How to Build a Winning Content Localization Strategy

Localization
Adedamola Ojedokun
09 Jan 2024

7 min. read

Contents

A content localization strategy helps you reach audiences you may not reach otherwise.

If you do localization right, not only will your content find untapped audiences, but it will also resonate with them. And why is it important? Simply because it can help you engage, convert, and retain customers.

This guide will teach you how to create a winning content localization strategy.

Pro tip: To streamline content localization, use a localization management platform—Centus. The platform features translation memories, glossaries, cooperation, quality assurance, and other tools enabling faster and higher-quality localization. Learn more.

What is content localization?

Content localization is the alignment of content with the language, needs, and preferences of local target audiences. It goes well beyond translation, including cultural adaptation, visual adaptation, regulatory compliance, and even local SEO optimization. If done right, localized content feels as though it has been written from scratch, with local audiences in mind.

Why is a content localization strategy important?

Having a solid content localization strategy drastically improves your chances of succeeding globally. At least, that’s what a study of consumer preferences suggests.

Other findings of the study are summarized below:

  • 64% of consumers would pay extra to brands speaking their language
  • 68% of consumers would switch to brands speaking their language
  • 44% of consumers relate more to brands speaking their language The data speaks for itself: content localization is paramount. But do you really need a documented strategy to go about it?

Yes. Having a thorough content localization strategy:

  • Helps you select the right content for localization
  • Allows you to tailor your messaging to your audience’s needs and pain points.
  • Saves you from choosing the wrong content distribution channels.

Types of content for localization

Now that you know the importance of speaking your customers’ language, let’s look at the scope of your localization project.

Here are four types of content for localization:

Legal content

  • Contracts
  • Terms of service
  • Privacy policies
  • End-user license agreement (EULA)

Marketing content

  • Ad campaigns
  • Product descriptions and packaging
  • Promotional materials
  • Social media content

Technical content

  • User manuals
  • Product specifications
  • Technical guides and knowledge bases
  • Software documentation

UI and UX content

  • User interfaces
  • Software menus
  • Tooltips

How to build a content localization strategy that converts

You can build a successful content localization strategy in 6 steps:

  1. Conducting market research and selecting languages
  2. Setting your KPIs
  3. Selecting content
  4. Localizing content
  5. Distributing and promoting content
  6. Measuring content performance

Let’s start at the top.

Step 1: Market research (who am I localizing for?)

A successful content localization strategy is built on market research and target audience analysis.

Here’s how to carry out market research:

Identify target segments and markets

A segment is a specific group of prospects you go after. A market is a combination of your target segments. Thus, you can target one or several countries, regions, or even specific demographic groups.

  • A good place to start is Google Analytics. Use it to understand the potential for expansion. If a sizeable chunk of your audience is from Italy and Spain, consider localizing your website for these locales.
  • The next stop is Ahrefs. Use the tool to measure the interest for your target keywords in different locales. For example, if you search for “marketing tool”, you will discover that the search volume for this keyword in Vietnam is higher than in the US. Ahrefs’ global volume search results

Research your competitors

If you aren’t a trailblazer in your niche, chances are your competitors have already localized their content. Conduct a thorough competitor analysis to understand who you are up against and try to replicate their success.

  • Examine the competitor’s website. Check the language options they offer and examine to what extent their content is localized. Some might localize product and service pages. Others would even localize popular blog posts. And yet others would go so far as to localize every single piece of content on their website.
  • Study the competitor’s social media. Check if the competitor localizes social media content tailoring it to specific regions. Pay attention to the type and tone of content that garners the most attention.
  • Develop detailed audience personas for each target market. Identify their online behavior, preferences, pain points, and demographics. This will help you create content that appeals to the local audience.

Step 2: KPI selection (why am I localizing content?)

Now you need to set KPIs to measure the ROI of your content localization strategy.

To set clear KPIs, you need to set clear goals first:

  • Drive visitors to your website
  • Increase the number of returning visitors
  • Get sales leads
  • Promote brand awareness
  • Promote brand advocacy

To attribute the results of your localization project to these specific goals, you can use the following KPIs:

  • Website traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Time on site
  • Social media shares
  • Email subscribers
  • Number of leads
  • Lead to customer conversion rates
  • Click through rates
  • Repeat customers
  • Retention rates.

…the list goes on. To learn more about localization ROI, refer to this detailed guide.

Step 3: Content selection (what am I localizing?)

Think about content that can engage and, ultimately, convert your audience. To help you select the content for localization, follow these steps:

  1. Examine your content to see which areas have done well in your local market. Look for landing pages, blog posts, infographics, templates, ebooks, and checklists with high traffic, engagement, and conversions. Learn more about localizing website content in our simple guide.
  2. Prioritize content that is relevant to your target audience's expectations and interests. This could involve creating new content or editing existing content to align with regional preferences.
  3. Use your SEO knowledge to research keywords in your target regions. Find the local language's most important and popular keywords.
  4. Localize visual content such as images, videos, and infographics to appeal to the local audience. Ensure all graphics and images are appropriate for the target audience's culture.

Pro tip: To simplify visual content localization, use a localization platform Centus. It features seamless Figma and Sketch integrations, allowing designers to add and adjust translations in mere clicks. Learn more.

  1. Your content's tone and style should align with the cultural expectations of your target audience. Apart from the language, this also includes humor, formality, and the overall messaging strategy. Ensure the local audience can emotionally relate to your content.

Step 4: Localization process (how to tailor content to my audience?)

This is the stage where your content starts to be specifically targeted at your ideal audience across several regions. Here are the essential steps for efficient content localization:

  1. Use a professional localization platform, like Centus, to streamline the content translation and quality assurance processes. The platform enables seamless collaboration between translators, editors, managers, and designers, allowing you to finish projects faster while maintaining high quality. Centus dashboard
  2. Find content localization services or translators who not only speak the target language well but also understand the local nuances, cultures, and market trends. It will help you ensure that the content resonates with the preferences of the target audience.
  3. Create a style guide or glossary to ensure uniformity across all translated text. Also, maintain a consistent structure for your website and ensure that it complies with local requirements while maintaining your global brand identity.
  4. Go beyond literal translations. Make your content relevant and sensitive to cultural differences. This can entail adapting the images, references, and idioms.
  5. Use local keywords in content, file names, and even image alt text to improve their SEO performance.
  6. To get more eyeballs on your content, make it not only relevant but also timely. Specifically, ensure your content distribution calendar reflects the region’s holidays and local events.
  7. Check localized content for accuracy and consistency. Conduct cultural validation to ensure the content is tailored to cultural sensitivities.

Step 5: Distribution and promotion (where will I publish content?)

Now that your content is ready, bring it to your audience and make them notice it.

To distribute and promote your content, use either the channels you own, the channels you can earn, or the channels you can pay for. The examples of distribution and promotion channels are listed in the table below: Content distribution channels After choosing channels, start localized content marketing using push and pull strategies:

  • The push strategy is where you adjust your content for Meta groups, X threads, Reddit posts, or other social media channels.
  • The pull strategy is where you share links to your content and encourage people to consume it in its original form.

It’s essential to create a content distribution calendar to know what and when to publish. It might look as simple as a spreadsheet with content types, titles, and dates. Just ensure to specify who’s responsible for each content piece, estimated completion, and what comes next.

Step 6: Measuring content performance

After distributing and promoting your localized content, measure its performance using these tools:

Make sure to continuously monitor the performance of your content to better align it with your localization goals. If you don’t have enough visits or engagement, tweak content to ensure it better resonates with your audience’s preferences.

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