content strategy for SMB

Searched and found online: follow the content

Part 2. Building a purposeful strategy: tips and checklists

This is the second post on online marketing strategies for SMB. The first part covers tools for improving your search ranking.

You did your SEO homework but still not happy with traffic and conversions?

It’s time to look at the next four steps that help attract and nurture website visitors who found you online.

Compelling content is one of the best free online promotion tools at your disposal. Constant organic traffic is your quest. It means trust and authority among your ideal customers. But developing the right content takes time and effort.

Content serves you in many ways:

  • Improves your search rankings
  • Drives traffic to your website
  • Helps communicate with existing leads

In a nutshell, content is the message your marketing strategy delivers. Good content makes people read, share, and come back for more.

Specify why you create content and what you’re trying to achieve with it. Possible variants include:

Prospecting
Sales support
Marketing and PR
Community creation
Customer Support
Thought Leadership

Determine the goals and use them to build a purposeful content strategy. Give your content focus and clarity.

step 1. Plan: Know your audience

Before you create your content strategy, you need to understand exactly what constitutes high-quality content. An outline prepared by Google lists all necessary indicators.

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallow?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page one would bookmark, share, or recommend?

Google receives millions of search queries per minute. There are many people looking for answers. But capturing their attention can be difficult.

 

best content strategy for SMB

Source: Qmee

You are fighting for attention. Instead of attempting to guess what might be preferable for search engines, consider your audience and their genuine interests. This is the first stage of content planning and strategy.

Study your ideal customers and prospects. Explore the ways to reach them and try to find out what they prefer. Identify common buyers for your products and services, the problems they are trying to solve, the information they are searching for.

If your content is a bad fit for your audience, you’ll attract wrong visitors.

step 2. Create: Prepare to convert visitors into leads

To promote your products and services, you should understand the value of your business for your potential customers. Your unique offer is your sweet spot.

Record your editorial plans for the next three months. Add dates and tasks: publish new posts, update social networks, etc. Keep your marketing goals in mind and note SEO best practices.

1. Consider best storytelling practices

Simon Sinek says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

Business storytelling is about creating a link between your business and your prospects and customers.
 
Why are you doing what you’re doing? How are you doing it to get a unique proposition? And only then comes WHAT you are offering. The answers will help you to set the tone for all your content and tell your story in a way that appeals to your audience.
 
I liked the way the Content Marketing course by Hubspot explained storytelling practices. To illustrate three essential story elements — characters, conflict, and resolution — they use a rhyme about a little teapot.

I’m a little teapot short and stout here is my handle, here is my spout. (the character)
When I get all steamed up I just shout. (conflict)
Tip me over and pour me out. (resolution)

Best content practices

Source: HubSpot

The storytelling framework applied to a business:

TOMS is a slip on shoe company that focuses on spreading social good; with every product you purchase, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. They’ve made this a part of their brand identity, by creating a slogan that reinforces who they are and what they’re about, “The One for One Company”.

The company sold over 60 million pairs of shoes.

Use content to create emotional appeal, be consistent, and keep the story clear and concise.

2. Define preferred content types

Content is able to increase visibility.

To optimize content for discovery and conversion, identify types of content and channels you’ll use.

Curation: Listing useful tools or stats adding value and creating useful, ever-green resource
Lists: Not everyone likes them, but lists do work very well. Easy to scan, they also appeal to curiosity
Niche: Detailed posts tend to deliver the right kind of traffic over time
How-to guides: Popular as they provide practical tips for users

Different content types help progress web visitors through every stage of customer relations. Choose content type depending on the stage of the buying cycle.

AWARENESS STAGE: a problem or opportunity is still unidentified

Analyst reports, e-books, blog posts, expert content, whitepapers, educational content

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION STAGE: a problem identified; looking for various solutions

Guidelines, live interactions (webinars), podcasts, videos, comparisons

DECISION AND PURCHASE STAGE: finally, more direct action

Vendor comparison; product comparison; case studies; trial offers; product literature; live demos

The best content is not products-based but solutions-based. It’s all about the customer, not about your business or products. By publishing such content you get:

  • Enhanced potential for onsite activity
  • Better positions in organic search
  • Social signals resulting in links to your content
Types of content by Hubspot

Source: HubSpot

3. Write with a purpose in mind

Figuring out a topic is one of the most important (and hardest) parts of content creation. See which terms attract visitors to your website. You will identify the evergreen content that is already working and get ideas for new content.

