Want to Increase Content Marketing Relevance? Try Localizing Your Content
“Professional writers don’t have muses; they have mortgages.” ― Larry Kahaner
Ah, writer’s block.
A common question I get about content marketing is how to find content topic ideas. After a few years, or even a few months of creating content for a company, it is all too easy for everyone from the marketing director to the junior content writer to hit a wall.
After all, what else is there to possibly say about elevator controllers or general liability insurance? When you’re in a rut for content ideas, try localizing your content.
Learning From Localized New Stories
When you first hear about content localization, you might have your marketing hat on and think about simply translating copy for international markets.
But if you’re practicing content marketing, you should always be able to take a journalist’s viewpoint as well. Content marketers can learn much from newspaper reporting. When there is a national or global story, local newspapers tend to “localize” the story by showing how that story has an impact on their town.
For example, when the US government releases a National Climate Assessment report that discusses global and national impacts, the article in your hometown newspaper lets you know the areas in your town that will flood first from sea level rise. Or when the federal government is shut down, your local newspaper explains the impact on area families who work at your city’s Coast Guard Station.
Contextualizing Major News for Your Content Marketing Audience
Marketers can take the same approach with popular news stories or trending topics. Except, you’re not localizing around a city, marketers should localize around their brand’s value proposition. How does that value prop help your customers who are impacted by a general news story?
This can take the form of pretty complex and deep analytical content informed by subject matter experts. For example, if your audience is dentists you can explain how tax law changes to pass-through income will affect their practice. If the government announces record low unemployment numbers and your audience is restaurant owners, you can create content about recruiting servers and kitchen staff employees.
Here’s an example where we localized news about March Madness: Testing Madness: What the odds of picking a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket can teach us about running valid tests.
But localizing news can take the form of pretty simple content as well. If you’re an office supply company, you can localize Marie Kondo’s book by asking your social media followers which supplies in their office “spark joy.” If you’re a computer manufacturer, you can localize Earth Day by sending an email newsletter with local places to reduce or recycle your computers.
Here’s an example. When the weekly weather report called for rain, Jiffy Lube of Indiana posted four quick wiper blade inspection tips on Facebook (part of an effort that helped the oil change specialty shop increase referral traffic from social media by 220%)
Localizing Popular General Content to Specific Audience Segments
You can also localize your own content, as well. When you publish general content to your audience, measure which content is most popular. That popularity is an indication that the particular piece of content is worth more investment, and one way to do that is by localizing to your audience segments.
Let’s say your company published a blog about business travel and your blog post about expense reports is especially popular. You could then localize that content to specific personas you target – small business owners, accounting departments, consulting companies, entertainment companies, etc.
You wouldn’t republish the exact same piece of content to those groups. You would simply publish a piece of content that references the original content they can read on your main blog, and then localize by including information to help that specific audience understand how the main content is relevant, important, and urgent to them.
For example, you might do a story about how small business owners can have a much simpler expense report process than a major corporation by using a simple spreadsheet (even better if you give them a free Excel template to download). Or how entertainment companies should have different levels of per diems depending on what type of talent they’re dealing with.
This is also an excellent opportunity for guest bloggers and contributed content. You can give them the original piece of content and ask them to provide advice for a specific target persona based on their experience and knowledge.
Localize Your Call-to-Action, as Well
After you’ve truly served your audience with helpful content, they’ll want to know the next step they can take with your brand. So to boost your conversion rate from all of the new traffic you’ll get by localizing your content marketing, make sure you have an optimized funnel that includes a relevant, localized call-to-action as well.
Daniel Burstein is the Senior Director, Content and Marketing at MECLABS Institute. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the marketing direction for MECLABS — digging for actionable discoveries while serving as an advocate for the audience.