Content Localization: It’s not just for foreign languages anymore!

As a content strategist and a Bostonian, one thing that drives me absolutely nuts — NUTS I tell you — is when I see Boston-targeted content that’s poorly localized.

In other words, lazy content that relies on outdated stereotypes of this city.

The classic mistake? Calling Boston “Beantown.”

Guys. Everyone. Let’s talk about this for a sec. Nobody who has lived in Boston for any respectable amount of time calls this city “Beantown.”

And if you use that name in how you address me, a potential customer in Boston, you stand out for all the wrong reasons. “Beantown” is about as noobie a mistake as calling San Francisco “SanFran” or, eegads, “Frisco.”

Why? Because those terms are for tourists. They are never what a native (or long-term resident, at least) calls their home city.

So if you want to reach that audience, you don’t use that language, simply because it makes you sound like:

1) You could not care less about the culture and language used in your target market.

2) You never bothered to ask a resident what’s actually authentic language. (Because then you’d know that nobody says “wicked pissa” around here anymore, either.)

3) A tourist. Which is arguably the worst of these three.

When I see an email, landing page or some kind of campaign calling Boston “Beantown”? It’s not cute, it’s cloying. It’s embarrassing for the company sending it. It makes me think that you aren’t even trying.

And at a time when authenticity in customer relationships is de rigueur, remember that localization isn’t just a term that applies to how you deploy foreign languages. If you provide products or services in specific geographic locations, do your diligence in how you shape and localize your content. Speak your customers’ language, use the words that ring true for them.

Because it’s really, really obvious when you don’t.