Carlota Pico recently sat down to speak with Zoey Cooper, content and brand director at Wordbank in London. Wordbank is a global marketing, localization and digital services company that produces content in 140 languages across 75 countries. In addition, she’s just joined the sustainable travel startup ecollective. In this interview, Zoey shares her thoughts on balancing global and local content, developing a tone of voice for each market and handling tricky clients—plus some unique recommendations you’ll love. 

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple and Spotify, and read our recap below.

Key takeaways

  • Expertise in brand and content is useful, but the most important element of success as a content localization professional is the desire to understand what makes people tick in different countries, regions and markets.
  • When creating a piece of content, you should be able to say why you’re creating it, who it’s for and what you wish to achieve. These are difficult questions that some clients don’t want to answer, but they’re essential.
  • When working with international brands, it’s important to strike a balance between global content and localized content. While different brands might have specific requirements, Zoey generally likes to maintain a 70/30 ratio of global to local content. 
  • Tone-of-voice guides from clients tend to be short, vague and rather unhelpful. As this is an important resource and the basis upon which all future content is created, it’s vital to work with the client to develop a detailed guide for each language.  
  • Content must be driven by customer value; this means focusing content on the benefit it provides to your audience, rather than to the brand.

To be a good content creator, you have to read everything—whether it’s a flyer for someone to come clean your windows, a national ad or a nonfiction novel.

Rapid-fire recs

An influencer or professional role model who you admire?

I love Mark Ritson. There’s no bullshit with him; he says it how it is and I agree with a lot of what he says about content marketing. Another person who’s really influenced me is copywriter and tone-of-voice expert Nick Parker. His newsletter is the only one I look forward to and read religiously.

A valuable book, publication or group?

I don’t necessarily want to recommend any specific book or publication. I believe that to be good at content, you have to consume all content that comes your way. Read flyers, books, adverts, go to art galleries and draw inspiration from everything. And if you don’t like something you’re reading, drop it and pick up something else, because life is too short.  

Your favorite app at the moment?

I’ve been trying to identify the birds that come to my garden, so I downloaded ChirpOMatic. It records birdsong and then tells me what bird it is. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s still fun to use.

Check out Wordbank’s advice on tone of voice and content toolkit.

Connect with Zoey and Carlota on LinkedIn.

This post was edited by Rishabh Agrawal, a freelance content creator based in Madrid.

For more insights from brand and marketing directors:

Challenge the status quo – Steevan Glover, brand director and marketing expert

Foster workplace learning – Joei Chan, director of content at 360Learning

Do what you love, love what you do – Chris Willman, marketing director and author

To see the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.