Other ways to identify valid topics are:

  • Keyword research
  • Internet forums
  • Popular industry news
  • Potential customer’s goals and challenges.

Topical content related to industry developments helps your savvy audiences make a better marketing or purchasing decision. It’s great for immediate success. Evergreen posts like “how-to” guides enjoy better ranking in search engines for longer periods.

Social media can drive traffic to your blog while specific blog posts could drive traffic to landing pages. All content can drive an action, such as enrollment to get the extra information. Content can drive sales with each piece of content creating interest in one of your products.

If you are not sure what topics to choose, try online tools like Buzzsumo to discover popular and well-liked content and Feedly to track trendy topics and content ideas.

Buzzsumo content ideas
4. Structure content appropriately

Writing for the web differs from academic writing. Your most important points always come first. Before your readers invest their time into your piece of content, they’ll want to know why it’s worth it.

Asking people to think doesn’t work here because web visitors don’t have time to think. Keep your web copy as readable as possible.

The readability of the text depends on how you arrange it. Web surfers don’t read texts but scan them in an F-shaped pattern looking for something to catch their attention. Can you write for scanning web users? Your checklist:

  • Communicate the purpose of your content in the headline
  • Add lists to reduce wordiness and clutter
  • Use short paragraphs (6-8 lines max)
  • Stick to short sentences (12 words on average)
  • Skip unnecessary words (try Hemingway App to get an idea)
  • Beware of jargon and use plain English
  • Avoid the passive tense
  • Resist needless repetition
  • Address your web visitors using the word ‘you’
  • Shorten the text

Is your content neat and conversational? Beware of errors, poor formatting, and weird text.

Best practices: text in sections with descriptive subheadings; visuals for better comprehension; being straight to the point; generous spacing and larger fonts to increase readability.

 

Web content best practices

Source: www2.warwick.ac.uk

5. Repurpose your content
Good content requires time and effort. You can recycle some of the materials to reach new audiences and reappear in search engine results. Remember the rule of seven: A prospect needs to see you message at least seven times before they take action.
 
There are two basic ways to re-purpose content: republish it on other websites with credit to the original author or recycle it into a new form.
 
Republishing best practices according to HubSpot:

– Strive to choose reputable sites for a greater positive effect
– Republish only top performing content
– Wait at least two weeks before republishing
– Update the headline of each republished piece of content
– Add internal links to your post
– Include call-to-action within the post

When recycling your content, be ready to adjust, combine related or unrelated content, and expand to dig deeper into the topic.

You can turn whitepapers into blog posts. And you can recycle a series of blog posts into Instagram posts, videos, a guide and a checklist, a slide deck, an infographic, a webinar or even a podcast.

Think like a publisher.

step 4. Analyse: Assess key metrics and plan next steps

Always track your content and its performance.
 
1. You will know if your marketing efforts are driving sales
2. You will understand where to head next.
3. You will have progress insights for future cases.
 
Don’t waste time and money on channels that don’t drive towards one of your goals. Focus on the main areas to derive actionable insights from your data:

Website metrics. What are the best sources of traffic for your business? Make sure visits arriving from organic search are steadily growing over time.
Engagement: shares, likes, comments, retweets. These are your main feedback signals. What content is working best?
Inbound links. Are they adding to brand awareness? Referral traffic may be indicative of your audience’s awareness of you as a trusted partner.
Lead generation. What activities lead to someone becoming a lead? What is the ratio of leads to customers?

To increase visits to your website, select ten website pages that are driving leads and update their content to be more comprehensive and thorough. Compare the number of visits, the search ranks, and the time-on-page to see if content changes affected these. Use the data to update your goals for the next month, quarter, or year.

CORNERSTONES TO MAKE YOUR CONTENT WORK

Make a content plan and stick with it for six months. A plan backed up by consistent approach gives you the best chance to see positive results of your content efforts. You can use the document to keep track of your long-term marketing initiatives and test your decisions.

Know your audience. Broad content brings you more visitors, but they are less likely to become customers. Keep content educational, not promotional.

