As BLEND’s Director of Enterprise Marketing, Matt brings 14 years in the audio and video production industries to help businesses execute successful voice and video localization campaigns.
The power of the influencer is undeniable. More brands than ever are turning to influencers to ignite their marketing efforts and target new consumers. Unsurprisingly, influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly lucrative career path, with companies looking beyond the usual high-profile celebrities when choosing an influencer to partner with.
For businesses geared up for global expansion, it’s the local influencer that is most appealing. Offering an authentic viewpoint and unmatched credibility, local influencers make it easy to build trust in untapped markets. However, you don’t necessarily need to speak the language to become a popular influencer in new territory. Becoming a global influencer is more and more attainable today as influencers leverage dubbing, multilingual subtitling, and global marketing strategies to reach audiences abroad. Armed with a robust video content localization strategy, even micro-influencers can extend their reach and engage new markets.
Video content localization involves taking a video and adapting it for a new audience. In most cases, this new target market is typically based in another country. While language translation is part of the process, there’s a lot more to consider if you want video content localization to be a success.
One of the most obvious aspects of video content localization is dubbing and subtitling. With dubbing, the original audio track is replaced with a voiceover using native speakers and translated dialogue. Subtitling is a more cost-effective option, with text-based translations displayed alongside the original audio.
Transcription is another key element of video content localization. It usually takes place before subtitling begins and is also used as a reference point for the creation of closed captions. Transcription is a fairly simple, if time-intensive process, where the audio content of a video is turned into written text.
When dubbing or subtitles won’t do, there’s always the option of recording a new voice track. However, voiceovers rarely produce natural results and can often distract from a video itself. Lip-synching is a more authentic alternative. Once again, new audio is recorded in the target language. However, this audio is more synchronous with lip movements, making it appear as though the on-screen speakers are saying it.
It’s not just dialogue that needs to be translated for new audiences. Anything that appears on screen in written form will usually need to be localized. In a television show or movie, this can include any signage. Any email, letter, or cellphone message will also need to be translated. In e-learning materials, things like infographics will also need to be translated. While not always necessary, things like currencies and region-specific date formats may also be translated. This is usually done for familiarity, making video content more accessible to target audiences.
Sometimes, the content itself will need to be adapted to accommodate cultural differences. A particular joke might have landed well when told in one language, but it might go over the heads of viewers in another country. Video translations often make minor tweaks to colloquialisms to ensure the spirit of the content remains the same, but contains references more relevant to new audiences.
There’s an argument to be made that translation alone should be enough when retooling video content for a new audience. In the case of a movie or work of fiction, adapting the content too heavily can change the intended message of the creator. Except in these scenarios, content translation is rarely sufficient to ensure a piece of video content is successful in new territories.
Translation is certainly an important step in the localization process. However, you need to go further if you want a localized marketing strategy to establish you as an influencer with new audiences. The language barrier is easy enough to overcome by investing in translation. However, you’ll struggle to navigate cultural nuances and wildly different societal norms without utilizing localization.
With an army of social media followers at your back, it’s tempting as an influencer to think that global domination is within easy reach. While an established social media presence and high profile can make it easier for you to expand into new markets, localization is crucial if you rely heavily on video content.
Regardless of the kind of content that they’re putting out, influencers need to approach video production and localization with a business mindset. By adapting content carefully for new markets, they stand the best chance at extending their reach and tapping into a global audience.
For influencers, it’s essential that content hits the right note with everyone. In the cancel culture era, a single misstep in one corner of the world can have devastating ramifications elsewhere. Along with safeguarding influencers against career-ending faux pas, video localization helps in more mundane ways. When you render content more culturally appropriate, it’s far more reliable and enjoyable for a target audience.
For content creators, engagement rates matter. For influencers, they’re particularly important. When it comes to videos, content that’s been localized typically has far higher engagement rates than content that hasn’t. While it’s advised to pull out all the stops when localizing a video, any call to action should be prioritized to drive engagement levels.
For influencers who’ve excelled elsewhere in the world, meeting with a frigid reception in new markets can be disheartening. With localized video content, you can quickly gain a competitive advantage over other influencers and quickly endear yourself to new markets. The more investment you’ve made in honoring a new culture and adapting to a language, the more your content will resonate with audiences.
It’s easy to overlook legal requirements when putting out video content as an influencer. However, many regions have very particular rules when it comes to the online marketing of goods and services. For influencers, product and business promotion is a fundamental part of their remit. If you fail to localize promotional content correctly, you run the risk of falling foul of local jurisdictions.
Whether you’re testing the waters with new territories or want a headstart on those global marketing campaigns, it’s time to start thinking about retooling that video content. Need some pointers to help you on your way? Below are some handy tips for localizing your videos for new markets.
Every type of localization requires thorough planning and an extensive research phase. Even if a culture seems very similar to one you’ve already successfully engaged with, you’ll need to set aside time for a research phase.
Cultural norms vary heavily from country to country. You might not notice them immediately, but the differences are there and some of them are quite pronounced. Although it can be time-consuming, researching a new market isn’t particularly taxing. While it’s tempting to go it alone as an influencer, you’ll want to avoid that lone-wolf mentality with this step. To increase your odds of success, you’ll need to bring in local experts with a keen understanding of what makes native audiences tick.
