International Content Marketing: How to Strengthen Your Brand in Foreign Territories?

International Content Marketing: How to Strengthen Your Brand in Foreign Territories?

    Every day, even in the most adverse circumstances, hundreds of startups, small companies, and projects supported by significant investments emerge worldwide. 

    Many of them have a common goal and dream: corporate internationalization.

    In today’s globalized world, in which the internet, social media, and digital platforms connect us all, penetrating foreign markets is a genuine necessity and a coherent and feasible goal, especially when using international Content Marketing.

    And that is why we created this post! Here, we will show you an overview of the best practices of a content strategy oriented towards new markets and the different criteria that you should consider to develop it successfully. 

    Take a look at the topics we will cover:

      What Are The Particularities of International Content Marketing?

      Content Marketing is a methodology based on a close relationship with the public. Its main priorities are to generate engagement and qualified leads.

      If you want to use the strategy as the pillar of an international marketing plan, it is necessary to understand the new market’s particularities and essential aspects.

      Cultural Characteristics

      In international marketing, culture covers all the ideas, perceptions, traditions, and customs that shape the people of a given region or country.

      Therefore, if this factor and its differentials concerning other markets are not fully understood, it is impossible to establish a link with the target audience, represented by the buyer persona.

      One of the best practices to understand and value the cultural characteristics of the target market is to employ local talents.

      For example, to successfully enter the Hispanic scenario, Rock Content included its production flow with dozens of content creators who have Spanish as their native language. 

      Those professionals were guided by other experts (also native speakers) from Rock’s team in Mexico — the country the company chose to start its internationalization.

      At the same time, these freelancers and professionals are supported by hundreds of Content Marketing experts in Brazil, the company’s home country.

      Economic Context

      From an economic point of view, purchasing power, currency value, income levels are some of the data that you should evaluate and single out for an international Content Marketing strategy, among other factors.

      Taking this into consideration is critical to developing a buyer persona profile adjusted to reality, enabling the production and dissemination of compelling content.

      For example, if your company has a diversified product portfolio, the public may assess some of them as too expensive in one country and affordable in another.

      Thus, the value proposition of the content related to this product will have to change since generating demand for its acquisition will address different buying objections.

      User Behavior On The Internet

      Each market has particularities in terms of user behavior in the digital universe, whether in search engines or social media.

      For example, although Facebook is the most popular social network globally, you cannot simply assume that it is the ideal one to share your content — as it may not be as widely used within your target market as you think.

      For example, in countries like China and Russia, which prioritize local networks, Facebook is not so popular. 

      Also, in some European nations, Twitter is more used than Facebook, which is not true in Latin America.

      Concerning user behavior, it is also vital to identify the terms people use to search on the major search engines since they will provide the foundation for developing a good SEO strategy.

      At Rock Content, for example, we need to produce content optimized for keywords that Colombian users search far less than Mexican ones and vice-versa.

      For you to better understand, we will share some SEMRush screenshots showing the search volume for the keywords “home office” and “teletrabajo” in Colombia and Mexico.

      The term “teletrabajo” has 9,900 monthly searches in Colombia:

      teletrabajo search volume in colombia

      In Mexico, on the other hand, only 1,900 users search for the term monthly:

      teletrabajo search volume in mexico

      When we look at the keyword “home office”, which represents the same subject and concept, there are almost 15,000 monthly searches in Mexico:

      home office search volume in mexico

      In Colombia, however, the term “home office” is searched on Google only 1,600 times a month:

      home office search volume in colombia

      Considering these numbers, we can conclude that if we wanted to produce content about home office for the Mexican audience, the most convenient would be to use the keyword “home office”. 

      If our ideal client is in Colombia, the most effective term would be “teletrabajo”.

      See how strategic content production can be specific to different countries?

      Website Settings Specifications

      You also need to configure the site and blog settings to target a specific geographic location.

      This helps sites and publications achieve greater visibility in search result lists in the target country.

      An important feature to ensure that content is delivered to users in the international market is the Hreflang tag, which identifies the different language versions of a website.

      5 Mistakes You Should Avoid In International Content Marketing

      If you’ve gotten this far, you already know how international Content Marketing works, but there is still a lot to learn.

      One of the key points for the success of this strategy is to make sure you don’t make the following mistakes. Keep reading!

      1. Shallow And Literal Translations

      As you already know, assessing people’s culture is key in international Content Marketing, and this includes considering idiomatic expressions and the way they speak.

      Making literal translations of the content does not guarantee that they will be understandable and generate a lasting connection with the target audience.

      It is important to adapt phrases, expressions, and style to the language and culture observed in the new market, as dictated by the best translation practices in Digital Marketing.

      These principles should also be applied when launching products abroad, as superficial and literal translations can lead to strange and even obscene names.

      Besides, using generic foreign terms may prevent search engine algorithms from identifying your content as interesting and relevant to users who speak that language.

      This was quite clear in the previous example about the home office.

      If the text were initially written in English, for example, and then translated in its literal form, the term used would be “casa trabajo”, which does not represent how the Mexicans express themselves on this topic.

      The translation should be, in fact, a process of adapting the content to the international audience.

