Cultural differences

3 guidelines for creating content for an international audience

3 guidelines for creating content for an international audience 780 441 nMerge

So the time has come to expand your business internationally. This might be because of a well thought out expansion strategy or maybe an opportunity has landed in your lap which can’t be ignored.  No matter what the ‘why’ was, it now becomes ‘how’. How will you become known in the global context?  Creating content for an international audience is one of those must-do’s to ensure that what you mean is what you say and what is understood! Try looking for cilantro in a grocery store in the UK and you might walk away unhappy but if you look for coriander then your curry recipe for tonight is looking good!

There are so many aspects that will become important at various stages in your journey to international success (marketing, networking, sales, successes etc) but in this blog I am only going to talk about one small but important step which is creating content for an international audience.  It goes without saying that content created for one audience does not necessarily resonate with another audience. That is why marketers will target content to a specific audience so as to obtain the best engagement levels. This is highly relevant for the international context as complexities such as local context and cultural fit are amplified.

For those that are interested in an in-depth study of cultural differences then the first place to begin would be with one of Hofstede’s books. 

Cultural Power Distance

Source: http://theoort.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/cultural-dimensions.html

If an academic literature review is not something you have time for today, then another option would be to engage local contacts such as your partners overseas or Australian government’s Austrade to draw on their local knowledge.  This will help you to tailor your message.

Weighing up resources and budget vs speed to market is also important.  If you are already successful nationally then chances are that you would already have a website and other pieces of marketing collateral developed.  These may continue as your core collateral but interspersed with some targeted pieces of content for your new, international market.  If this new market is important to you and your business then taking some time to assess it before creating content will pay dividends as that content will be used not just by marketing but also by your sales teams as they begin to engage their new leads.

Here are some tips to creating content for an international audience

  1. Do your homework and look at the messaging that similar companies in that market are using.  Is there specific language that keeps being repeated? Is there an expectation for after sales support that you would not normally see nationally that you need to include?  Are there certain colours that are used or avoided?
  2. Include a clause in your partner contracts for marketing help.  They are a great source of information and can also translate your messaging into the local language.  Consider having translations fed back to you so that you can ensure your branding is not changed when localized copies are created.
  3. Nothing beats a visit to the region in person. This will give you the invaluable experience of meeting potential customers, your local partners, perhaps even seeing your competitors.  Knowledge is power so when travelling always keep your eyes and ears open.

One final piece of advice on content creation for an international audience – be open to new ideas and change.  Don’t get caught in the train tracks by thinking that your hugely successful marketing campaigns in Australia are already perfect for the international audience. Be prepared to watch, listen and learn.


Felicity is Head of Operations at nMerge Pty Ltd, providing consulting, systems and services to Australian companies as well as partnering with marketing and sales technology vendors and thought leaders in Europe and Silicon Valley, USA.  She has broad and in-depth experience across senior management within the technology and environmental sciences sector.  This includes business development and marketing for complex technology solutions into new and existing markets.  She has significant experience in international business leading marketing and sales teams across dispersed geographies and cross-cultural markets.

Felicity has completed an MBA (International Business), Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Science. She is also the 2010 recipient of the future leader of export award presented by the Governor General, Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO.

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