Web copy is scanned. Or glanced at. Not read. Your web visitors are hunting for information or products. Will they find it easily at your website? Less is more: they as busy as you are.

Monitor marketing trends and take them into account when creating a content plan. 8 key marketing trends in 2017 according to HubSpot:

  1. Higher importance of testimonials
  2. More focus on user groups
  3. Interactive newsletters
  4. Advocate marketing
  5. Online customer community interaction
  6. Customer satisfaction systems
  7. Cross-sell/upsell campaigns
  8. Referral programs

Your marketing is only as good as your results.

translated collateral

Translation and Your Marketing Strategy

Haunted castles of translated collateral

The efficiency of traditional marketing has dropped dramatically. A very low response rate (less than 1%) is considered reasonable for certain marketing channels.

Customers bombarded by advertising have mastered the art of ignoring the noise while companies paying for media placement have accepted ad blindness as unavoidable.

Market players assure that they keep searching for customised ways to spread a word about their offerings and to increase brand awareness. They try to use a wide range of strategies to become closer to their consumers and to engage them. A quarter-inch hole instead of a quarter-inch drill, you know.

A couple of years ago Dell announced massive translation budget cuts. Now, the person responsible for the translation of corporate marketing collateral tells about ‘a polished global message that meets business objectives’. (A highly recommended reading for translators who are still under a delusion that globalised companies are interested in high-quality content or translations.)

If you take a look at Dell’s marketing materials translated into Russian, you’ll see that:

принтеры помогают предприятиям максимизировать эффективность работы и производительность

Could we call it the right balance of quality, velocity, and cost? Hardly. New translations may cost twice as less. Lacking engagement from the target audience, they are worth nothing. You could consider them worth reading only if it’s your job to read them (it would better be a well-paid job, too).

Such translated collateral could possibly enjoy certain interest and engagement: from a marketing team preparing praising reports on doing everything at scale. Or from professional forums where translators discuss the ways things should not be done.

Companies keep complaining that translation service providers do not care about their image ignoring their demands and requirements. Are they actually doing anything to protect their own brands? Do they take translation processes seriously?

They do have a bunch of pressing issues to take care of, from investments into a concept, to content curation, to legal attendance, to content printing / publication.

But the crucial stage is the one that either makes it or breaks it. The latter means time, costs, and efforts were wasted up the line. Does it really matter how much the company has invested in content, design, or printing if the translated collateral resembles a haunted castle? We see an impressive outline void of life or sense.

Too many translation industry players (or LSPs) are unable to turn words into their client’s positive image focusing at optimization and automation. They make their living not on quality and creativity but on sheer volumes.

Part of the Power that would always wish Good…

It looks like business marketing is in serious trouble. Here is a viewpoint with meaningful figures: 80% of executives think their companies deliver a superior experience for customers, only 8% of those customers agree with them.

Many insist that the time has come to be fascinating and interesting, clear and relevant. But nothing changes in press releases and collateral. It’s much easier to continue the usual marketing talk about value-added and industry transforming products than to offer real-world facts and figures.

Technology and product reviews work much better when you are eager to make a difference with your audience and to offer them relevant information. But for the majority of marketers, plain language and simplicity are terra incognita.

Dropping translation for good is not an option. After studying the most visited websites for 8 years, CSA Research concluded that companies offering materials in different languages are in general more successful than the ones that do not care about localisation.

If the company ignores marketing translation, customers might think that it cannot afford the process. Meanwhile, a bad translation emphasises problems with the copy, which is usually far from being perfect. Translators do know a trick or two to avoid that, but sometimes even an experienced translator won’t save the day.

Let’s see how to get translations that work for small and medium companies. We speak about the market players who are interested not in translating at scale, but in translating efficiently in order to make a good return on their marketing investments.

Light at the end of the press release?

What can you do to get high-quality translated collateral without stretching your marketing budget too much?

Set your priorities. Choose materials that are really important for translation or publication.

If the price for complete website localisation seems too high for you, make it a dozen of pages provided they are flawless. The localised variant should be ok with you, with online visitors, and with SEOs (which is not always the same thing).

If a user guide or a press release contains info about realities not relevant for the target country, skip the info or give an abridged variant.

Outline your goals. Good translations help to sell; bad translations have a negative effect on your sales.

