Practical tips for boosting your global content ROI

September 28, 2018

There’s no way around it: going global is expensive. And in today’s intensely competitive international business climate, market leaders are under more pressure than ever to minimize costs and boost returns from core processes. Localization is no exception, so in this week’s blog we’ll explore some practical tips – for both content authors and Chief Global Content Officers – that can help you improve your company’s global content ROI.

Measuring ROI

The first step to boosting ROI is measuring it. Without accurate metrics, it’ll be impossible to tell whether new initiatives are actually working, and it will be much more difficult to build a business case for your global content strategy.

If you don’t already have a procedure in place for measuring your content ROI, don’t panic. CSA Research has created a nine-step guide to implementing a model for localization ROI1:

  1. Collect Revenue data by product and country. For each target market, aim to gather revenue data from at least a two-year period.
  2. Determine the cost of localization. Calculate costs for translating into each of your target languages over a two-year period. Include costs for localization services as well as internal salaries and resource allocation.
  3. Analyze the cost of not localizing. Estimate the cost of leaving your content untranslated. This will include reduced reach; missed sales from customers unable to understand your content; brand damage; and higher support costs.
  4. Annualize your spend. Determine the cost of market entry and the yearly cost for enhancing or supporting your products in each locale.
  5. Do the math. Compare annual costs with your estimated annual revenue for each product in each market.
  6. Test your assumptions against real data. Compare your predictions against existing data, considering your budget, competition, and the size of the economy.
  7. Align your analysis with company goals. To establish global content priorities, determine how localization can help your company meet its wider business goals.
  8. Choose your market or target audience. Focus resources on the most valuable markets that your company is targeting.
  9. Keep measuring the things that matter. Choose three to five key measures and monitor them consistently to keep track of ROI.

Approach ROI from both angles with translation-friendly content

Boosting ROI can be achieved in two ways: by reducing costs, and by increasing revenue. Content authors are in a position to do both at once, simply by taking international factors into consideration when writing.

Authoring source content with localization in mind from the outset can drastically reduce the costs of translation, while also improving the clarity and effectiveness of the material. If your writers follow these tips, you should see a marked improvement in content ROI:

  • Follow terminology and style guidelines – To ensure a cohesive and high-quality user journey, word choice and messaging should be consistent across your content landscape.
  • Keep it simple – Your content should leave no room for misunderstanding, so it’s best to avoid ambiguities or vernacular expressions that could cause confusion for translators and non-English readers.
  • Maximize content reuse – Wherever possible, aim to reuse the same words and phrases. With Translation Memory systems, precisely repeated content only needs to be translated once, which can significantly reduce translation volumes and costs.
  • Consider compliance requirements – Establish whether there are any market-specific regulations or cultural conventions that the localized content will need to observe.

Applying these steps at the beginning of the content creation process is integral to minimizing expenditure. If the content needs to be edited before it can be translated, costs can easily spiral out of control – especially with video, audio, or visual assets that might need to be recreated altogether. By identifying in advance the areas of content that will need to be translated, and authoring it accordingly, the process will end up being far smoother and free from expensive delays.

For example, at Rubric we recently worked with a client who had been using content written by a number of different authors who did not have access to terminology or style guides. This led to inconsistent tone across deliverables, and certain content ended up being repeated (with minor differences) across each author’s work. We calculated that by removing redundancy in the text, the company could cut costs by 30%.

For a closer look at how to author translation-friendly content, check out our dedicated blog post.

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