While AI advancements are making translation tools more reliable than ever, we’re still a long way from total accuracy. You might be able to get away with automated solutions if you’re looking to test the waters on a few YouTube videos in the beginning. Provided the content isn’t a major part of a marketing campaign, machine-generated translations can be used to provide subtitles in a new language to begin with.
However, always go for the human touch if your budget will stretch. With professional linguists who speak the local language, you can count on far higher levels of accuracy than what you’d get from pure machine-generated translation. What’s more, nothing beats a human translator when it comes to capturing colloquialisms and the real intent behind your content. If a video is key to selling the virtues and core values of your brand, avoid relying on AI make sure you involve a human translator for editing and review.
Eager to unleash a full-scale marketing campaign in a new territory? A localization partner is essential to a global content strategy, allowing you to scale your content and marketing localization far more easily than having a go at things on your own. Take the time to weigh up your options when it comes to choosing the right localization partner.
Set aside a few sample projects for potential vendors to work on before making a final decision. Use the same samples across the board, making it easier to compare competitors. Without being fluent in the target language, you’ll need to call on the input of local speakers you can trust to assess how well a localization provider has performed.
Besides the localization quality itself, there are other things to take into account. Did a provider deliver the work promptly as promised? Did you encounter any communication issues or technical problems? You might have simply been at the wrong end of a rare hiccup, but if these incidents are common with a provider, it can really hurt your localization plans.
You can make life much easier for yourself in the long run by thinking about localization when creating your content in the first place. Think of it as a pre-optimization. You can keep it simple by investing in high production values that will make your video content more accessible for localization professionals. What’s more, try and steer clear of colloquialisms and anything too specific to a particular region or culture.
Many influencer marketing strategies hone in on local events. If you’re looking to make a solid landing in new territories, you’ll definitely want to engage with these as an influencer. However, simply attending an event isn’t enough. Attending a high-profile exhibition or cultural fair? Think about live streaming the event to enrich a social media marketing campaign.
If your videos aren’t shareable, you’ll struggle to snare followers. Fortunately, every major social media platform makes sharing content straightforward. However, just because you’re enabling sharing, doesn’t mean your followers are going to actually send a link to a friend or family member.
Keen to make your next video upload go viral? Some types of content are more shareable than others. Comedy clips tend to go down well and encourage plenty of shares, but this genre isn’t always an ideal fit. However, how-to and explainer videos are also popular and provide you with ample creative directions.
One of the simplest ways to boost your profile as an influencer is to team up with other influencers. If you’re struggling to find ways to ignite your marketing localization strategy, reaching out to local influencers is the way to go. Look to your feed to see what local personalities you can potentially partner with.
Staring at your current content slate and not sure which videos to localize? If localizing all of your video content isn’t feasible, you’ll need to whittle things down. Below are a few questions worth asking before you make your final decision.
Unfortunately, this answer won’t be readily available to you. Potentially interested markets aren’t necessarily going to let you know how much they’d love to see localized content from you. Instead, you’ll need to be proactive and undertake some research. Competitor analysis is a useful approach here. Find out where similar influencers are making waves, then probe these markets in more detail to find the most lucrative avenues you can explore.
Once you’ve singled out a new market to target, think about what existing video content you have that can be localized. Are local consumers going crazy for a particular product category? Look at your content archives and see if you have any relevant videos you can think about localizing. It makes much more sense to invest in localizing these first, rather than sink resources into more general localization efforts.
Video localization can be fairly exhaustive. However, it’s only one element of localization. The most prolific influencers aren’t really on videos alone. Consider what other types of content you’re regularly putting out that engages users. All of this will need to be localized if you want your marketing efforts to perform just as well as elsewhere as they do at home. Once you’ve nailed down the scope of things, you can start fine-tuning a more complete localization strategy.
Are you an influencer looking to raise your profile and broaden your reach? You don’t need to be a polyglot to become a popular presence elsewhere in the world. With a video localization strategy, you can optimize existing assets to improve your outreach and connect with new audiences. However, you’ll need the right localization partner to help you on your way.
At BLEND, we provide all the tools an influencer needs to localize video content and optimize it for increased engagement rates. No matter what platform you’re using, our transformative tools and industry-leading expertise will ensure you stay ahead of the pack. With professional voice-actors and linguists providing localization support in more than 120 languages, no market needs to feel like it’s off-limits.
Even social media superstars need support to gain a foothold in new markets. When high-profile vlogger Nusseir Yassin of Nas Daily got in touch with BLEND, he’d already amassed more than 60 million followers across his Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook channels. Already familiar with the localization process, Nas was keen to capitalize on the untapped potential of Russian-speaking markets.
Choosing to localize his existing content with BLEND’s dubbing and subtitling services, the Nas Daily Russian YouTube channel quickly became a success. Today, it boasts more than 2.2 million subscribers, with its most popular videos having raked in more than 6.5 million views.
Want to learn more about how BLEND can help you with video localization? Get in touch with the team today to discuss strategy.