A valuable, engaging and multichannel online presence is vital to scale a company internationally. It even makes it possible to grow without having a physical location in other nations, which helps reduce the costs of expanding.
According to a 2017 study from the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates 3 times more leads than search engine marketing. Through content marketing, (that is, by offering valuable content through branded channels), we can become a relevant resource and a household name to broad new audiences. One of the main content marketing tools you’ll need to rely on is a company blog. But, how can you reap the benefits of great blogging across locales?
A Multilingual Blog is NOT Translating Articles
It can seem tempting to take your existing content and translate it at the lowest cost available. But, when it comes to websites and blogs, you need more than a translation — even if it’s a flawless one.
As with the rest of your website, you’ll need to conduct specific keyword research to make your new content easy to find through search engines. Consider that you might also be competing within a very different ecosystem. What can be an extraordinary pilar article made to be referenced in a certain market can be redundant and poor by comparison within another locale.
Successful content strategies rely on a deep understanding of your audience and your context. So, should you have a different content strategy for each locale? Not necessarily. Most publishers and companies do in fact reutilize content by translating and republishing it through their different websites. But make sure you have enough insider knowledge of your target culture to know which of your existing posts can be a hit and to more specifically target and fine-tune your strategy when necessary. Localization is key.
Some content marketers say that promotion is the step at which most content marketing strategies fail. There’s no use in producing great content if it can’t be found. And you can’t just rely on search engines to do all the work.
Email and social media are great channels to make sure your audience doesn’t miss on your latest material. But you can’t just post your multilingual content on the same channels you’re already using. It’s wise to have a different set of social media profiles and a different email marketing strategy for each different local. Take a look at our Global Marketing guide to learn more. Likewise, you can get your content in front of new, wider audiences through link building, which will require partnerships with authoritative, influential websites in your target locale.
The SEO Challenges of a Multilingual Blog
Aside from the challenge of redoing your keyword research, replacing keywords and localizing URLs, there’s another detail we must worry about. One of the main potential downsides of having a multilingual website is having Google believe that you’re duplicating content. Content duplication can seriously damage your search engine rankings.
This can be prevented by having dedicated URLs for each different version of your website, that include a very clear language/locale marker. For instance, you can have a top-level domain (yourcompany.es), a subdomain (es.yourwebsite.com) or a subdirectory (yourwebsite.com/es).
Each of these options has its pros and cons. And dedicated URLs might sometimes be insufficient to differentiate your website’s different language versions. But they’re better than no differentiation. Make sure your blog is within its corresponding linguistic subdomain or domain. For instance, yourcompany.com/es/blog.
How Will Your Website Handle Different Languages?
When you’re working to translate your website and/or blog, you’ll face the question of how to handle it within your content management system. This will depend upon how you organized the different language versions of your website. If each version of your site will be a subdirectory within a WordPress website, plugins like WeGlot, TranslatePress or Polylang will do the trick.
If your company website runs on the JAMStack, the best way to hand i18n will depend on the possibilities of your specific stack, and internationalization will be a far more developer-dependent process than in the case of WordPress sites.
Where to Start
If your goal is not the multilingual blog itself, but to have the blog as a step a prospect will take towards making a purchase, it’s vital for your whole website to be in their language. So, first and foremost, make sure you have a properly localized website.
You might be able to localize your website and run your foreign language blog in-house. But consider reaching out to a professional. Especially, if your team is small. Make sure your language services provider not only has an impeccable record but also the necessary team to design and implement a localized content marketing strategy that makes sense across channels.