“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”
Enrique Jardiel Poncela
Search engines, including Google, are now better able to focus on giving favourable search rankings to high quality content that is easy to understand and relevant to a user’s search query. Positive user data, including time spent on site, help Google assign relevance values to content. As the trend away from traditional SEO and the move towards relevant content continues, well ranked sites have shifted their focus from using keywords based on search queries to trying to understand the customer’s intention and to engage them, reflecting this in high quality and well-structured content.
This goes hand-in-hand with content being a key factor in the customer experience: the qualitative element an individual experiences when they interact with an organisation on any device and in any language. But how can you ensure the quality of your content as it is rolled out across markets? On the face of it, it’s simple enough to write compelling content on a topic which is interesting and relevant for your customers but there are some useful considerations you could take into account such as the devices on which your content will appear, the format of your content, the markets where it will be displayed and the languages into which it will be translated.
Unless you are considering producing content for your primary market using a single language, single message and single device, ensuring consistency of content at an early stage and incorporating this as part of your strategy, is a first step on the path to managing the content experience from the beginning of the content lifecycle. If a customer experiences a consistently high content standard for the duration of their interaction with your organisation this reinforces your message, manages expectations and builds trust. It can be applied throughout the organisation across content types, formats and devices and is the basis for quality content in international markets and multiple languages.
Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes – don’t baffle them with unfamiliar acronyms, marketing-speak, jargon or colloquialisms and lose them along the way. Tell them what they want to know and help them along their journey to reach their destination as seamlessly as possible. Keep your sentences short and simple. Remember that if they’re using their mobile (and many of them will be) they don’t have the time, and you won’t have the space, to procrastinate. By executing the creative phase of the process in an informed and measured manner you can ensure that all of your customers receive a message which is on brand and is part of a logical structure.
Global understanding is not just translation. There is a skill to managing multilingual content and catering for multiple markets with different cultural needs and therefore gaining the competitive advantage. The challenge for organisations is to create cohesion between these distinct markets, to build credibility and authority. Again, in this case, consistency comes into play. If your message is clear it will be translatable and can then be localised for each market, taking into account local cultural nuances and market regulations. Research and monitor your locales to bring locally and culturally relevant content to each market and carry out ongoing tracking and analytics and remember to include these activities in your timeline. Consistency will keep your customers coming back.
Organisations should also consider how, and where, they will manage their content; whether this is in a content management system, via an interface or within the code itself. The technology is key to the deployment of successful global content. Setting up a system and defining parameters enables effective creation of content which can then be managed in various formats, across devices and in many languages. With the provision of the necessary fields any user will be required to add tags, data and any other relevant taxonomy. Again this contributes to the consistency and usefulness of the content.
There are also several other tools you should consider for your armoury, which can be shared widely across functions such as brand, marketing, product and customer services and with writers, subject matter experts and product owners. Research style guidelines, develop tone of voice documentation, compile glossaries and standard terminology lists, review and edit your content, test it, refine it and establish best practices. Long-term the governance and management of your source content will pay dividends and ensure that your customers enjoy a rewarding and seamless content experience.