Content writing is all the rage right now for business marketing purposes, and it is expected to continue to be so for a long time to come.
While content writing wasn’t always taken seriously by businesses and brands in the past (the practice was quickly brushed aside), it has now become a fundamental part of building a strong digital presence and increasing sales for savvy brands and entrepreneurs.
And if you’re looking to expand your business globally, then multilingual content writing is one of the necessary keys to tapping into new audiences abroad that use a different language.
That being said, a question that often arises is: “Is it better to hire a multilingual content writer as an in-house employee, or is it better to outsource your multilingual content writers through multilingual content writing services?
Before we answer that question, let’s first get the basics out of the way and answer the questions of what multilingual content writing is and it’s use for businesses.
Understanding Content Writing
As a refresher, content writing is the type of writing done for informative, entertainment, and marketing purposes. Some might say that it’s just basically blogging, but there is an actual science behind content writing that actually brings concrete results. It has many applications but we’ll focus on its uses for businesses in the form of bringing in traffic and sales.
Keep in mind that content writing is quite different to copywriting even though it looks like their work responsibilities overlap. Copywriting is mainly written with a persuasive tone mostly for marketing purposes, while content writing (although it can be used for marketing as well) is mostly informational. That being said, businesses make use of both content writers and copywriters to fulfill different business goals.
Content writers are used by businesses to write much of their digital content, such as blogs articles, white papers, newsletters, social media papers, and so on. Good content attracts new audiences, allows businesses to have their own distinct ‘voice’, and establish themselves as trusted industry authorities by their audiences.
Content writing is also an essential pillar in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as it helps business websites gain better search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
But imagine how much wider your potential audience outreach can be if you were to expand your content in other languages, too.
Expanding Business Reach with Multilingual Content Writing
The top languages on the Internet other than English are Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic to name a few. There are nearly 900 million Chinese-speaking internet users, along with hundreds of millions of Spanish-speaking and Arabic-speaking internet users. Together, the number of foreign language internet users is exceedingly large.
Through multilingual content, you have the potential to reach this untapped audience that use other languages and cement your brand authority all over the world!
Granted, building up brand authority takes more than just content writing in general. After all, a business makes its bones through quality products and services. But that doesn’t mean multilingual content writing is less useful to you if you’re not doing business globally.
In fact, even if you’re not doing business globally, you can use multilingual content as a marketing and lead generation tool for cultivating interest among foreign audiences abroad.
Qualities of a Good Content Writer in General
Now that you know the value of content writing in businesses, let’s then take a look at the qualities of a good content writer.
You will encounter writers in all shades marketing their services to you. So, how can you sort out the best from the rest, especially since there’s just so many content writers out there?
Look out for these key features of the best content writers in general:
- Good Writing Skills - First and foremost is good writing skills for obvious reasons. They should be able to write in a concise, organized, and intelligible manner with little grammatical errors. You’re not exactly looking for reincarnated Ernst Hemingway, but they should be able to meet an acceptable standard of writing. They must be able to proofread and revise their work objectively without making things too complicated for you and everyone else. You can ask for samples of their work and see if their writing skills meet your expectations for the project at hand.
- Research skills - Writing good content takes some copious amounts of research—depending on the subject focus at hand of course. That being said, a good content writer shouldn’t shy away from conducting heavy research be it through relevant blog posts, news articles, and peer-reviewed journals if needed. After all that research, they should be able to synthesize all the information they’ve read without plagiarizing.
- Creativity - Good content writers, one that’s worth their weight in salt, must be able to come up with fresh original, thought-provoking, and at the very least, entertaining content. This can partially be a result of their research skills, but some writers naturally have the magic touch sort of speak. Again, you’re not looking for award-winning writers, but at the very least, a writer who isn’t afraid to think outside the box routinely.
- Time Management Skills - Even though good content takes time, a writer shouldn’t be too complacent. They should understand from the beginning the gravity behind deadlines. They should be able to complete writing projects at an acceptable pace relative to the subject difficulty and word count.
- Familiarity with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Writing Practices - Good content writing, one that brings in good SERP rankings, takes SEO into account. This is done by thorough keyword research and natural incorporation of high-volume keywords by the writers to name a few SEO writing tactics. Granted, some businesses are just looking for a writer that can handle general content. But it doesn’t hurt for writers to have at least a fundamental understanding of SEO whether clients ask for it or not.
Qualities of a Good Multilingual Content Writer
Now that you know what marks a good content writer in general from rest, what about good multilingual content writers?
Multilingual content writers can mostly be found in freelance platforms and language service providers, such as translation companies. The translation companies provide a diverse range of language services ranging from translation services, localization services, and of course, multilingual content writing services.
Because multilingual content writers are one of your tickets to reaching out to a new foreign audience, it pays to hire a quality one that possesses the qualities above, plus these:
- Advanced Foreign Language Writing Skills - Just like how good writers have higher than average English writing skills, you should expect the same standard with multilingual writers with their foreign language writing skills. You don’t really need to look for one with a foreign language degree since many of them are either native speakers and/or have taken extensive foreign language classes in high school and college.