When planning marketing budgets, considerable costs are assigned to design, copy, and placement. Too often, translations are overlooked or financed from leftovers.

The eye-pleasing ‘cover’ should contain the content worth of your local customer’s attention. Make sure your budgets make it possible.

Be closer to a real world. If the customer does not believe you, they would hardly buy anything from you. Do you consider it reasonable to invest in translation that does not resonate with your target audience?

The less your content feels like marketing talk, the more persuasive it is. Try translating product reviews, white papers, and case studies instead of marketing copies.

Facts and figures backed by trustworthy sources are your real world.

Adapt collaterals. You cannot translate a marketing copy ‘as is’. Marketing translations need a creative touch.

Ideally, the text is recreated for a given target audience. To serve marketing purposes, the translation needs to flow well and mean well in the target language. Not every English copy is a good fit for the Russian-speaking audience.

Create locally. Your dealers or distributors can create some marketing content locally instead of translating non-relevant news.

Geographically targeted news is more likely to trigger a positive reaction: local installations, case studies, market share growth, customer service news and updates, etc. Look for content, which adds value to your customers’ workflows.

Below you will find three key components for shaping out an efficient translation process.

1 Requirements and demands

For translations at scale, consider preparing your own style guide (take a look at a style guide the European Commission Directorate General for Translation uses) and/or a glossary.

Focus on requirements, issues, and terms relevant to your business or industry; avoid general advice. If you face the same errors and translation challenges regularly, be sure to add them to your style guide.

2 Targeted marketing

The choice of preferable language and style for your marketing copies depends on the target audience. A corporation addressing the market or one human talking to another? Industry-specific terms or descriptions that are clear to everyone?

To answer these questions, you need to identify your target audience: professionals, hobbyists, decision-makers, etc. The basic demographic variables for the marketing industry are age, education, sex, buying / customer preferences.

3 Linguists

Not every translator is able to cope with stylistic nuances and adaptation. Look for translators with experience in marketing and copywriting. Be realistic about in-house translations.

A translator specialising in marketing communications: a) knows a lot about your industry and your target audience; b) has excellent translation skills; c) has excelling copywriting skills.

When cooperating with a professional translator, you get a reliable partner. One project after another, “your translator” gets to learn more about your demands, your products, and your customers. The quality of translations you receive goes even higher affecting your marketing ROI positively.

3D Printing Shifting the Balance of Power

3D Printing: Shifting the Balance of Power

5 disruptions that can change global economy and society

Recently, I took a Coursera course on marketing in a digital world as a part of my CPD plan. Many ideas and start-ups presented there were completely new to me and looked fascinating.

The course also covered the role of 3D printing in disrupting current marketing models, as 3D printers are a good example of a new digital marketing tool.

Companies like Apple, Netflix, Google create both new products and new business models. Their disruptive innovation is radically changing traditional business practices. New emerging digital tools also have tremendous implications the way products are distributed and placed into the market.

Firm-centered approach to marketing is starting to break down due to the rise of smartphones, online technologies, and 3D printing. In this new digital marketing environment, we are moving from firm-created products and brands to co-created products and brands.

Blurring the dividing line between the physical and the digital, 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, has been around for over 30 years. However, in the last five years both the size of the printers as well as their cost have dramatically shrunk. As a result, the technology is rapidly spreading and becoming democratized and available to consumers.

A wide variety of materials that can be 3D printed includes plastics, metals, ceramics, food, and even glass, depending on the printer type and technology. Experts say you can 3D print almost any hard material that can be softened or any soft material that can be hardened.

3D printing is a way to a new industrial revolution and dramatic changes in the economy. It may spread over the entire value chain on a global scale, from operation, logistics, manufacturing to marketing, sales, and after-services. Some of you may already own or actually use 3D printed products without knowing it.

I decided to summarize things I love most about 3D printing, one of my main translation specialties. Below is a short description of five transformations you should begin preparing for. 3D printing is going to change your life, too.

1 New manufacturing strategies

As of 2011, the direct manufacture of finished products represented only about 25 percent of the additive manufacturing market. 3D printers were used mainly for prototyping. Now industries are moving from prototyping to the actual printing of final finished products.

