The Content Lifecycle
A quick internet search of the phrase “content lifecycle” will demonstrate two things:
- Having a good content lifecycle management strategy is important; and
- There are dozens of different opinions as to what, exactly, constitutes the “content lifecycle.”
Generally speaking, most experts include the following phases:
- Discovering, strategizing and/or planning quality content.
- Drafting content and related design elements.
- Publishing and promoting content across various platforms.
- Recycling or reusing content.
- Analyzing content performance.
Throughout the above process, there is a single element that is vital to success but is often overlooked: localization.
Localizing your Content Lifecycle
At its core, “localization” means adapting a message and the delivery of that message to fit the target audience’s language and culture. But considering localization shouldn’t start after your content is written. Rather, localization is important at each step of the content lifecycle.
Discovering, strategizing and/or planning quality content
When first contemplating content, the team will do some research, brainstorm together, and make some decisions about the content: target audience, message, writing style, tone, images, etc.
It’s at this point that considering “localizability” of the content has tremendous value. Where the target audience spans different languages and cultures, their communication styles and preferences will be different. Their pop culture references will be different. The way in which they seek out information will be different. For example, a campaign to raise awareness about the value of aerobic exercise in preventing disease might best be delivered via Social Media for U.S. audiences, but through a billboard campaign in India. The team needs to know this up front – before moving on to creating the content and its design elements – to avoid wasting time and resources on content that just won’t fit for certain audiences.
Drafting content and related design elements
When localization was part of the planning process, the drafting step becomes a little easier. The team might choose to write the content for a global audience – avoiding references and concepts that don’t play well across cultures. Or the team might choose to transcreate the content to get the same message across using culturally-relevant language and concepts for each target audience.
Publishing and promoting content across various platforms
You deliver your content across many platforms: social media, email, direct mail, brochures, pamphlets, television, radio, and maybe even on the side of a bus. The preferred method for receiving content can vary widely between cultures. Even within the same type of platform, different cultures make different choices. For example, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are incredibly popular in the U.S. Folks in China prefer QQ/Q Zone and YY. Russians connect through VK. Social networkers in the Mediterranean and South America often turn to Badoo. Localization, therefore, plays a key role in publishing and promoting your content.
Recycling or reusing content
Recycling or reusing existing content is a great way to capitalize on existing assets. Just about any content can be localized with the right team of localization and translation experts on your side. For example, your localization and translation team can localize your successful, European marketing campaign to introduce your customizable eLearning system to audiences in Asia. They can even localize your step-by-step video tutorial teaching learners how to use the system with subtitles in various languages.
Analyzing content performance
Analyzing the performance of your content is an important final step that leads directly back to the planning and strategy step. Whether the goal was to increase sales, provide education, or increase awareness, the team can look at various metrics and analytics to determine success.
But looking at performance across all audiences won’t be nearly as helpful as analyzing performance by audience. Consider, for example, an interactive, eLearning program to teach medical staff about personal protective equipment during flu season. If the post-learning quiz results were outstanding for the English version, but particularly low for the Spanish version, the team can dig deeper to find out why the course didn’t resonate with Spanish-speaking audiences and apply that learning to improve future courses.
Vocalink Global understands the importance of including localization in your content lifecycle strategy. Our solutions are designed to empower you to engage your audience in their native voice. Want to learn more? Connect with us today!
 See Going International: 10 Social Platforms Crushing It Outside the U.S., Peter Daisyme, February 2017, https://www.business.com/articles/10-social-platforms-crushing-it-outside-the-us/.