Globalization, whether we like it or not, has taken over every aspect of our lives. And nowhere more so than the internet.
Just look at the major online global players—Facebook, Apple and (of course) Google all have their own international versions.
While you may not be as big as Google, the time is ripe for you to target a foreign language audience with an international, multilingual blog.
To corner this niche, you need a well-planned strategy.
1. DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.
Before deciding which country (or countries) to target, define very clearly what your blog is about and what your goal is.
This point is valid for any blog, but it becomes even more relevant for an international one.
How can you deliver a message to a foreign audience in another language, if the message itself is not completely clear to you?
2. GO “GLOCAL”
If you want to attract foreign visitors, why not provide them with something typical of your country?
If you blog from Italy, your content could focus on Italian fashion, regional food, art, sports cars; if you are Swedish or Danish, modern, innovative design could be your forte…
Every country has something special to offer. Make your choice and launch yourself into the arena.
But do be aware that what is popular in your country may not be a global trend. Which brings us nicely onto…
3. BE FLEXIBLE WITH CULTURAL DIFFERENCES.
Don’t assume that if something works well in your country, it will work just as well in another. Very often, it doesn’t.
A picture of your favourite movie star in a skimpy outfit could be grossly offensive across the other side of the world.
Do your research and test the waters—if it becomes evident that things aren’t going the way you’d like, be ready to change and adapt your blog for that particular country.
4. CHOOSE YOUR LANGUAGE POLICY
After deciding which countries are the most suitable for your content, the language issue can’t be postponed any more.
I would suggest translating into one, or a maximum of two extra languages to start off with.
And don’t forget to set your “language policy”.
Do you want all your content translated into your chosen language(s) or just some parts? For example, you could start translating only the most important posts, keeping 80 or 90% of the site in English and wait and see what feedback you get.
Or you could follow a more targeted policy, deciding each time what content is worth translating and what is not.
5. TRANSLATE PROPERLY
Now’s the time to do the translation part! If you have a budget, you could start with a full double or triple version of your blog
(you’ll probably be interested that Google’s dreaded ‘duplicate content’ rule doesn’t count if your content happens to be in a foreign language).
In this case, since you will have to employ some mother-tongue speakers, you might be able to arrange a swap with bloggers or non-bloggers of different native languages to reduce the costs.
That is, I translate your content in my native language and you do the same with mine.
It may appear cost-effective to use an online translation tool like Google Translate, but machine translation is notoriously inaccurate,
preferring to translate literally and (in many cases) missing the point completely. You want your blog to be remembered for all the right reasons, not because it’s badly translated!
6. PROMOTE YOUR BLOG USING INTERNATIONAL/LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA
Create a profile for your blog across social media networks, but don’t take it for granted that this means Facebook and Twitter.
Many non English-speaking countries can boast national social networks as successful and, in some cases more successful,
Establishing a presence on those more local social networks will give you both the opportunity to promote your blog and to get to know better the peculiarities of this particular foreign country.
But don’t forget to interact in the native language!
That’s all for now. So, are you ready to be at the forefront of a new generation of international bloggers?