To be successful internationally, your content must be adapted to the local target group. In this article by Nils Horstmann from eviom, you will learn why content localization is so important and what you need to keep in mind, using the Chinese market as an example.
The focus and goal of content marketing is to address your target group with optimized content and to bind them to you. In order to stand out from the broad competition on the Internet, it is essential to publish content that addresses your target group precisely. Customers want content that provides them with added value and takes their interests into account.
What is “Content Localization”?
But customers’ interests and expectations are very different locally. This is where content localization comes into play. To be successful in multiple countries, your content needs to be adapted to local customer needs so that they can optimally address potential customers in all target markets. “One size fits all” is not suitable in this case, because there is no universal content that you can use uniformly internationally.
Therefore, content localization is about adapting content, as well as its form and design, to the local audience. It takes into account the specific expectations and needs of the local audience to provide content that reads as if it were created directly for them and their specific needs.
The cultural differences of the various target groups not only influence the topics of your content.
User behavior on the platforms is also culturally different, which should be taken into account when creating and distributing content.
In order to make these adaptations successfully, a deep knowledge of the culture and the requirements of the target group is necessary. A comprehensive localization strategy, defining in advance what you want to achieve with localization and what content needs to be adapted and how, is crucial for the success of content localization.
What content should be localized?
In content localization, it is essential to capture all types of content and consider whether and how they need to be adapted.
The following content types should definitely be considered and localized.
- User interface content: The user interface (UI) forms the content for how users perceive your website. Cultural differences also have an impact on user behavior and user interface design requirements, which is why UI content, among other things, should be localized.
- General content: General content is mainly about the textual content you publish on your website and other channels. This could be blog articles, descriptions of your products, or social media posts. For a complete localization, more than just a translation is needed here, but likewise an adaptation to the differences in communication as well as to the expectations and requirements of the local target group.
- Legal content: Different regions have different legal frameworks. While in Germany the imprint on the website has a high legal value, for a website hosted in China the entry of the ICP Filing in the footer is extremely important. So be sure to check what adjustments you need to make to the legal content.
- Technical content: If you offer your customers technical content such as user manuals and product demos, it is essential that these are also localized. They often contain important safety information, so proper translation and localization of this content should be a high priority.
Chinese consumer requirements
The Chinese user attaches particular importance to four criteria when interacting with companies and their products: Visibility, trust, brand awareness and accessibility.
China has the largest online community in the world and the digitalization of everyday life is already much more advanced than in Germany. Accordingly, you will meet the Chinese consumer online first. Visibility and a professional presence on the most important Chinese platforms is therefore crucial. You have to keep in mind that different platform types have different content requirements. On Weibo, the focus is on brand communication. Therefore, topics such as the historical background (history), values as well as successes of the company are particularly interesting for this platform. On WeChat, neutral information about your products and your industry can be published as well as “social” content. While best practices and whitepapers are aimed at an informative approach and lead generation, you can attract new followers with “trending news” from your industry as well as internal team events or milestones of the company and thus also communicate the values of your company. To be visible on the platforms, your content must fit the platform and take into account the respective ranking factors.
Chinese consumers attach great importance to their personal relationship with the company and make their purchasing decisions based on this. For this purpose, detailed product descriptions and customer reviews as well as recommendations are of very high importance. However, it is also crucial that this content is available in Chinese (Mandarin). The localization of content often includes, among other things, a linguistic translation of the content. This is extremely important in China.
In addition to trust, the credibility and awareness of your brand plays a very important role for Chinese consumers. With the help of videos and blog posts as well as detailed company articles on the most important Chinese platforms and touchpoints, you can create credibility and build your brand. This is where the correct localization of your general content as well as the visibility criterion comes into play to build the necessary brand awareness among your target audience.
Chinese consumers are used to very fast and good service from local providers and therefore have extremely high expectations of service quality. Chinese consumers expect the same level of user-centricity from international companies. This means that many companies will have to do more work in this area in order to meet the service requirements and needs of consumers in China.
Content localization brings a number of benefits. Because content is tailored to users, it speaks directly to them. This direct approach leads to higher engagement on your channels and also strengthens the bond with your follower base. Therefore, in all cases of internationalization, it is recommended that you thoroughly localize your content so that you can reach your full potential in the new market.