With current 35 percent annual growth rate, the market of additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping is one the manufacturing industry’s fastest-growing segments. 3D printing facilitates new product solutions, which would be inconceivable with conventional methods.

Today the aerospace industry (12.0% of global AMRP market), the automotive industry (19.5%), medical/dental technology (15.1%), and other sectors focus strategically on 3D printing as the manufacturing strategy of the future and an embodiment of “Industry 4.0” approach.

Airbus A350 is flying with 3D printed parts. GE has already opened a mass additive manufacturing facility to produce the fuel nozzles for LEAP jet engines. American Local Motors best known for its $100,000 off-road Rally Fighter crowdsourced vehicle recently introduced the world’s first 3D printed car. German Mapal offers a QTD-series insert drills manufactured using additive laser melting.

3D Prnting_New technologies

americanstandard-us.com

2 New designs and mass customization

3D printing is changing the way things are developed and designed. This paradigm shift means that lightweight designs, new integrated functions or bionic structural elements will become a crucial part of engineering.

Additive solutions offer diverse potential, which you cannot achieve (at least satisfactorily) with conventional machining strategies. Two directions are possible here. One is to redesign existing products, which have been built conventionally until now. The second is to manufacture new products developed specifically for the opportunities that 3D printing offers as early as the design phase.

B2C manufacturers and retailers are beginning to realize the potential of 3D printing. Nike is now 3D printing its football shoes. Designers say 3D printing going to change the world of fashion in a way similar to how Lycra entered the fashion industry in the ’80s, radically evolving how clothes were made and how garments behave.

With 3D printing, consumers can customize their designs. Once you start thinking digital products rather than physical ones, new possibilities emerge. Unlike conventional goods that are difficult and expensive to customize, digital products are much cheaper and easier to change. Digitization of goods opens a way to satisfy a broader range of customer preferences.

3D Printing_New Designs

news.nike.com

3 New distribution models and shifted profits

3D printers can alter distribution models just as the Internet has altered music, text, and video consumption. Just like iTunes replaced physical music stores, the 3D printer has the potential to disrupt logistics and sells of physical goods.

All 3D printed objects start with a digital model. And once an object is digital, it can be easily stored, transported, and modified. Decentralized production networks mean new business models and regional strategies are possible. The company can post digital files of its products or parts of its products on its website for direct downloading (like Nokia tried) or posting these files on a digital 3D printing retailer.

To be able to print locally will save shipping costs and shipping time. For some industries, that means huge competitive advantages. Spare parts can be manufactured on demand at decentralized locations. If a component fails, it will be reproduced directly on-site.

Pioneers of additive manufacturing underline the possibility to return the value created by production from low-wage countries to traditional development and industrial locations in Europe or the USA.

3D Printing_New Distribution Models

ups.com

4 Medical innovations and bioprinting

3D printing is making rapid progress in the medical and dental fields. Today, most hearing aids and dental implants are 3D printed in the US. 3D printing has enabled the creation of high-dose pills: you can customize and control the speed and strength of delivered dosage reliably.

Companies are inventing new business models, opening digital print centers for additive dental prostheses. Compared to traditional dental laboratories, digital manufacturing is extremely cost-efficient (at least half the price) and offer enormous benefits in terms of quality. 3D printing is also being used to create affordable prosthetics, light and durable.

Bone reconstruction technologies with the help of three-dimensional structures are being developed. Such structures are open for the tuning of chemical and mechanical properties while copying the outer form of the required bone.

A number of startups are actually exploring 3D printing as a way to create human skin and organs. We are not so close to a mass replacement of body parts yet, but a company called Organovo is already 3D printing liver and kidney tissues.

3D Printing _Bioprinting

3dprinting.com/bio-printing

5 Power of making democratized with 3D printing

During the course, some academic insights about the topic of 3D printing were mentioned. Researchers at Michigan Tech University conducted an interesting experiment published in Metronics journal in 2013. In order to determine how much money 3D printing could save, they printed common household objects instead of buying them.

They downloaded twenty digital designs from thingiverse.com and printed them on a low-cost desktop 3D printer: an iPhone doc, a showerhead, a paper towel holder, etc. The printing cost in terms of both energy and materials was less than $20. In comparison, it would have cost them at least $300 to buy them from a store.

