Creating Content for Global Audience – Amy Vernon

Have plans to create content for the international audience?

There are quite a few things to consider when starting out.

Amy Vernon, Helen Nesterenko

I catched Amy Vernon to discuss how content creation for the global audience differs from creating content for people living in the US.

Here is our interview. You'll definitely find some insightful tips on writing for your global customers.

Helen: I'm joined today by Amy Vernon – a journalist with more than 20 years of experience, social media marketer, speaker and consultant. Amy, how are you doing today?

Amy: It’s going great, thank you!

Helen: Glad to hear that. So, we’re going to be talking today about creating content for the international audience. Amy, how is content creation different for the international audience as compared to creating content just for people who live in the United States?

Amy: One of the things we talked about in our panel on this yesterday is that you need to be very careful in terms of how you write and your phrasing because you have to be aware that there a lot of turns of phrase, a lot of idiomatic expressions that mean something in English, and you can translate them into another language. But if you don’t translate them with the intent behind it, you’re just translating words, and they don’t mean anything. Even if you try to translate them with the intent, it may be an expression that means something in English but it’s not a phrase that’s used in another language.

So, a really important thing is to be cognizant of how you’re phrasing things, and not be too conversational or idiomatic. In addition, there has to be certain universality: you don’t want to just write about things that are happening in your town, for example, because why would somebody from another side of the world care unless they were visiting. Maybe if you’re from New York that’s a little different because a lot of people come to New York. But you want to have a certain universality in what you’re writing about, things that are of interest to people in other places of the world.

Helen: Are there certain topics to write about when creating content for the international audience?

Amy: Yes, and a lot of that comes back to language. Chris Heuer who founded this Social Media Club, was talking about how just knowing a little bit of the language in the various countries that he travelled to (when he first started the club) really helped a lot because even though he couldn’t speak a language fluently, he was able to show that he was trying.

And, you know, that’s like when anybody comes to America and they try to speak English, there’s much more of an open feeling to them. And I’ve found when I travelled to Italy or other countries if I at least try to communicate in their language, the openness is much greater because it shows you’re making an effort.

We joke that one of the keys is really to not be so American which is I guess is a sort of a stereotype – the American who just goes, and he’s all loud, and he wonders why everybody doesn’t speak English.

It’s really to show an appreciation and to try to communicate with people in their own language and on their own terms because it shows a respect for them because you’re asking them to be part of your community. And if you’re not giving them something back – at the very least just a respect – why are they going to be a part of your community?

Helen: What things are critical when building international community?

Amy: Well, there are several things. One is also being aware of the different time zones and where your audience is, and being available at those times as well. If you want to build an international audience but if you’re only online during 9 to 5 Eastern Standard Time in the US, that leaves out a lot of people and a lot of the world.

Of course, that depends on where internationally you’re looking to build your community. But it’s needed to recognize that there’s a 24-hour clock, and you can’t be up 24 hours a day but you need to have some sort of interactions there, and some sort of availability around the clock, and awareness that your audience is not necessarily always online when you’re online and trying to bridge that gap.

And again, like we were talking about, really critical is just communication and being aware of what they are interested in, and making sure that you’re giving them some of that.

Helen: Amy, you work with a company called Internet Media Labs. Can you tell us more about it?

Amy: Sure, Internet Media Labs is a start-up in New York, and we’re building platforms to help people find relevant people and conversations from their social streams: finding the people who are actually interested in the things that you’re talking about, who are among your followers or among the friends of your followers, and in conversations or the hash tag conversations about the topics that you’re interested in, finding those conversations, so you can participate in them. Obviously if there are conversations about your area of interest or your business, you want to be involved and participate in those conversations.

We are also building platforms to help visualize your social stream. One of our products  is just an opened beta called SeeSaw: it visualizes a hash tag stream or any tweets that are from your URL.  We are going to be adding other platforms into there like Google+ and LinkedIn eventually. And we’ve just went on private beta on OneQube which is the primary platform and which is I initially explained.

We’re also a co-working space in a sense. We have two floors in our office in Chelsea, and there’re a lot of other companies, start-ups, in that space. Venture Beat has their New York office on our floor. Citelighter, Spreecast - Maker Studios, though with their $40 million round that they just had, they are going to be moving into a larger
space soon. That’s very exciting for them because they’ve been in our space for months now, and it’s very exciting to see them just explode and move out.

We have some other companies that are moving in there. It’s a very dynamic work environment as well, and we have surrounded ourselves with really cool companies doing really cool things.

Helen: Amy, I know you’re passionate about bacon. What is that in bacon that drives you?

Amy: It’s funny. I became known as the Bacon Queen because I used to be very involved in the site called Digg.com, and one day I submitted a photo of bacon to Digg. I’ve had the front page, and the comments just kept me laughing for days.

People were both exclaiming the wonderment of bacon and also wondering why there’s a photo of bacon on the front page of Digg. For me it’s a fun thing. I do love bacon and it tastes really good. I’m not quite as obsessed with it as a lot of people think that I am. It’s one of those fun things that took on the life of its own, and if you can’t beat them, join them.

I just embraced it, and I have a website that basically aggregates news about bacon, and more or less it’s like a judge report but only for bacon and pork news. That’s the bacon!

Helen: Thank you, Amy, for sharing your thoughts with us today.

Is there something esle to consider when crafting content for your readers worldwide? Do you have expertise in that? Share it with us!