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Marvia12.04.20228 min read

What is a Content Localization Strategy

Local marketing is the process of adapting your brand's messaging to a particular target market within a geographical region. The aim of content localization is to ensure that your content fits the target market's language, nuance, and culture. 

If you plan to expand into international markets or other regions, you need a content localization strategy. This includes all the aspects that make your content relevant and understandable to a target market. Today's article helps you make sense of content localization and the steps to follow in creating a content localization strategy. 

Want to dive deeper into Local Marketing before starting your strategy? You can read everything you need to know about local marketing in this blog.

Elements of content localization 

Content localization is more than just translating your copy. Here are four main factors to consider when creating your content localization strategy.


When we talk about content localization, language is the first element to consider. Your content needs to fit the language spoken in your targeted market, and you need to think about any distinct spelling, or collocations and associations that may be difficult to translate. 

Think, for example, of the word "chips", which has a different meaning depending on whether you're in the US, the UK, or you're working with computers. Language isn't just about which language you're using, but also about which words you use and whether you use jargon. You can, of course, play with language and "mistranslate" on purpose to catch the attention of your audience.

However, unconscious mistranslations can lead to adverse effects. When KFC opened its doors in China in the 1980s, they directly translated their slogan 'Finger-lickin' good' into 'Biting your fingers off'. Suffice it to say, KFC's slogan did not have the intended effect on the Chinese market. KFC quickly corrected the mistake, and now they are a top fast-food chain in the country.


Another aspect to consider when localizing content is culture. Colors, symbols, and expressions all have different meanings for different cultures. 

Failing to think about your target market's culture can result in inappropriate messaging and cultural appropriation, which can lead to you losing customer trust and eventually, customers. You can consider bringing in a local expert to ensure that your branding is culturally appropriate.

It's crucial to remember that culture doesn't vary just from country to country, as it also differs within one country. Take, for example, the differences between big cities and rural agrarian areas. Use this knowledge to your advantage by either playing to the local identity or by looking for connections between different places. 

Ikea-Penang-Malaysia-Branding-in-Asia-1 (1)


Formatting and design

As with language, visuals are also interpreted differently in different geographical areas. Hence, when localizing content, ensure that your visuals fit the cultural context of the target area. This mostly concerns symbolism and other locally relevant media that you can reference.

Consider the imagery you're using, as well as the layout and design of your content. One thing that can cause trouble is how translation affects formatting. Translating content from English to French will result in 15-20% more tokens. The increase is sure to affect the layout of your visual designs. So, you might need to make some edits to the design or copy. 

Laws and regulations

The final aspect to remember in content localization is laws and regulations. The rules and regulations in your South American market will have some key differences to those in European markets. Content localization takes this into context and makes the necessary adaptations.

Why do you need a content localization strategy?

As you can see, content localization is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. A content localization strategy will ensure that your content is accurate, culturally appropriate, and compliant with local regulations. 

Not only will localization help you to accurately communicate your message, but it will also build trust with your new audience. Localizing your content shows that you're invested in understanding and catering to the needs of your target market. With 75% of consumers stating that they would continue to buy from a brand they trust, it's clear that building trust is essential for long-term success. 

Higher customer engagement

Customers are more likely to engage with content when its messaging is relevant to them. This can come in terms of culture, topics, trends, or even images. If the content being created taps into what is happening in the local market and provides valuable insights, it is more likely to be consumed and even shared. On the other hand, engagement falls if customers come across content that doesn’t resonate. 

Competitive advantage

Content localization puts you ahead of the competition. A good content localization strategy forms the basis of a strong bond between you and your customers over brands that just focus on (inter)national campaigns. More authentic local connections lead to higher consumer trust and loyalty, which is the foundation of a growing market share. 

Better reputation

As long as you have a well-thought-out content localization strategy, the chances of harming your reputation due to wrong messaging are lower. When you localize content, you cut out the risk of inappropriate expressions or visuals that may cause anger and resentment towards your brand.

Strategies for content localization

Content localization can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you have lots of content to work with. However, a content localization strategy can help you simplify the work. This strategy acts as a guide on which content to localize and how to do it.

Below are the key steps to follow when creating a content localization strategy.

1. Identify your target region

First, find out everything you can about the region you're targeting; 

  • What language do they speak? 
  • What are the major cultural themes?
  • Are they an individualistic or collective community (this helps you understand the tone to use in your content)
  • What are the needs, expectations, wants, and pain points of the target audience in that region?

Answering the questions above will help you tailor content that's localized and personalized to your audience.

2. Create an inventory of all key content

Next, you need to have an updated list or information on all the content you want to localize. There are 4 content types that need to be localized. Here's a breakdown of each:

  • Marketing content - This content encompasses all the copy related to advertising, promotions, and marketing and should fit the expectations of your target customers. 
  • Branded content - This content talks about your brand. Conversely to what we've said until now, this content needs to be uniform across regions to project brand uniformity. Brand content does not require as much localization, but you will need to translate it correctly to your new target market. 
  • Technical content - Technical content consists of manuals such as product documentation and user guides. This needs to be available in the target market's language to simplify the use of products. You can also opt to use globally-recognized images (semiotics) to show step-by-step processes. 
  • Legal content - Legal content will include sections like privacy policies, disclaimers, and terms of use. The content should be localized to reflect the local laws and regulations. The best way to ensure that the content complies with local laws is to pass it through a legal expert. 

Also, don't forget other nifty details like date formats, local phone numbers, and form entry instructions.

3. Enlist a local expert's help

During content localization, it's very useful to work with local experts. For instance, you can have a copywriter to ensure marketing content communicates value when translated and a legal expert to provide legal insights. A native speaker of the target language ensures phrases and anecdotes are in line with the region's culture. 

4. Optimize for SEO

local seo

Like your primary marketing content, localized content needs to be optimized too. Make sure to use local keywords and figure out the search intent of your target audience.

When optimizing localized content, first determine the most popular search engine in the region. For instance, Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, with a market share of 76%. Google has a market share of only 3%. This data means that you'll need to tailor your content to the most popular search engine in your market. 

5. Review

Once content localization is complete, you need to review the content. The review process is vital in ensuring content remains relevant and correct. Reviewing the localized content also ensures that all key content types are accounted for. Finally, monitor your SEO performance to reveal areas of improvement.


Need Help With Content Localization?

The power of content localization is in the details. Since visuals, content copy, and design differ from market to market, it can be challenging to keep your brand assets consistent. However, you can eliminate the differences in visuals, content copy, and designs to ensure brand uniformity and consistency. 

Through Marvia's local marketing automation platform, your organization can create localized but brand-consistent content. The brand portal helps your organization keep various elements like the brand typography, colors, and personality consistent even in local marketing collateral. 

You can also access brand templates to help local partners or marketers create their own, localized content that is consistent with your brand. The brand portal comes with reporting features to help you uncover the gaps in brand consistency and make improvements. 

Get in touch for a free demo showing you how Marvia's brand portal helps with content localization.

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