esterday I said goodbye to my colleagues from my interpreting traineeship at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza. I could write a dozen different posts about the lessons I learned over these three months (both literally and figuratively, since the material I interpreted consisted mostly of Masters lectures). Perhaps the other eleven will come later, but for…
We translators are a truly generous bunch when it comes to engaging in dialogue about our knowledge and experiences. In many fields, service providers see each other as rivals, and if Company A isn’t stealing ideas from Company B, they’re concerned that Company B will try to steal ideas from them. Consequently, the conversation dries up, ideas aren’t shared, progress slows, everyone loses. But it’s not like that for translators. Time and time again, I’ve seen language professionals refuse to refer to each other as ‘competitors’, choosing ‘colleagues’ instead, and spending as much time driving progress for the industry on the whole as they do chasing down leads for themselves. So I don’t know about other businesses, but certainly in translation, there are (or should be) three groups of people that we address in our marketing copy: Contacts, Clients, and Colleagues. So how does defining our three interlocutors help us to optimise our marketing efforts?
There are two things you should never lose sight of when addressing Contacts, Clients, and Colleagues. The first is the fundamental difference in the style of conversation that should take place with each of them; the second, conversely, is the overarching consistency that should still be present to reinforce your brand, no matter whom you’re speaking to. For example, when speaking to a Colleague, you can use industry-specific terms and brand names, like ‘MemoQ’ and ‘target-language equivalent’, without engaging in a lengthy explanation; however, a different sort of vocabulary will be in order when optimising keywords to reach potential Clients, who’ll be searching for different terms. On the other hand, when a Contact eventually turns into a Client, they’ll be spooked and put off if they perceive a marked change in your tone, branding or writing style, so these are all things that should remain constant in all of your marketing copy. In short, you should be aware of the unique properties of each conversation, but your interlocutor shouldn’t feel that they’re being engaged with in a different way from anyone else.
YOU should be aware of the unique properties of each conversation, but your interlocutor shouldn’t feel that they’re being engaged with in a different way from anyone else.
1. For each piece of content you produce, define your target audience
If you want your content to engage your target audience effectively, you need to know who this audience is. Then you can go about maximising its worth to them, and demonstrating that worth. Knowing your target audience will lead to more relevant content, better optimised headlines and keywords, and ultimately more readers and exposure, since more members of your target audience will read your work and share it with others. That’s why my three distinct target audiences have formed the focal point for my latest marketing strategy, and each piece of writing I produce is aimed specifically at grabbing the attention of each one and guiding them towards the action I want them to take.
2. For each audience, define the end goal of the conversation
Marketing is one big conversation, and this conversation is only helpful if you know what you want to get out of it. It takes time to produce your content, so why are you putting all this effort into attracting this person’s attention? If it’s a Contact, maybe you want to convert them into a Client; if it’s a Client, you probably want to improve their experience working with you, leading to more work and perhaps a positive testimonial for your contact-client conversion efforts further down the road. As for Colleagues, as we’ve said, it benefits everyone to keep an open conversation and share ideas with each other; besides, the more popular your content is among the language services community, the more Google will respect your expertise, the higher up you’ll appear in searches, and the more Client traffic will ultimately be driven to your website.
Whatever your end goal when addressing a particular audience, make sure you know what it is and put every word to work driving your audience toward taking the action you have in mind for them.
3. Be aware of your interlocutor’s goals and needs
Like I said, marketing is a conversation, not a monologue. If you’ve decided that your Twitter account is aimed at Contacts that you want to convert to Clients, simply tweeting ‘Cheap Translation Services Here’ five times in a row is going to get you unfollowed in a matter of minutes, and then the conversation’s over and everyone loses. You need to be perpetually aware that the person you’re speaking to has the power to walk away at any time if they don’t feel they are also gaining something from the dialogue. So work out what your interaction can offer them and show it to them quickly before they get bored and leave. If it’s a Contact, you might do this by offering advice on how to get the most value out of their existing translators (having the source file proofread, providing a style guide, etc.). That way, they keep listening because they’re getting free, useful advice; and at the same time, their opinion of you as a knowledgeable authority in your field improves, meaning that they are more likely to hire you in the future. Crafting a conversation that has value for both participants is a sure way to build confidence and trust, and if the client knows what’s good for them, it’s trust – not low prices or a flashy logo – that’s going to get you that contract.
Work out what your interaction can offer your interlocutor and show it to them quickly before they get bored and leave.
April 16, 2016
February 13, 2016
ands up if you have any friends with a different native language from you. ✋🏻 Hands up if you’ve ever tried to show them affection in their language, accidentally used the wrong verb and ended up causing an awkward mess. ✋🏻✋🏻✋🏻✋🏻✋🏻 Yep, thought so. I mean, who hasn’t been there, right? Off the top of…
January 29, 2016
e all know that one of the most important things for a linguist to do is to specialise. It’s one thing to know how to translate, but translators who claim to be experts in every type of text demonstrate not only a misunderstanding of the word ‘expert’ but also a lack of understanding of what a good translation…
October 11, 2015
ext week is National Curry Week in the U.K.! I may be living in Spain, but I’m not going to let a silly thing like that stop me from celebrating to the full; so in honour of the occasion, I thought you might like some curry-related vocabulary to help you to prepare. These words come…
October 7, 2015
n my last post, I tried to convince you that translators and hairdressers essentially do the same job: we look after your image, make you look neat and professional, and we do it in our own ways according to our own experience and expertise. However, I also noted one major difference between the two professions…