Go global

“A story performing well in one market could, theoretically, perform well in multiple markets, and reach many more people. If a content platform supports that, by enabling a translation-friendly workflow, you could have a relatively inexpensive way to increase your reach.”

I run a technology services company and one-third of our work is directly servicing and building large, scalable content platforms for very large media companies. While much of the discussion about media company strategy over the last year centered on the “pivot to video” move, I’d suggest that the real growth focus for larger firms that aren’t just hoping and praying is currently around globalization. It has factored into more and more of our conversations with media partners. It’s a good conversation to have!

It’s a simple proposition: It’s a big world. A story performing well in one market could, theoretically, perform well in multiple markets, and reach many more people. If a content platform supports that, by enabling a translation-friendly workflow, you could have a relatively inexpensive way to increase your reach. If you have a media platform in the U.S. and a Spanish team, too, a story performing well in Spanish could, in a matter of a few hours, be brought to the U.S. market, and vice versa. Vice built something a lot like this (disclosure: they’re one of our clients). Their content platform uses Google translation APIs to make it easy for editors to see what other countries are publishing, and when something moves between markets, human translators can move things along quickly.

One thing about globalization: It’s basically invisible unless you’re looking for it. You’re not going to notice that an article did well in Portuguese in the same way you’ll notice thousands of food videos on Facebook. It’s a quieter path to growth that doesn’t involve as much hiring and firing to execute, but it’s significant, and the workflows and processes necessary to do it well are emerging now.

Paul Ford is cofounder of Postlight, a digital product studio.

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