The study at the University of Illinois showed a stark difference between groups making common 3D printed objects and buying them from the shop. Students who printed objects exhibited higher levels of loyalty, they felt a closer connection with these objects and were willing to pay almost 50% more for them.

Desktop 3D printers are going to democratize the power of making and to give consumers more control over the things they consume.

3D Printing_Power of making democratized

cubify.com

Newspaper press marks 200 years

Print Hi-Tech: December

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

More interesting news and case studies involving printing and publishing technologies in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: a 200-year-old printing press; inkjet technologies for haute couture; 3D photos; an awesome book-based app.

Newspaper press marks 200 years

At the end of 1814, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer printed The Times in London using a steam-powered double-cylinder press, 360 years after Gutenberg’s hand press. In 2014, mechanical newspaper printing celebrated its 200th birthday.

To use steam power instead of hard labour, Friedrich Koenig implemented a rotating cylinder into the printing process. The hourly output of 1,100 printed sheets meant that productivity increased by almost 5 times compared to Gutenberg’s hand press.

Printing paper sheets on one side (straight printing), the ‘Times press’ was an important landmark in the 500-year plus history of printing.

Newspaper press marks 200 years

The photo shows a 1:2 scaled replica found in the KBA museum

‘Digital Couture’ at New York Fashion Week

Epson, the company that likely manufactured your printer, has teamed up with fashion designers to bring a unique project to New York Fashion Week this February.

Eleven designers from across the Americas will use new digital sublimation printers to show that digital prints may look cool. Some famous designers have already become early adopters of dye sublimation technology using it in their work.

Epson is sure that the digital couture can take fashion in new directions. A good fabric with a proper base colour will be enough for creating original collections.

Digital Couture: Epson at New York Fashion Week

3D photos for people without vision

Touchable Memories by pirate3D is a social experiment named among top ten 3D printing stories of 2014. An totally new application for this innovative technology is a great example of endless possibilities to make our lives better with the help of printing.

Testing 3D printing in a brand new field showed incredible results. An affordable home printer turned photographs into 3D-printed objects. The visually-impaired people experienced forgotten and never seen images by fabricating tangible scenes of them.

The video documentary describes how the 3D models open a way to visualize memories that were photographed.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

In December, The Snow Queen, the world-renowned Hans Christian Andersen story, came to life on iPhones. Timecode, a Kiev-based apps and software developer, offered a universal build both for iPads and iPhones.

A interactive edition is based on the award-winning book published by A-BA-BA-GA-LA-MA-GA publishing house. In 2006, The Snow Queen became the book of the year in the US.

The Snow Queen’s detailed illustrations were originally drawn by Ukranian artist Vladyslav Yerko using ultra-fine brushes under a large magnifying glass and then animated and enhanced for iOS. Readers can make snow fall, stoke a fire, see themselves in a magic mirror, uncover hidden objects and games. The application is available in three versions: Ukrainian, Russian and English.

language of marketing materials

Writing Plain is Worth it

Some points about the language of marketing materials

Getting bored with the repeated marketing nonsense when looking through similar press releases and marketing copies? Try the all-new Marketing Bullshit Bingo by translatorsanonymous.

I guess you know the principle. Whenever you see one of the buzzwords on your table, check it off and call out “Bingo!”

As soon as you have a row of five in any direction, you can stand up and shout “BULLSHIT!!!” The work involved in creating the text in front of you (including yours if you are in the supply chain) is pretty much a waste of time.

tumblr_inline_n2f7oaFkri1rzgpge

If this Bingo version does not blind you, feel free to make your own ‘industry-specific’ variant.

You can use:

  • advanced
  • high-performance
  • full-featured
  • scalable
  • integrated
  • optimize
  • leading edge

Please do not forget to include:

  • productivity
  • enable
  • robust
  • leverage

And be sure to add ‘innovative’ and ‘original’. Most companies and most products claim to be innovative. I guess most are not.

Translating the same ready-made phrases again and again, I keep wondering why they do it. Why are they investing in rubbish wasting money for writing, translation, publication, analyzing feedback (if any)?

2

They speak about the increasing popularity of plain language and clear writing. But nothing changes in the language of marketing materials and press releases. It is much easier to offer a new piece of ‘value-added’ and ‘industry transforming’ stuff instead of presenting facts and being specific.

