The world is becoming more interconnected as the world becomes increasingly mobile, global and diverse.
A recent article in Forbes reported that China Now Boasts More Than 800 Million mobile global consumers. Even in India, where the number of internet users has experienced rapid growth, users will very soon reach 627 million, primarily driven by growth in rural areas.
Like China, the population of mobile users is exploding so much that by 2022, it is estimated that there will be 829 million smartphone users in India.
This growth isn’t exclusive to China and India. Rural areas of Africa and Asia are Also increasingly online, reading about new trends, making business decisions and dreaming about their next purchase.
These statistics and trends should elicit both alarm and optimism among today’s bloggers who have grown comfortable with their mostly homogeneous audiences.
But what will these new segments, new cultures, and new opportunities want and need?
Will they be loyal audiences to your blog or will they start their own blogs that are more in tune with their own cultural underpinnings and linguistic requirements?
Will your blog be able to adapt to serve them or will it miss the opportunity that awaits to expand readership?
Could these new users start their own blogs that easily target their unmet needs that you neglected to plan for?
These are all good question, and all are within the realm of possibilities.
Evolve or Die
In the fast-paced world of global exchange, it’s critical for businesses to embrace social, cultural, behavioral, economic and linguistic diversity.
If a blogger is unwilling to adapt to the changing climate, he could be destined for failure. But capitalizing on new trends and opportunities requires a deep understanding of these growth segments, their lifestyles, education levels, cultural norms, and values, as well as the way they communicate.
Those unwilling to adapt to the new dynamics of the global marketplace will struggle, as those who embrace and adapt to it will thrive.
Thus, the longevity and growth of your reader-base rest on your ability to adapt and evolve.
Here are some great tips for writing a culturally sensitive blog post that is welcoming and inclusive.
Set Realistic Objectives
Bloggers often talk about goals as if they are dreams and wishes. To set realistic goals, we need to get specific about what we intend to accomplish and define measurable performance factors.
If a goal seems unrealistic, we need to assess what skills, tools or resources are necessary to attain it. Finally, we need to consider whether the cost and effort involved making sense within the context of our broader business goals.
My suggestion is to take things one step at a time and create strategies to accomplish individual milestones.
Let’s say you want to increase readership in India, China, Latin America, and French-speaking African nations. Of course, you’d be hard-pressed to do that in a single post. In India alone, there are 22 different regional languages spoken, written in 13 distinct scripts, with over 720 dialects!
Therefore, you need to devise a strategy that lets you target the most lucrative segments.
For example, your initial post might target English speakers in North America. If the post is popular, you might develop a separate post in Chinese Simplified for mainland China and another post in Hindi for large audiences in India.
While localization is always important, companies working on a shoestring may create an article in French to reach audiences in Quebec, France, and the Ivory Coast, for example.
Although this may not be an optimal approach, it might still provide similar results. It’s best to consult with a translation services company to ensure your message isn’t lost in translation. Often, localization can be critically important. A good translation company can provide insights and direction to help you profile each of your key markets and create content based on their needs.
Know the obstacles you must overcome to reach your audience. One of these obstacles is typecasting.
People tend to associate a group of people with a stereotype. An example of this is blogging for a Chinese audience about taking care of dogs when a common stereotype of all Chinese is that they eat dog meat. As a blogger of this topic, it is your duty to debunk all myths and misconceptions about the culture. In other words, you must show the falsity of the stereotype that all Chinese people eat dogs if you want your dog blog to succeed.
The same goes for American fitness blogs, as most people think Americans have poor health because they eat mostly junk foods and fast food. For success, you need to know your audience and immersing yourself in it to increase your cultural sensitivity by bringing you close enough to make you one of them.
Have translation options
Globalization is imminent. And with it comes the rise of other languages. You’re missing out on many potential readers if you’re just publishing in English. Therefore, offer your blog posts in multiple languages to broaden your linguistic reach!
While automation tools are available, the quality of the translations produced by machines Is far from perfect and professional.
Pete Detlef, a senior project manager with a multilingual services company in Houston and Dallas, suggests starting out small. Most of his clients are now offering Facebook, Instagram and Twitter messages in various languages. One client, Mary Kay Cosmetics, recently had a series of social media posts in honor of its founder’s birthday that targeted followers in Taiwan and China. Another client, ProSupps publishes Facebook and Twitter messages to reach their French Canadian and Latin American consumers of their dietary, nutritional and bodybuilding supplements that include Dr. Hyde pre-workout energy mixes.
Translation companies can reach audiences very affordable and with high-impact messaging that generates shares, goodwill, brand loyalty, and brand advocates. Make sure your translation agency produces quality translated content that global audiences can easily understand. Translators should also have native-level fluency in the language they’re translating. However, it’s not all about the agency, as you also need to do your part in translating.
Limit your main points into three and clearly define them. Repeat them using the same wordings numerous times throughout the article. This way, the translation agency will have an easier time in accurately translating your content.
Don’t use synonyms. Stick to one word with the same meaning as much as possible. Also, avoid switching between acronyms and their full terms. Different names for the same person, concept, or thing confuse your audience. Global audiences prefer natural language even if it means reading the same words over and over again.
Verify the comprehension level of your audience
Writing a compelling blog post to a global audience isn’t just about publishing. It should be about a useful exchange of information. This means ensuring that your audience understands the content and responds in a way that you intend. If you don’t, your well-intended blog posts may suffer terrible backfires. Make sure to minimize the odds that your log
You also need to ensure that it’s understood by readers. Let me make that clear: Make sure that your audience gets your point and know what you’re saying. That’s why it’s best practice to write content that is simple, clear and concise. Ideally, aim for Grade 5 reading level comprehension using the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score. Because some topics are inherently technical, simplifying the language may be impossible. That’s okay. What’s important is that you know what language or tone of voice your readers respond to the best. By having a good understanding of their reading level, you can tailor your content to their level.
Slow & Boring vs. Creative & Lively
Though we want to make our blogs as enjoyable as possible, it doesn’t always have to be that way when targeting a global audience. It’s better to have slow and tedious content instead of creative and lively posts because it makes your content more understandable. Avoid jargon, idioms, or trendy terms, as these will confuse readers. You want to have their full attention on the post. You do not want them to wander away from the post to determine a term’s meaning. Also avoid citing celebrities known only in the U.S. Refrain from using witticisms, wordplay, or humorous stories too, as these don’t appeal to non-U.S. readers.
Writing blog posts to a global audience is a bit tricky due to cultural and regional differences.
However, it isn’t impossible as long as you have a good grasp of the appropriate cultural context, the local language, people and behaviors.
Because the blog-o-sphere is becoming more competitive, it makes sense to find new ways to attract more readers.