Now, when most people first think of an international blog, they start by focusing on the language issues. And this usually brings up the notion of “heavy investment”. By solely focusing on languages a few bad things usually happen, this:
- Paralyzes action through fear of the unknown and related procrastination
- Creates bigger mountains than there actually are
- Stops people from taking the other investments vital for success into consideration
So before I approach the question of language, let’s look at the other areas where you need to invest in a successful international blog.
1 – Strategy Is Key
The most important time investment in an international blog is in the strategy. I believe this is the same for all business blogs. For international blogs it is even more critical. A good strategy helps you to get something out of your international blog marketing.
Strategy Before Starting Your Business Blog
Just like any other business blog, an international blog requires some preparation before you begin blogging. It is best to carry out:
- Research on the other blogs in the area
- General web user research for the countries you want to reach.
- A brief review of the differences in cross-cultural dimensions. This will help you find the tone for your blog, and also to identify who should write the blog.
But there is probably one big difference between a typical business blog and blog actively seeking to connect with international markets: If this is your first blog targeting these markets, your initial strategy will probably be off target.
- You will need feedback before you can get your international blog strategy right
- Your international blog strategy will probably go through several changes until you find the right way to establish a connection with audience
Do not expect to have all of the answers before you start blogging.
- Be an active listener
- Plan for flexibility
- And get ready to connect with people
Creating The Best Strategy
Many business executives get involved in the strategy to prepare and set up the business blog and then delegate the ongoing blogging to someone else. This is a real mistake for an international business blog… and it is a mistake where small businesses can jump in and have a distinct advantage.
You see, a blog is like a living thing. A successful blog creates a real relationship within an area when all the market players are present: prospects, clients, suppliers, partners and competitors.
For a business blog, business strategy is important. With a “living” communication platform, you need to be ready to adapt tactics while maintaining the your business strategy at the same time.
The reality for many businesses is that:
- Social media can help businesses improve their knowledge of their market
- With this extra knowledge some businesses may discover business opportunities
- These businesses may then realize that their business strategy needs some tweaking
For businesses using blogs to reach international markets this is almost always true. Blogs give you a tool to get to know your international market potential.
As a new small business this is exactly what happened to me. After blogging for 3 months, I discovered a new business opportunity that I had never imagined. After blogging for 6 months I also discovered 2 different ways to exploit this new opportunity.
When blogging for international markets, you will need to invest more time into your blogging strategies. You simply need to work harder to adapt them and create the best connection you can with foreign markets. With cultural differences there is no way to get around this extra effort.
International business requires action with adaptability and flexibility. It is a learning process of getting to know your international clients and markets.
2 – Strategic Content
How much time you invest in writing and creating the content on your blog depends on many factors. There are many different ways to approach content and your choice will be influenced by your international market and the culture you want to reach as well as your own culture.
No matter what you choose, you will want to test your content by actively engaging in conversations and monitoring the results.
One international blog strategy might be to write one article a week and add weekly social media presence in local markets.
Strategic content is important for all business blogs… international ones too.
3 – Social Bookmarking & Social Networking
Social bookmarking is an important part of getting visibility and traffic to your blog.
The first time I heard a French person refer to social bookmarking as “digg-like” I did not understand him. Social bookmarking exists in other countries, but they may call it something else and it might not be developed in the exact same way.
Social networking is how you connect with people across the different social media platforms. This usually involves:
- Leaving comments on other blogs
- Showing others what you like online
- Building relationships within the circle of your online presence – not only in your customer base
You Might Need To Spend A Lot Of Time
For international markets, you will need to spend more time researching the best social bookmarking tools and alternative social networking ways to reach the people you want to reach.
You Might Need To Start From Scratch
You probably will not know how to go about starting this at first. And the only real advice is to jump in and start someplace. If you feel awkward, persist and slowly build your people skills in this new environment.
4 – International Business Networking
I have separated this from the social networking, because the activities are different. International business networking is why you have an international business blog in the first place. This is where you build the relationships you need to develop your international business. It requires :
- A fair amount of additional research
- Personal one-on-one contact which usually involves phone calls
5 – The Right Language For Your Objectives
Many businesses automatically assume they need a blog in the native language of the country they are targeting. And most businesses need to have all of their sales and marketing materials in the native language of their international clients.
But before you start thinking about languages, sit back and think about the objectives of your international blog. I talked about strategy, strategic content, social bookmarking & social networking and international business networking first for a reason.
I hope to show you that you could have an international blog to learn more about your international markets… first.
- Before thinking of sales
- Before investing in foreign language sales and marketing materials
An international blog combined with international social media gives us an opportunity to do international market research on a different level.
- A good strategy will help you get the information you need before taking any decisions
- Strategic content ensures that you are targeting the right people to get the feedback you need
- Social bookmarking and social networking can promote interaction
- International business networking may uncover new or better opportunities
I hope you take the time to think about this carefully. Because it takes the big stress with foreign languages and puts it into another perspective.
Do You Need A Foreign Language Blog?
For some businesses, the need to communicate in a foreign language will be obvious. They may have foreign markets where no one speaks English. But there are also many businesses who may be able to consider using an English language blog to reach international audiences.
Would you prefer to operate in two steps. The first step could be:
- Blog in English targeting an international audience
- Run occasional foreign language campaigns in the foreign language
- Learn how to engage conversations with your foreign markets
- Find out more about your international market opportunities
- Adapt your sales and marketing
And your second step would be a more targeted approach to a foreign market with more knowledge and less risk.
What About A Language Mix?
Many global websites with multiple languages use templates. English is used for the bulk of the information and only the first few pages are translated in the foreign language. There is nothing stopping you from doing something similar with a blog.
You could have a general outline of what you blog about and who you want to connect with translated into a foreign language and then have regular blog posts in English.
There are markets where this would be enough to show your eagerness to connect with people, and facilitate conversation to get valuable foreign market feedback.
Evaluate Your Options
Now I am not saying that this would work for all types of markets. I am only trying to show you that there are options. There is no reason to stay paralyzed at the thought of communicating with people from different cultures who speak different languages.
Social media is about connecting with people. If you try to connect with a group of people you will eventually learn how to get into the inner circle.
What about you?
- Is there anything stopping your from creating a blog to reach your international markets?
- What would you be willing to do to connect with your international markets?
- Is an international blog an option for your business?
Please share your comments below.
More on How To Create An International Business Blog:
- 3 Different Communication Challenges Of An International Blog
- My International Blog Promotion Secret
- Business Blogs For Sales Conversion
- Business Blogs To Get International Clients
- Business Blogs To Open Foreign Markets
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: business blog
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