Blogs are often born out of a desire to share knowledge or expertise. Whether you’re writing about sports or your love of cooking, blogs can be very personal to the author and are often written with a specific audience in mind.
So when you’re looking to attract an army of international readers, how can you make your blog interesting to such a variety of audiences? Blogging for an international market is a rather different experience and it requires some effort and a little strategy. Here are five tips on how to get started.
1. Research Your New Markets
In most cases, you’ll probably already know which new markets you want to target, getting hints from other bloggers already following you or blogs that you like. They will give you an indication of which markets already have an interest in what you’re blogging about. But it doesn’t hurt to do a little desktop research as well.
Find out what makes the headlines and what doesn’t in your target countries, and how interactive they like their blogs to be. Adding elements of this to your own blog – for example, more images or video clips – or using it to steer the content of your entries will make your blog even more appealing to an international audience and will hold their attention longer.
2. Tailor Your Message
For some bloggers, attracting an international audience will be a more natural process. Blogs in English, for example, will cross over quite a few markets, such as North America, the UK, Australia and plenty of countries where English is commonly spoken as a second language. However, when looking to move into new markets, you need to make sure what you’re saying makes sense.
For each blog entry, take a step back from what you’re writing and keep in mind how appropriate the content is. For example, referencing local celebrities or using country specific phrases will just distance your new international followers. Instead use simple sentences and try to avoid colloquialisms or dialect. If you’re writing about well-known people or places, try adding a short explanation for the benefit of foreign readers.
3. Identify Relevant Keywords
There’s plenty of competition when it comes to attracting an international blog readership. Grabbing your new readers’ attention and maintaining their desire to keep coming back are both key to the success of an international blog. Working with a localization or translation agency is the most effective way to identify key terms or phrases. With cultural and linguistic insight, their input will ensure your keywords match what the local searches and help get your blog seen in the first place.
4. Optimize Your Content
Optimizing your content for search engines purposes – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – is as important for an international blog as one for your homeland. Use your international keywords as you would your own and work them into the copy, title and subtitles of your blog entries. But make sure you think outside of the Google-box too. Although Google rules the search engine roost in America, other search engines, such as Baidu, are more significant on an international market level.
5. Professional Translation Is King
Last, but certainly not least, is the translation of your blog, which when trying to cross cultures is pretty important. By making sure your content is available in the language of your target market you’ll maximize the number of potential readers.
Although automatic translations are a quick, easy option, they aren’t perfect and they will inevitably lose the natural feel of your blog. For those who have the budget, consider using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to create separate language pages and hire a professional translator to translate the content.
About the Author
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a top provider of translation services in the USA. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 170 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.