The biggest global content marketing mistakes – and how to avoid them

Top global marketers share the mistakes they’ve learned most from

December 1, 2016

global content marketing

Global content marketing requires plenty of delicate judgment calls: When should you just go ahead and roll out content across markets – and when should you take the time to reinvent it? Should you apply strict criteria for content to keep delivering a consistent brand voice – or allow your local teams more autonomy? How do you identify which pieces of content are worthy of a wider audience – and which will fall flat if they attempt to travel across borders?

The good news is: there are plenty of global content marketers out there with experience making these decisions – getting them right and, just as importantly, getting them wrong. As part of our new Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Global Content Marketing, we sat down with several of the world’s most successful global content minds. We asked them about the biggest global content marketing mistakes they’d learned from.

Here’s what they had to say:

Doug Kessler - Creative Director and Co-founder, Velocity Partners

"One big mistake is to think that every piece of content has to work in every market. You want to optimise in each market and not have to dumb-down the piece to a bland vanilla in order for it to be accepted everywhere."

The goal is not “acceptable everywhere,” the goal is “insanely great wherever it goes.”  But that means it’s okay if a piece is NOT suitable for a given market. Or that it needs lots of rewriting to make it relevant locally.

"It’s better to think of your content programme as a menu that local marketers can choose from. Not as a mandated list of content that every market must use.”


Pam Didner - Global Content Marketing Strategist

Don’t try to make everyone happy. Sometimes, you just need to say no and be OK with it. If you say no, be able to articulate why you said no.


Alex Cheeseman - Global Head of Strategy, Newscred

"If you haven’t got the right analytics or access to the right data set against a given point within a customer journey – then you’re not getting a full picture and are making myopic decisions."

Concentrate on getting the right frameworks in place to better understand, measure and optimise what you’re doing. Use your own measurements to benchmark and A/B test new ideas. This will enable you to make data-driven decisions vs emotional decisions.

Aoife O’Mullane - Social Media Strategist, King Content

I think the biggest mistake you can make as a global marketer is assuming you know what your audience wants based on what has worked in other markets. Never assume that you know what your target audience wants – they can often surprise you. Testing and learning is key to developing a strong strategy that can speak to the needs of that particular region. Be fluid with your strategy and allow your insights to guide your approach.


How to avoid the mistakes others have made
The best way to avoid global content mistakes is to learn from others’ experiences rather than having to figure everything out for yourself. That’s very much the philosophy behind The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Global Content Marketing. To create it, we drew on our own experiences as regional content marketers at LinkedIn – and we reached out to plenty of top global marketers such as those in this post. The result is an in-depth guide to everything you need to consider as a global content marketer – from organising and motivating your teams to making data-driven content decisions that ensure you’re always relevant to different local audiences. The full Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Global Content Marketing is available to download for free here.