Live from London: Insider Tips From Our Global Content Roundtable
Highlights from last week’s lively discussion on the key issues for global content marketers
December 8, 2016
What happens when you gather five global marketers around a table and put them on the spot about what it’s really like to manage content across markets? That’s exactly what happened during our Live from London webinar last week. We brought together the people heading up content for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific – and I asked them for their views on key global content marketing questions.
It was a great session, with plenty of questions fired in from our audience, plenty of off-the-cuff insights about how we developed our global content strategy, and some great ideas for others looking to do the same. You can listen to the full webcast on-demand here – and as a taster, we’ve pulled out some highlights from the session in this blog post.
Why do content marketers need to think globally?
You need to be able to look at a piece of content or a concept and extrapolate how it will play out in different regions. It’s not easy because there’s just not that much conversation out there about how you create a global content framework. However, there’s real value in that global thinking. It’s how our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn was able to cross 100,000 downloads and become our biggest driver of Marketing Qualified Leads – because it was conceived in a way that could make it relevant to each market.
You need communication and transparency across regions if you’re going to share best practices, promote one another’s content and still maintain a consistent brand tone of voice. That’s why we go to the effort of holding a global content council, with representatives from every region and every vertical. It’s a challenge with different time zones – but it’s worth it!
How can you get local teams excited about your content?
I think it’s important to think beyond just your local marketing teams on this. In particular, you need tight alignment with your sales teams. Personally, I don’t talk to them about every post we’re promoting – but I save their focus for the big things that we want to make a noise about. I provide them with lots of back-up materials so that they can be a part of promoting it, including messaging that they can copy and paste into emails and updates.
It’s important to make data-driven decisions about what’s needed and what will work in each market. This guides our approach to translation, for example. There are lots of languages in EMEA, but we’ve informed ourselves about where translation into those languages really makes a difference – and where it doesn’t.
How about getting the local audiences excited?
Local influencers can be really important here – they are the natural voices of the customer and they’re attuned to the business challenges of the local market.
I agree – influencer marketing is hugely important right now. Every content marketer should have a list of five or ten influencers in their space that they can start reaching out to. You can search for these on platforms like Buzzsumo, which I use a lot. Alternatively, try typing relevant keywords for your content into LinkedIn or Twitter and see which people’s profiles rank as most relevant – or type them into Amazon and see who’s written books on the subject recently. You’ll need to work to get onto these influencers’ radar – start by sharing content with them, aiming to add value, and then inviting them to get involved in what you’re doing.
In some markets, you might find that there isn’t a local thought leader on your topic – but a good work around is to start with your case studies. These are clients who are willing to talk publicly about you and they might well be happy to support you through their own individual and corporate blogs.
What’s the biggest challenge in global content marketing?
“I think it’s ensuring that local voices are represented at the global planning level – because if you can socialise ideas and get buy-in from the start, it makes things much easier. However, you also have to balance lots of different agendas with the need to be consistent. We share content guidelines and frameworks to empower our teams – but we also need to be able to push back occasionally and say ‘No’.
Being able to co-ordinate content calendars is really important as well. We use Kapost as a tool for socialising and sharing our content calendars amongst different teams and that works great. However, even simple shared templates can make a difference. You’ll find some in the Content Marketing Toolkit that Jennifer Bunting and her team in APAC created. It’s a great example of a global content asset in itself.
There’s also a big lesson in knowing your audience – and knowing what translates and what doesn’t.
That’s right – at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, we talk about ‘Turkey slices’ a lot, to illustrate how to get on-going value from ‘Big Rock’ content assets. That analogy works well in the US and UK where you eat turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas – but it doesn’t mean anything in Asia. When we were adapting global content assets for our markets we decided it was best to steer clear of food and talk about splitting big rocks into little pebbles instead.
What’s the ideal piece of global content look like?
I think it comes back to that whole notion of collaboration at the very inception of an idea. When you can bring in regional perspectives at that stage you end up with content that’s much more effective.
Especially when you consider the importance of having fresh perspectives and pairs of eyes. You can get too close to an idea in the creative development stage if you’re working in isolation.
The ideal Big Rock piece of global content should be built in modules that can be swapped in and out for different markets without undermining the core narrative. We do this with our Sophisticated Marketers guides, swapping in different influencers or case studies that are locally relevant.
Bear in mind that there will be different criteria for different types of content. For research assets, there’s usually not a single, global set of data points that will be relevant for every market. It’s important to have access to local data and be able to incorporate that into your content. For brand content though, you may well find a message that resonates across markets if you can find a relevant way to promote it locally.
What are the most important skills for a global content role?
I would say it has to be writing – being able to craft a compelling story. There are lots of other skills involved in global content but if you are able to write well, and keep trying to write better, then you can definitely learn those other skills.
I think it comes down to being scrappy – and finding a way to make things happen. It can sometimes feel like you’re stuck on an island as a global content marketer. You need to be able to reach out to other departments and get things done.
I think it’s having a start-up mentality. You need to be a bit of an entrepreneur and a hybrid marketer at heart, because you are going to have to learn to do a little bit of everything.
I agree – and that’s why global content marketing is such a great role to be in. It’s fundamentally the best learning opportunity out there. You’ll be exposed to every facet of marketing, and you can’t help but develop new skills.
Want more insight from our global content webinar? We had some great questions from the audience that we’ll be addressing in future blog posts so watch this space for more.