Before the turn of the millennium, international brand expansion was a practical challenge that few businesses could meet. Owners would need to travel overseas to scope out new markets, carrying out research along the way and attempting to convince potential partners that they could all profit from combining their resources. Travel alone could be prohibitively costly.
Since then, the internet has radically altered this challenge (along with countless others, of course). No longer is it necessary to fly around the world to carefully arrange content distribution. If you want your content to reach people overseas, no problem — it already can. Barring occasional exceptions involving national firewalls or copyright issues, anyone in any location can access any public website, regardless of its point of origin.
If you’re running a blog, then, people from throughout the world can enjoy your posts. But will they? The challenge an ambitious content creator faces today is figuring out how to connect with people who have so many other ways to spend their time. Creating just one article that truly connects with a global audience is more worthwhile than spooling out hundreds of posts that are briefly noticed, consumed, and disregarded with no lingering memory of their existence.
In this post, we’re going to focus on how you can optimise your content to ensure that it has the necessary ingredients to connect with people around the world and give you much-needed promotional diversity. To be exact, we’ll set out four tactics you can deploy. Let’s get started.
Improve website performance and accessibility
When aiming to spread your content, it’s vital to remember that connection standards vary wildly throughout the world. There are countries where most people access the internet through mobile data connections a generation or two behind what most people expect in the Western world. Due to this, you need to think about more than people with speedy broadband connections. Ideally, your website should look and respond quickly even on a weak signal.
If it’s sluggish and inclined to stop altogether when there’s below-average bandwidth, it’ll drive away visitors who expect far better. Accessibility ties into this for two reasons: firstly, a website that wasn’t developed with a mobile-first ethos won’t work as well as it should on mobile devices, and secondly, failing to account for people with disabilities leaves traffic on the table.
Take something like colour blindness. It’s far more common than most people think for someone to have issues distinguishing between colours, and your current colour palette may be making your content unreadable for some of them. Look into Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for more on what you need to factor in. The more time you can put into making each page optimally easy to access and read, the better its overall performance will become.
Update your designs to suit targeted cultures
What’s in a stock photo? Well, it depends on who’s looking at it. So if you’re hoping for a piece of content to be read around the world, you mustn’t overlook the potential impact of cultural differences. It’s very common for gestures to appear in stock photos, and this can prove disastrous given how gestures you may see as innocent can be interpreted in other places.
You also need to think about your design layouts, your color palette, and your font types, to name just a few more things. How is your navigation positioned? Can it suit people who read left to read and those who read right to left? Are the colors you’ve used not only suitable for those with color blindness but also fitting for the culture in question?
Translate your pages into relevant languages
If you want to have a global audience, you need to appreciate that English isn’t the only language in existence. In fact, once you factor in people who don’t speak it at all or speak it conversationally but would rather read content in their first languages, you’re looking at billions of people around the world. Failing to account for them massively reduces your potential reach.
The process of translating your content into relevant languages (it’s unrealistic to translate it into all common languages, so you need to think carefully about your best prospective markets) can seem very intimidating. Expert translators are expensive, and their work takes time. In truth, though, you can save a lot of time and money by using a translation app and having the resulting copy proofread and edited by some qualified freelancers.
Once you’ve created the multi-language variants of your pages, you must ensure that they’re positioned correctly when it comes to SEO. You don’t want two instances of the same page to compete for ranking positions. Confirm that you have suitable tags in place before you proceed and you shouldn’t run into any significant problems.
Simplify or remove potentially-confusing terms
It’s easy to fall into the habit of writing for the people who are already familiar with your brand and your content. It’s even easier to assume that you’re writing for people who know a lot about your niche. After all, they found you because they’re interested in that niche, and there are certain things that everyone in that niche will know — right? Well, not necessarily.
Even if a certain subcommunity in your part of the world is known for its technical knowledge, it’s entirely possible that there are comparable subcommunities in other parts of the world with similar levels of passion but relatively-meagre understanding due to insufficient educational resources. And if you keep making assumptions about your readers, you’ll never be able to win those people over. You’ll only leave them feeling alienated.
A good tactic here is to have someone totally unfamiliar with your brand read through your content and tell you how much they understand. Are there references that don’t land? Phrases or constructions that make no sense to them? If so, refine the text and remove or clarify those potential stumbling blocks. Keep it up, and eventually you’ll have a polished version of the content that will prove far easier for people from different backgrounds to appreciate.