Thoughts from Content Strategy Forum 2011

I have just returned from the Content Strategy Forum 2011. This is really the  best forum dedicated to content strategy or content marketing I have had the chance to attend. Even if time allowed for questions was, I believe, too short, the speaker selection and organization were perfect.

One topic that was not, to my knowledge, discussed is the difference between Europe and the US when it comes to content strategies. Different because the US focuses on English and Europe has at least 15 languages that are considered crucial for reaching key markets. Content strategy and content marketing is currently only targeted to English-speaking audiences. Today more than 50% of web pages are in English. This is changing fast and the ratio will probably be very, very different in just five or ten years’ time.

Social media and e-commerce is exploding in emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil. Eastern European markets are also now publishing more and more content with the development of e-commerce in all eastern markets.
Multicultural content strategy is therefore really a key differentiating aspect for European and Latin American marketers. Large CMSes need to evolve to enable easier publication of multilingual, multichannel content.
I believe that brands and agencies in Europe need to take a step back and use the content strategy principles with a contextual and multicultural mindset to drive the best ROI. The time of let’s just translate and put a cross in that box is simply over. Translation brings no ROI, it is purely a cost, because no customer can be confident reading content that simply sounds wrong or fails to appeal to its audience. Multicultural marketing and content strategy can help brands to define a clear and measurable strategy to grow online within different markets.

Content localization, multilingual SEO and in-culture content creation takes time and is costly but can bring measurable ROI whereas unconsidered translation can actually harm brand reputation with poor quality content and even sometimes wrong interpretation.
European-based content strategists and US-based companies that have understood this will ultimately be the winners with the best solutions to provide global content strategies to large multinational businesses. Talking to a Mexican is different than talking to a Spaniard: they speak the same language but their cultural references vary hugely so they search very differently online, as well as consuming and sharing content in very different ways. We all know this, this is common sense, but many companies use the same badly translated content to attempt to seduce buyers in these markets. This cannot bring great rewards.

Multicultural marketing is linked to a good content strategy and a very organized multilingual content creation process to feed the web with the right content, written in the right tone and style, and posted on the right channel to enable the target audience to appreciate this content, share it and read it.
EnVeritasGroup is in my mind the only multicultural content marketing company that has a resource of web writers that is currently writing and optimizing in more than 30 languages. This is a bet on the future and from what I can see in the world now this is the right bet!

Eric Ingrand
Director, Business Development

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