How Content Can Support a Company’s Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a key catalyst for globalization. The rapid development of interconnected technologies is enabling companies of any size to enter international markets. Indeed, even small and midsize enterprises can now use digital communication systems to interact with customers and user groups all over the world.      
Digitization does, however, pose various new challenges alongside these opportunities. Undergoing a digital transformation is no simple task – particularly for SMEs. A majority of German companies of this size actually fail in their attempts to get a handle on their transformation processes.

With a systematic content strategy, you can succeed where others have fallen short. In this article, we’ll explain how SMEs and family-run companies can leverage the benefits of quality content in seeing through their own digital transformations.

Why digitization founders so often at SMEs

According to an Accenture study, four out of every five digital transformation projects fail at small and midsize enterprises. The company points to the lack of a coherent through line that ties individual digitization efforts together as the main reason for this, along with a shortage of specialists who know how to digitize business processes.

Furthermore, employees are often skeptical about new ideas. People are creatures of habit, after all, and we usually don’t relish stepping outside of our comfort zones. When companies don’t effectively communicate the reasons behind planned digital changes and the benefits they’re meant to achieve, they’re bound to face some internal resistance.

For SMEs, avoiding problems like these requires a well-thought-out strategy. A 2018 study shows that getting employees on board at an early stage makes it twice as likely that a digital transformation project will succeed. Your company can accomplish this by coming up with a strategic approach to communication that accompanies your workforce along your transformation journey.

How content can aid digital transformation in the world of work

The right content is essential in making information palatable to your target audience and influencing decision-making processes. When you make an active effort to involve employees in digitization processes, they will respond more positively and be more willing to adapt. Placed in the proper context, such content can even help you enlist your staff’s support in driving your company’s digital transformation.

Unfortunately, SMEs in particular often don’t have the time or the in-house skills necessary to produce high-quality content. Not everyone is a born wordsmith, of course, and for those who don’t have a nuanced feel for language, authoring even the shortest message can be quite a chore.

Challenges for international organizations

Things are even more complicated for SMEs that operate in multiple countries and therefore need content in several languages. From simply getting things wrong in translation to lacking an awareness of the finer points of local culture, there’s definitely no shortage of ways to put your foot in it. If you’re lucky, faux pas like these will only result in a few chuckles among your target audience. In the worst case, however, you can do lasting harm to your company’s reputation.

Even though more and more SMEs are taking advantage of the possibilities afforded by digitization to gain a foothold in the global market, localized content is currently still more the exception than the rule. When information is provided in multiple languages at all, it’s generated all too often by machine translation programs.

This is a weakness that forward-thinking companies can exploit to set themselves apart from the competition. In both internal and external communications, content that’s properly written in the respective local language is more likely to gain readers’ trust and get them on board.

How language service providers can assist SMEs in their digital transformation

For many companies that operate beyond the borders of their home country, communicating in multiple languages is a complex affair. While large multinational corporations often have in-house content and localization experts to fall back on, SMEs typically don’t have the resources this requires – nor do they deal with the type of volume that would justify setting up a language service department of their own.

This doesn’t mean that the employees of smaller companies need to start adding content creation or translation skills to their profiles, however. When you need to present a brand to an international audience or provide important internal information in foreign languages, a level of cultural awareness and linguistic finesse that only comes with years of experience is essential.

This is where professional language service providers can offer the help of seasoned experts who are familiar with the nuances of foreign languages and the customs of the people you want to reach. Content creators worth their salt are capable of producing all types of internal and external communication materials, from newsletters to training videos. With their assistance, you’ll also be able to assemble a consistent content strategy across all your target markets.

A growing need for content at digital businesses

The ongoing digitization of business processes affects all areas of communication. At the same time, a company’s need for mono- and multilingual content, localized material, and other translations depends to a large extent on its size and level of maturity.

In both its internal and external communications, an international, publicly traded company with locations in several countries has to factor in target groups that speak different languages. Even though most companies opt to establish a single corporate language, it’s generally a good idea to have important process documentation available in several different versions. This approach fosters understanding and a general willingness to engage with the content in the first place. Meanwhile, marketing and advertising material obviously needs to be adapted to each target market, and technical documentation has to be written in the languages required.

But what about a young startup with international ambitions that wants to start by focusing on a multilingual website and social media presence? At digitally minded companies like these, the most common types of suitable content include the following:

  • A corporate website and blog
  • Social media posts
  • Marketing assets
  • Advertising
  • Press releases
  • Annual reports
  • Newsletters
  • A company app
  • Explainers and how-to videos
  • Specification sheets
  • Risk assessments
  • Test reports
  • Knowledge databases
  • Assembly instructions and directions for use
  • User manuals

Even if a midsize company does have an in-house writer or foreign-language correspondent at its disposal, they most likely aren’t well-versed in all the necessary areas. Depending on the industry, various documents might require highly specialized knowledge of a particular field. While creativity and a clever way with words are key when adapting a slogan, creating or translating an operating manual, for example, takes technical expertise.

Language service providers can slot seamlessly into internal gaps like these to provide both linguistic skills and area-specific insights. 

What SMEs should look for when choosing a language service provider

In the digital age, the search for any service provider typically begins online. It takes just seconds to find dozens of candidates promising to provide appealing content that will guide your company to international success.

Here, knowing what’s important when working with a language service provider can save you a great deal of time and aggravation. In our view, dedicated contacts, defined processes, and tailored solutions are right at the top of the list.

In addition, modern language service companies rely on a mix of automation, AI technologies, and other cutting-edge tools like authoring systems, video editing programs, and audio recording software. The most professional providers also have native-language copywriters and linguistic experts on staff who concentrate on specific fields. The texts they produce are thus guaranteed to reflect the right vocabulary, area-specific knowledge, and an awareness of conditions in the local market at hand.

How SMEs can optimize their collaboration with language service providers

The more information a company can provide to its language service provider of choice, the more seamless their collaboration will be. What target groups need to be addressed? Through what channels is a particular text going to be published? What tone is the company hoping to strike?

Questions like these need to be answered before the work begins and compiled into a guideline for the content creators to follow. Even when existing texts are to be translated into other languages, an in-depth briefing like this is worth the time and effort because it minimizes follow-up questions and related delays. If you need assistance in putting together a project brief of this kind, Lexsys will be happy to help.

With a fine-tuned content strategy guiding your efforts, you can support your company’s digital transformation and put successful change processes in place. No matter whether you need content in one language or several, or original texts or translations – Lexsys is the only partner you’ll need. We’ve spent years writing and translating texts in virtually every area of business. If you’re interested in working with us to drive the digital transformation at your midsize company, why not get in touch today?








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Stephen Healy


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