But if you need concrete proof that they’re the real deal, then make sure that they have passed advanced language proficiency exams. Also ask for samples of their work as you would normally do for any writer. If you don’t speak their chosen foreign language, or if you don’t have a multilingual employee to proofread their work, then you can simply ask for foreign language proofreading services to see if their work checks out.
- Able to Localize Each Foreign Audience - A good multilingual content writer doesn’t just write in a foreign language as is. They have to take localization into account. So what is localization? Localization is about adjusting to the needs, preferences, and relevant nuances of a target foreign audience.
It’s actually a subset of globalization and is mainly concerned with establishing relevance with the target foreign audience. It’s a broad concept as stated and has many uses in multiple industries, but we’ll focus on its use in writing for now.
Indeed, writers in general take great consideration of who their audience is. They make sure that the tone, vocabulary and expressions are relatable to their target audience. But in this case, a multilingual content writer needs to show cultural knowledge and understanding by taking note of the audience’s regional vernacular, culture, society, and even taboos.
Languages are naturally divided by regional variations and dialects. You can see in English yourself i.e. American English writing being fundamentally different to British English writing. In regards to culture and taboos, it’s simply a matter of knowing what topics are considered click-worthy and which can be potential landmines. That being said, many businesses still fail to take this into account.
Keep in mind that this is ideal for more nuanced writing projects with targeted marketing purposes. If you’re simply content with general multilingual content, then a general multilingual content writer who also has a general understanding of the target audience will do. In those projects, you don’t need one with actual localization expertise.
Pros and Cons of Choosing In-House Multilingual Content Writers
Here are some of the top reasons why businesses may prefer to hire (or not hire) content writers as in-house employees:
- Develop a Consistent Voice - Having an in-house writer means plenty of the business’s content will be written in a consistent voice. This is quite important since some audiences are drawn and attracted to a writer’s specific voice. Plus, having a consistent voice is synonymous to developing a distinct brand identity.
- Task Them to Different Responsibilities - A writer in general comes with a skill set that isn’t limited to writing only. Their creativity means you can assign them to other responsibilities such as social media marketing and other marketing jobs that require a writer’s particular skill set and mentality.
- Having a Dependable Colleague - As with any other in-house employee, constant daily communication means you can develop a stronger and more amiable work relationship. You would see to it that all of you would grow together as a team and have them gradually become familiar with the ins and outs of the business.
- Higher Costs - The additional cost of having to hire a full-time dedicated employee is what deters many businesses from having full-time writers. You’ll have to provide them benefits such as overtime pay, paid leaves, severance pay (if applicable), and etc. Also, their current business objectives might not have call for a full-time writer, and only need them for a one-off job for a particular marketing campaign.
Pros and Cons of Choosing to Outsource Multilingual Content Writers
Multilingual content writing services offered by language service providers and translation companies are usually rendered by freelancers. And there are many multilingual content writers as well that prefer the freelance work lifestyle than working as an in-house employee.
Upwork’s Freelancing in America report also indicates that more people are choosing freelancing with 57 million Americans and climbing now in the freelance workforce. Many businesses don’t want to miss out on the talent that’s available in the freelancing marketplace.
Here are some of the top reasons why businesses prefer to outsource (or not outsource) multilingual content writing services:
- Industry Expertise - Many freelancers, ones with years of experience to be exact, are subject-matter experts themselves. They have diverse professional experiences as a result of their work rhythm of hopping one client to another through the years.
- Lower Costs - Probably the most important and the only deciding factor among businesses is that freelancers significantly cost less than in-house employees. You’re simply them paying them for the time and effort they’re investing in one project. Rather than paying them per hour as you would do with regular employees, you’re mostly paying them per word. You’re also not required to provide benefits.
- Scheduling Conflicts - Many freelancers typically work with multiple clients at a time. Depending on their schedule, you might either be their top or lowest priority. Of course, time-management is an essential skill among freelancers in general, but even they get overwhelmed with floods of projects.
- Singular Responsibilities - When you hire any freelancer, you’re asking them to do one thing and one thing only. Compared to in-house employees, you can’t task them with other responsibilities, even if their skills and expertise is what you need—unless you pay them extra for their time. But remember that they also have other clients they need to work with.
Although this article separately compares the options of hiring an in-house writer with simply outsourcing one, it doesn’t mean you have to strictly choose on over the other. Actually, many businesses have both in-house writers and freelance writers on their payroll.
In fact, a survey by SEMRush revealed that companies have content marketing teams comprising of only 1-3 specialists since most content creation projects are outsourced, with content writing taking up 53% of all content creation projects.
Of course, it all depends on your business model, goals and budget when picking either in-house multilingual writers or outsourcing them. But either way, always strive to have the best of both worlds working for your brand. It can bring better results and returns on investment.