      2. Not Producing Original Content

      Content translations are very helpful, especially at the beginning of the strategy, as they allow an excellent propagation flow, taking advantage of materials produced for the home country.

      However, it is also necessary to produce original content, tailored from the outset to the new target audience, considering their particular needs.

      Not generating original materials weakens the strategy, making it difficult to create engagement and build a solid audience.

      3. Perception That All Audiences Are Equal

      Compared to your original audience, the new audience in another country thinks and behaves differently on the internet. Never forget this!

      Any decision you make for your strategy must have a premise that the new market is different from that of your home country.

      Therefore, try to identify:

      • the most popular social networks;
      • the most relevant type of content;
      • the reading culture;
      • the time it takes to consume content on the internet;
      • level of the public’s digital culture;
      • among other key behavioral aspects.

      4. Skipping Cultural References From The International Market

      Besides valuing culture from an idiomatic perspective, you should consider the content’s focus and the references you place on them.

      Whenever you want to illustrate something through an example, make sure the local audience understands it and connects with it. This is why it is ideal to learn about relevant celebrities, national dates, historical events, among others.

      5. Lack Of Results Analysis

      Yes, results analysis is fundamental in any Digital Marketing strategy, but the truth is that it assumes special importance when it comes to international Content Marketing.

      Remember that when spreading content to audiences in another country, you will constantly be learning about users. 

      Therefore, you must use metrics and indicators to understand their perceptions and responses, allowing your company to adjust your style, messages, and other strategic elements.

      4 Pillars Of An International Content Marketing Strategy

      To close this guide on international Content Marketing, we will explain the four pillars that will enable your strategy to succeed.

      1. International SEO

      This comprehensive, in-depth concept covers strategic decisions and actions that allow a site and its publications to contribute to the corporate internationalization project by achieving satisfactory rankings in SERPs.

      Among the best international SEO practices is the use of keywords and terms common to the local audience, upon which search engine positioning depends directly.

      It is also essential to understand user intent in the SERPs, considering what type of content is relevant for specific keywords.

      For example, when entering “lifestyle” into a search engine, what does your user want to know? Something related to healthy meals? Exercise? Ways to earn money?

      These are reflections you should make about each keyword that, once analyzed, indicates good opportunities.

      Finally, concerning international SEO, the technical aspects also play a key role, and the Hreflang tag is part of this equation, as we mentioned in the previous topic.

      It is a valuable tag for creating content for the local audience of your target market since it sends a signal to the search engines when a user makes a query in a particular language.

      This means that if you want to target the Anglo-Saxon market, you need to set up your site as “English” by using the “en” tag.

      This will make you much more visible to users from English-speaking countries, according to the IP analysis that search engines do automatically.

      2. Blog Tailored To The Local Audience

      You already know that all audiences have particularities and differentials that must be considered when feeding your corporate blog.

      One of the main tactics to achieve this customization is creating and disseminating exclusive materials for the target country, which talk about their statistics, trends, and stories.

      In other words, these are highly relevant materials for the country you are targeting in your internationalization strategy.

      Also, try to include in your texts and materials mentions or examples that the local audience can relate to, including historical figures, celebrities, and other cultural elements.

      To make this possible, create your buyer persona with information from the target country, directing all research practices (surveys, interviews, etc.) to people and users in that location.

      3. International Competition Research

      The investigative element is also key in an international Content Marketing strategy and will help you make better decisions.

      You should focus your research on the competition within your target country. To do this, analyze:

      • how they communicate;
      • what kind of content they generate;
      • which techniques offer them favorable results.
      • It is also imperative that you detect the mistakes your potential competitors make to not repeat them.

      This procedure of analyzing your digital competition in foreign markets is quite interesting because you may end up discovering many new competitors, since not all of them will be world-renowned businesses.

      4. Establishing Alliances With Relevant Players In The Target Market

      Nowadays, social media is part of the daily lives of millions of people. 

      So, when talking about alliances, it is essential to think about influencers with local popularity.

      Choosing the ideal influencers could be a significant step in gaining the target audience’s trust and positioning yourself as a new market alternative.

      Also, use alliance or organic relationship tactics to generate backlinks from recognized and respected sites in the country you are targeting. 

      It is also highly recommended to work on regular guest posts.

      If you have followed us this far, you already know the essential aspects of international Content Marketing, what mistakes you should avoid, and the pillars of a good strategy.

      Remember that it all starts with the discovery and understanding of your international buyer persona and the realization that all audiences are culturally different and have particularities.

      Based on this premise, effective content, practices, and methodologies emerge, which really have the opportunity to connect with the potential customer and contribute to your positioning in the new market.

      Besides the good practices of Content Marketing, it is important to consider that it is necessary to choose the right country to achieve success in corporate internationalization.

      In the case of Rock Content, choosing Mexico as the heart of its internationalization process was not a coincidence. On the contrary, it was a strategic and deeply thought-out decision.

      Interested in learning more about international Content Marketing and understand how to balance global and local strategies? Check out our Jam Session with Pam Dinder, a passionate digital and tech marketer who has published a few books on the subject.

      Content Marketing Across Regions — the balance between global vs. local
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      Content writer at Rock Content.

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