If you joined our Webinar on how to go global with your video content by localizing it, you should be armed with all the information you need to go ahead and get started. If your note-taking wasn’t up to scratch or you didn’t manage to tune in, it’s your lucky day because we’ve got all the key takeaways right here for you. Or you can watch the webinar on demand here.
The one thing every content creator is after
The single most important goal for all content creators – regardless of their size, content or category – is growth. Why? Because it unlocks various exciting opportunities, provides additional revenue streams and allows the brand to stay front and centre in the minds of its audience.
The majority of content creators – individuals, brands, media companies - tend to follow a similar trajectory as they grow successfully. First, they identify their audience – borne either of a passion for a niche topic or extensive research and brand fit – and then do anything and everything to grow it: posting regularly, engaging with the viewers, learning what works and honing their craft accordingly. Next they further optimise their channel: tweaking thumbnails, improving the look of the channel page, tweaking metadata to squeeze even more growth out of the algorithm. Then, as they sense the doom of slower growth approaching, they diversify their offering: branching out into endeavours like merchandise, live events (pre-Covid) or exploring other social platforms. All in a bid to reach more people. Though this is in no way as easy as we make it sound, this is a tried-and-tested recipe for success.
Your audience will plateau, one day or another
Unfortunately, in the life of any successful content creator there always comes a point when they’ve captured the majority of their audience by following the growth trajectory outlined above. At this point, growing within the target audience gets progressively harder and more resource intensive. For example, if we’re talking about YouTube, the most obvious way to reach more people is to get a boost from the algorithm, which tends to reward those who keep viewers on the platform for longer. Achieving that is much harder now in 2021 than it has been in the halcyon days when you could get away with posting a couple of 5 minute videos per week. Nowadays the algorithm demands an output of at least three 10-12 minute videos a week, which naturally takes exponentially more time, effort, thought, and money. Throw market saturation into the mix and you find yourself in a very unfavourable situation where to keep capturing more of your target audience you’re forced to exert a disproportionately high amount of effort. But don’t worry, we know a way out of this highly exhaustive goose chase.
So – go global with your existing content to maximise its value
Plateauing is an inevitability, but it’s definitely not the end of your content creating career. At this point, there are two viable options: continue investing a huge amount of resources into capturing more of your target audience or invest a fraction of that into a much more lucrative venture. A venture that unlocks brand new audiences using the content you’ve already created on the same distribution platform you’re already familiar with. For us this is a no-brainer. While diversifying your content and distribution is no doubt important, going global with your content via localization is infinitely easier, and less resource heavy than, say, growing a presence on TikTok overnight. And the best part – there’s no reason to wait until audience growth is plateauing. In fact, whatever method they use, the most successful content creators take action before they notice signs of viewership decline.
Benefits and pitfalls of different localization methods
Sub-titles are quick and easy to produce and they’re affordable. They also don’t alter the content at all; you present your existing videos to a new audience in all of their original glory. Take Carwow, a channel all about cars, as an example. They subtitle their videos into 9 different languages and even though their translated channels are under two years old, they have cumulatively earned the company an additional 120 million lifetime views. Testament to how much potential growth lies within international audiences!
Reversioning is a way of dubbing that relies on adjusting the original script to include all of the linguistic and cultural nuances of the new language. This is normally done through a conventional translation studio with professional translators and dubbing artists, but it can also be done in the back of your garage with a friend who happens to speak the language you need and is willing to help you out. It really depends on your budget. The advantage of reversioning is that you’re not only reaching new audiences in their language, but you’re also demonstrating that you’ve done your research, understand the viewers’ cultural background and have adjusted the content accordingly. Ryan’s World, a popular children’s channel, utilises this dubbing tactic on its Spanish and Japanese channels, which have amassed 277 million extra lifetime views through almost exactly the same content they’ve already produced for their English channel.
Creating native content - an entire reproduction or re-creation of the original content for a new audience in their language will give brilliant results, but it is expensive. Crash Course, the YouTube educational empire, does this well. They’ve hired a completely different host and production studio to release an Arabic version of their global history series. And it’s been an extremely effective way to reach their Arabic audience.
So what’s better? Subtitles, dubbing or recreation?
It depends. Dubbing clearly has a lot of advantages over subtitles. Most viewers nowadays have short attention spans and often consume content through multiple devices simultaneously, which makes following subtitles less than ideal. Mobile is also the device people use most often to consume content and while subtitles are fine on mobile, they do not offer the best viewing experience due to the size of the screen. With that said, subtitles are quick, easy and cheap to produce and they maintain the overall experience of the original content. Subtitling and dubbing are ways of repurposing existing content and the beauty of them is that they allow you to test and learn to understand what new audiences respond best to, then scale based on that research. And with cutting edge technology available, it’s now possible to produce high quality dubbing/voice-over without having to spend loads of cash, or time on it. Sounds like a win win.
So why don’t people do this more?
The bottom line is that trying out something new is scary – creating content in a language you don’t understand and sending it out into a market whose cultural nuances you don’t have a good grip on is terrifying. Will your content as it currently exists resonate well in a new market? Will you do or say something in your videos that will elicit a negative response? The best way to avoid stress when localizing is to set up controlled experiments and take things one step at a time. You even have new and innovative technologies on your side in this case, which help you try reaching global audiences without going bust and investing too many resources into it from the get go. Using new technology also ensures that you’ll maintain the quality of your existing content, which is crucial when you’re trying to maintain your brand image across all of your channels.
Before reaching the point at which your audience and engagement plateaus, redirect some of your resources - budget, time, effort, etc. – into reaching new global audiences. You’ll grow quicker and see a better return on your investment.