99% of the briefs an advertising agency receives contain the same wishes: first, the customer wants something groundbreaking, a fresh new take on what their company is doing. The campaign should be fun, innovative and something the final user engages with on social media. The campaign should be cheap, and, finally, viral.
As a customer, you should delete the word “viral” from your plans and briefs. There isn’t any button you can push to make the content go viral. You cannot control viral. What you can control, is global. The question you should be asking is how can you spread your content as far as possible?
8 ways to make your content go global
1. Channel emotions
Emotions are universal. Something that inspires or surprises in Finland, most likely does the same in Sweden or someplace else in the world as well. An easy way to see, if your content is emotionally charged, is to check Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. If your content doesn’t raise any of these emotions, you probably shouldn’t publish it.
Even if you work in a B2B-company, there is nothing to your content, if there is nothing for the user. Especially in taking your content abroad, the users emotions need to be raised, so they will want to see your content and talk about it.
If your content doesn’t raise any emotions, you probably shouldn’t publish it.
2. Use English language where you can
The best way to channel emotions universally, is to use a language that everyone understands. Start the globalization of your content by using English instead of your native language.
Another way to make your content universal, is to use only audio and visual in your campaign: visual content is easily shareable abroad.
A video with only music and images, maybe including a minimal message in English, is understood anywhere. If you want to make your Finnish content work also in Spain, begin by thinking about making your content with only images and sound.
English is understood anywhere.
This makes Instagram the perfect place to start. Instagram is a visual channel, where the users are mostly looking at the pictures and videos: you can save time and resources by not many different Instagram accounts in many different countries.
3. Localize the content
Once you go global, you will still need to localize the content. Not only translation, but cultural adaptation.
A while back Spotify published a picture of the musician Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, to complement him on his birthday. The picture was sent to all of Spotify’s local markets, to be used if they wanted to. An Italian content specialist used the picture with birthday wishes and a quote in Italian: “Ma che bello, che bellissimo!”. This citation would work only in Italy.
Your cultural adapters don’t necessarily need to be in the specific country, but they need to breathe the country.
Earlier there had been a Youtube-video hit, where a thousand people had played a Foo Fighters song, asking the band to come to play in their small city in Italy. Dave Grohl had answered this with his own video, saying in Italian: “Ma che bello, che bellissimo!” This sentence has since become part of the slang and of the Italian culture.
Only someone, who really knows the culture of the target country, knows the latest trends and hits among the users, and is able to use them in localized content.
Your cultural adapters don’t necessarily need to be in the specific country, but they need to breathe the country. Once you think the market is ripe and you have the resources, then you need someone who understands the market.
4. Post several times about it
This is something that is easy, but especially here in Finland, is not being done enough. You have your content, your blog and your social media channels. If you want your content to spread, you don’t publish it just at one time: you publish it many different times.
When you publish something at 7 AM in Finland, it is still 6 AM in Sweden, 5 AM in England – and no-one will see your post there. You need to publish your content many times for it to be seen everywhere.
This is what all the best are doing, and what we are doing at Dingle with our podcast Dinglecast. We post the podcast seven to ten times between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to make it spread, to make reach an higher amount of users spread through different time zones.
If you want your content to spread, you don’t publish it just at one time: you publish it many different times.
Publishing the content several times is a good strategy even locally. Write a bunch of different posts and rotate them at different dates and times, in different channels, to make sure everyone sees your content. You don’t always have to come up with something new – you can also use the same posts again.
5. Advertise abroad
When you’re launching your brand in another country, you might think about opening a page in the local language, and putting your resources there. The problem with this is that it is very expensive, and you don’t necessarily even need that kind of resources right away.
You could start with an English Instagram, like said before. Also, you could try to penetrate the market with advertisement in English, pushing your content into the new country first with a small budget, and see how people react to it.
Some people will always react, even if English isn’t a strong language in the target country, especially in a very visual channel such as Instagram.
Some people will always react, even if English isn’t a strong language in the target country.
6. Know who is responsible
At Dingle we have developed a process for global content marketing, which contains five different roles. You need someone to take responsibility for each of these roles.
The one who creates the content calendar for the next month (in English, ready by the 12th of the month – the earlier the better)
Global Brand Manager, who approves the content (by the 15th of the month)
The ones who adapts the content culturally in different countries (by 25th of the month)
The one who approves the content for the specific country (by 28th of the month)
A Community Manager in each country, who schedules everything and engages with the users (by 1st of the next month)
7. Have a (Diamond) process
Take care of the aforementioned tasks according to the schedule, and remember to report, analyze and optimize all the content in the end. At Dingle we have proved this process effective, and we call it The Diamond Process.
Each and every step is essential. It doesn’t matter if more people are in charge of several steps, these needs to happen in order to have a successful process and know who is responsible on each level.
Remember to report, analyze and optimize all the content in the end.
8. Take risks
The only way to raise emotions in your content is to take some risks. Does your content raise emotions?
If it does, you have take a small risk in one direction. That’s the only way. Sometimes your content will be good, sometimes not, but none of that “viral” content was created to play safe. You cannot know whether your content would go viral or not, but if you want your content to spread, step over the line and take a risk, it will certainly raise more emotions globally.
Sometimes your content will be good, sometimes not, but none of that “viral” content was created to play safe.
The content of this article was originally presented at the Some Awards Seminar Globalization via Digitalization at February 1st 2016 in Helsinki. The Social Media event was organized by Aller Finland. See the webinar (in Finnish) and Simone Bocedi’s presentation (in English) here.