Building a connection with your prospects is far better than simply offering them the information. But can we speak about a connection if the company handles its press releases as disposable messages targeted only at media editors? There is a strong need to understand how your materials can be meaningful and helpful to your target audience.

Steve Jobs once said: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Killing buzzwords forces you to speak human-to-human, to be simple in a fresh way and to become more flexible. All bad marketing copies are alike. Every good marketing copy is good in its own way. If you seek to be heard, you should think out of the box.

3

If your marketing materials aren’t translated, international markets assume that your company cannot afford it. But when translated, buzzwords become even more hollow and meaningless. Translators do have a couple of tricks to avoid it, but in some cases even creative translation is helpless.

We lose trust from our readers when we use the same clichès and jargon again and again. These words are too general and vague to create a feeling of something worthy. And your local dealers are perfectly aware of the fact.

The Russian written language is sensitive to repetitions and clichés. You need a very experienced translator to transcreate buzzwords into something more meaningful for your target audience. If not, too much of the work is pointless.

The audience does not read buzzwords. They are being scanned and ignored. And if the company’s marketing copy is buzzwords all along, you can be sure it will be ignored, too. Even a perfect translator won’t help. Garbage in, garbage out.

From press releases and brochures to open days and exhibition booths, be more flexible and talk to your customers instead of announcing ‘innovations’ with ‘enhanced interoperability’. Stop recycling the same phrases and ideas. Especially if you are trying to grow your presence in countries with languages other than English.

Technical translations

Specialisation World

You simply love what you do

Technical translations vary greately. User guides and technical specifications demand, above all, knowledge of terminology and consistency.

Marketing texts, news, and press publications add style and engagement to the demands backed by thorough understanding of technologies and trends.

Some translators told me they found technical translations too boring. However, I think they have been overlooking some of the daily enjoyments in my specialisation. My work is far from dull.

The most interesting aspect for me is the continuing convergence of technologies and industries. If earlier I worked with three different (although close) fields — graphic arts, IT, and marketing — now they have very much in common.

When I was making my first steps translating materials about printing and publishing back in 1998, a prepress company where I worked used analogue technologies mostly. Now, former printers are turning into communication solutions providers offering digital assets management and marketing campaigns support.

In my new ‘Hi Tech’ category I am going to write about most interesting cases known to me, which combine printing, digital technologies and marketing.

The next page in design

Wencia Luxury Group signed a contract with IQDEMY, DPS Innovations and Caldera on the joint manufacturing of high-tech equipment for printing on any surface for their legendary Swiss watch.

Led by a descendant from an old jeweler’s dynasty, the company tends to preserve and expand traditions of crafting exquisite jewelry and watches of impeccable quality. The newest development will be used to reproduce images on watch bands and faces made of silver, gold, platinum and other precious metals.

Special inks for silver printing will help emphasise certain design elements by creating haptic relief images on the watch surface with unusual fluorescent effects.

The next page in brand communications

Sun Chemical has teamed up with T+ink to provide conductive ink solutions to make packages and objects communicate, engage customers and manage inventory systems.

T+ink was one of the first companies to commercialize true printed electronics across a variety of industries, including toys, packaging, promotional products. Its technologies are designed to replace buttons, switches, lights, speakers, microphones, antennas, and batteries with printed ink for touch and motion-activated products.

The partners are going to provide a fundamentally new way for brands to communicate. The conductive ink is already replacing RFID codes at a fraction of the cost. Moreover, it offers more security than QR codes.

The next page in journalism

Amazing Clickable Paper technology by Ricoh is an interactive print solution that bridges the online and offline worlds. It has the ability to provide immediate one-touch access to up to six different online resources such as video/multimedia, websites, e-commerce portals and social networks.

The solution is based on Ricoh Visual Search, an image recognition technology. Although the Clickable Paper logo can be printed on the page to inform the reader that the images are hot spots for more interaction, it doesn’t require visible marks of any kind on printed materials, so there is no need to design around a barcode or a QR code, which that many of us (including me) dislike.

One of the pilots was a 4,000 run of a 274-page book enabling readers to watch a video about fishing. The technology was also used in an advert for a theatre in a monthly town magazine to encourage readers to order theatre tickets online.