The Portland State University Digital Marketing Series (#PDXDMS) Breakfast featured Melanie Davis of El Hispanic News & PQ Monthly and Victoria Lara of Lara Media Services. The event was held in PSU’s wonderful recreation center complex, which is just a short walk from Downtown PDX.

The quarterly panel discussions feature local professionals and a great breakfast. I’m not quite sure why this place isn’t always packed. You must try this out if you enjoy marketing case study or to hear how local peers are kicking butt.

Davis kicked off the panel, talking about her experience with the niche markets of both publications. She explained how both the El Hispanic News and PQ Monthly utilize a hybrid of print and digital formats as well as optimizing content to be sharable across social media. Davis informed the audience of the challenge in timing content launch to cater to bilingual audiences. Since El Hispanic News has readership across multiple generations, Davis indicated that there must be agility when it comes to the publication’s editorial decision-making.

Editorial "wiggle room."

David explained that content is optimized depending on its context with the readership. If the main topics of an issue feature topics that target Spanish speakers, they will launch the content en espanol, followed up by the english version and vice versa. She talked about content translation as a very costly resource.

Google Translate doesn’t cut it. The Latino people respect Art, value and generosity with content. Content that is out of context will likely be ignored. This is a costly outcome for an organization trying to unpreparedly approach such a tight-knit market.

Both publications recognize their target audience’s social media attraction, so the editorial team monitors discussions and engagement in both languages, utilizing technology that allows them to integrate both blog and social media content into one conversation.

Empower your editorial strategy by knowing your audience.

Lara followed Davis’s panel, demystifying Latino stereotypes in the media. She emphasized that Latinos are part of one, part of a group– they’re a tribe. She seemingly challenged any marketers in the room by telling them that if they want to go after the Latino market, they’d better create content that respects loyalty and improving the overall status of the Latino people.

To the social media folk, she mentioned that targeting the Latino social media users won’t take millions of followers or fans– just capture the attention of the most outspoken people and be generous with content while building your tribe (very Seth Godin right there).

Content strategy food for thought:

Lara stated that by 2050, 40 to 45% of the US population is expected to be hispanic. She also emphasized that the whole American “melting pot” thing doesn’t apply all that well to the Latino culture– they’re going to stick with both Spanish and English. Imagine if it was 2050– is your content ready? You can’t Google Translate yourself out of that one. Well, you could. It would be awkward and messy without the human translation and narrative flow component to any successful content translation infrastructure.

I can’t help but think about my old college roommate and his two hispanic children.

They are learning in both English and Spanish… that’s twice the workload that people my age went through, shoot. They will grow, find jobs and will most likely make the most out of their bilingual thinking and narrative flow. This is such an incredible asset to communicators and publishers. Jealous.

Let’s scoot back to today. There’s still content out there that lacks any kind of narrative flow between its assets and the many channels of its brand. We’re having trouble getting the stuff in English going properly (coughGovernment websitescough).

If we continue to ignore improving the quality of experience of our content today, what makes us think we’re ready for the multi-ethnic challenges and global content challenges down the road? It’s not a problem that should be left to the bigger organizations. Soon your local economy will be multi-lingual. What then?

What we can do is be open to the fact that quality of content, the Art and generosity that Lara talked about, must be a focus. Not just what’s in the box, but the structure of that box and the quality of ensuring the Art and generosity maintains its integrity when it goes from English to Spanish, or Spanish to other languages.

What do you think?