When developing a global web presence, most companies have ‘tiered’ their markets – and their respective country sites — according to current revenues and growth potential. Example: your marketing manager might say ‘Poland is stable, it’s not a huge market for us, it’s not growing, stats are low, so it’s tier 3 and we’ll only localize small amounts of content’.
There are companies who rely exclusively on their subject matter experts (SMEs) to deliver content that their audiences will want to read and share. These SMEs often jealously guard this territory, telling you: ‘I know my market, I know my customers, it’s all in my head—I just need to sit down and write it’.
I was in a meeting the other day, and someone from IT asked me a question that caught me off-guard. “Does having content that is consistent from one country site to another really matter?” he asked. “After all, there’s little chance that a user in the Netherlands is going to visit out sites in Turkey or the UK. Our markets are every different. So why does consistency matter?”
There is something in the content strategy and web community known as the “11th hour sh*tstorm”. You know: that moment two weeks before the go-live date of a major website redesign when people are scrambling around like crazed chickens because they have everything ready – except the content.
Note: I wrote this post in 2011, after the first edition of the Confab content strategy conference in Minneapolis. It still rings true today, so I'm republishing it here, along with the comments it generated.
Earlier this month, I had the great fortune of being able to attend Confab, the first conference dedicated to content strategy in the U.S. There were lots of interesting presentations on a wide variety of subjects, yet there were two themes that emerged in the thousands of tweets (5000 just on the first day – make sense of that, if you will!), late night discussions, session notes and blog posts that followed.