Any successful content program requires transparency and visibility. But one that connects teams around the world needs to max out those traits.
Teams across the globe need an easy way to see which content is available and which initiatives are under development in different markets. A central repository for content enables marketers to direct their resources more efficiently, whether that’s sharing the editorial expertise of a central team staffed with journalists, ensuring that articles meet certain requirements, or elevating local ideas that merit a wider audience.
The structures and rhythms for sharing information vary according to the size and nature of an international team. Weekly emails, regular conference calls, and content management systems all have a potential role to play.
Genpact, a global business operations company, uses Contently’s content marketing management system to run all of its publishing efforts through a centralised workflow, which helps maintain consistent messaging regardless of the market.
“Even though we’re a large company, the different operations, different regions, and different lines of business all use the same guidelines,” Amrita Thapar, Genpact’s content leader for marketing, said. “Otherwise, you won’t recognise a piece of collateral from Genpact Australia as being from the same company as Genpact North America. We are so diverse, one of the things we constantly need to do is actually make sure that everybody conveys the same message.”
The changing flow of content management
In the early stages of a content programme, the information often flows outward. Central teams spread the word about upcoming content and encourage local teams to adapt and amplify it. As the programmes develop, the emphasis shifts to providing publishing guidance, or using centralised editorial teams to create content that meets market requirements. In mature content programmes, the flow of content ideas is often two-way, with content developed in local markets being elevated onto global hubs and shared more widely.
When Coca-Cola Journey first started expanding to local sites, local markets repurposed content created by editor-in-chief Jay Moye’s in-house team and Contently freelancers for the U.S. site. But as Journey’s international sites have developed, more and more content is created locally.
Leveraging in-market expertise
As Anne-Marie McConnon, BNY Mellon’s head of marketing, explains, the most important element in delivering locally relevant content is market-based teams with an ear to the ground:
“We have a matrix structure, a central content team of editors and journalists who know how to capture an audience’s imagination and who work very closely with our regional content hubs. We have marketers on the ground who are able to adapt content to meet local clients’ needs and work with local compliance teams to ensure that we’re always adapting to regional legal requirements as well. A lot of the content ideas that we develop come from the local markets themselves.”
Taking the lead centrally
When local teams are not yet in place, a central content team might need to take the lead.
“We have a global content team based in London and commission content from there,” said Madeleine Little, JLL’s director of global communications and content. “We liaise with our regions and aim to encourage ideas from teams within different countries, but when you’re building a global content programme from scratch, that doesn’t necessarily happen overnight.”
Often, a central team is able to invest in content and formats that are difficult to create on a local level—a video documentary series about startups, for example.
“Sometimes, the risk and investment related to experimenting with a new type or format of content needs to be borne centrally,” Nikhil Kalanjee, digital marketing and social media lead at HP, told Contently.. “We have an open dialogue with the countries, always asking for feedback on whether new types of content will fit their market, and there is always the option to say no.”
As you determine how to structure your global newsroom, consider these seven checkpoints:
- Decide where the drive for creating content naturally comes from. Do local markets have the appetite and resources, or does a global content team need to provide momentum?
- Match editorial resources to your localisation strategy. Do your markets need editorial expertise on the ground, or could it be embedded in a central team?
- Clarify where decision-making happens. Either empower local marketing teams to sign off on content within an agreed editorial framework, or build a framework to incorporate their feedback into a central approval process.
- Make sure compliance teams are in the loop, and build in time to adapt global content to local legal requirements.
- Establish clear lines of communication with your markets, whether that’s through technology (a central content management system), weekly emails, or regular conference calls.
- Share a central content calendar with local teams to ensure the assets you’re investing in are suitable for different audiences.
- Make sure you have visibility of local content initiatives that could be elevated to a global level and shared more widely.
This is an excerpt from “The Global Marketer’s Guide to Localisation and Translation.” To download the full e-book for free, please fill out the form below.