing and creating content for global customers. It may not be enough to translate your source content word for word, hoping that it will ignite the same excitement as it did in your home country. In fact, it’s highly unlikely to be effective.

Your message meaning can be lost altogether or, even worse, paint a negative image of your brand. Neither is exactly worthy of doing a happy dance.

Here are four easy tips to get around this so you can elicit positive responses from customers in each of your target markets.

1. Play on local happenings, celebrities, entertainment and more

You’re probably tired of hearing “go global, act local.” In fact, it’s become so much of a buzz phrase in global marketing that it tends to lose impact. But the core of it is true—and so important.

You can easily apply this concept to your writing. Incorporate homegrown touches by mentioning things like local news topics, celebrities, songs, hit TV shows and more in your content. Keep your primary brand attributes in place, but alter your content in a way that strikes a chord with locals.

Nike does a fantastic job of this. Different markets favor different athletes. In China, they’re all about Kobe Bryant—who is bigger there than he is in the U.S—so the brand plays on this in its marketing messaging. They’re also known for featuring athletes from the target market in their local campaigns.

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This helps build rapport with your audience—and makes your messages more likely to stick with them and be shared.

2. Speak their language—both literally and figuratively

translation management system tipsWe’re not just referencing translation here (although, it isn’t something to be downplayed).Your global marketing content should sound like it was created in the market it was intended for. That means that it needs to be relevant. Customers in different locales may not care about the same aspects your home audiences do regarding your product or service and brand.

Conduct some market research to see how prospective and current clients in your target locale may react to your product. Discover what features, whether it is price, quality, etc., matter the most. Then create your content around these ideas.

Pursuing professional translation is also important to help you achieve a local feel in your writing. Tapping a multilingual employee or, worse, using free translation tools available on the Internet, will not suffice. You want highly qualified, in-country linguists to do the translation work.

3. Add user-generated content to your content marketing efforts

It’s hard to deny user-generated content’s ability to build trust with your target audiences. When creating content for global audiences, user-generated content also has another perk: giving your global marketing content a local presence.

From social media updates to customer reviews to submitted photos and videos—adding some form of user-generated content to your existing content base makes it all the more engaging, authentic and interesting.

Tourism Queensland used user-generated content to increase awareness of the island and promote tourism all over the globe. They highlighted a job application for “The best job in the world” and took applicants. They received 35,000 applicants, and the final 16 were flown to Queensland, where one lucky winner received the job. The campaign generated an estimated $368 million in media coverage and reached a global audience of three billion. They now have tons of creative job applications (in many languages) to use in their upcoming marketing efforts. Check out this video on the entire campaign.

4. Write with translation in mind

To help the translation process go smoothly, it’s important that you write with translation in mind. Avoid idioms, metaphors, slang, abbreviations, puns and concepts that may not be understood when translated into another language. Let’s look at an example.

Consider this tagline: “What a difference a stay makes.”

A pun that plays off the well-known saying “What a difference a day makes” works great for a hotel brand in the United States. But use this same slogan in another country where customers aren’t familiar with the saying, and you can almost bet that the literal translation will have them saying, “huh?” or even “I can’t believe they said that!”

Probably not the response you’re looking for. When writing content for global audiences, keep these concepts in mind so you can avoid any translation misfortune.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when creating content for global audiences. Want to learn more global marketing best practices? Check out Global marketing translations: 6 best practices for preserving your brand’s identity.

Do you have any other tips to add? Share them in the comments below!