Thanks to the internet, the world is getting smaller. Businesses no longer just sell products to their local markets! They sell to people all over the globe. Writers, too, are appealing ever increasingly to global audiences.Expanding your reach is all well and good. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind regarding your approach. For one thing, writing localised content is something you should be able to do.
But why does this matter so much? Surely an audience in the US is likely to understand writing pitched to an Australian audience? It’s a natural assumption to make.
While several countries speak English, one sentence in the UK could mean something entirely different in Australia. It can make sense to go as broad as possible when it comes to language. It’s often a great idea to localise your content to each territory. But what does this actually involve? Is it easy to do?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at why localising the English language matters so much. Though it’s easy to assume that your writing is broad and appealing, it’s always worthwhile taking a step back.
Why Should You Start Writing Localised Content?
It’s all to do with capturing as much interest as possible. You could be as broad and as simple as possible with your language. That is certainly a good start, but what if you want to reach out to specific communities around the globe?
Localised Australian writing, for example, uses different types of vernacular compared with localised British writing. You may find this easy to spot even if you listen to the different ways Australian and British people talk. American speakers, too, have their own style of writing and speaking. That goes beyond the odd use of a ‘z‘ in words where British writers would use an ‘s‘, for example.
Writing localised content for each potential audience broadens your scope. By researching and understanding the way localised American writing works, US readers will feel as though they are reading content specifically for them. The same, of course, applies to British readers, Canadian readers, and more.
Localised content writing is a great way to appeal to individual markets and readers. Some people use controlled language to gain broader appeal. However, there’s a lot of worth in taking time to understand what makes different English writing styles so diverse.
For one thing, it shows that you care about local audiences. Taking the time to research their language and culture shows that you are investing in them. Statistics show that up to 75% of people are more likely to buy products offered to them in their native language. It’s not a stretch to assume that the same will apply to native twists on English, either.
Approaching Cultural Differences
One of the key reasons why you should write localised copy is to do with culture. Cultural sensitivity is extremely important when writing for the modern web. For example, how do you know that someone in the UK won’t take offence at what you’ve written for an Australian audience?
It is not just a matter of understanding the way people speak. It’s a case of understanding why people say what they do. What is going to be most comfortable for people to read? What are some cultural differences between countries that are less obvious?
It’s essential to research culture. Before you write any content, you should always make sure to do background reading. As mentioned, it shows that you care about foreign markets. This will go a long way if you want to reach out across global markets.
Let’s think about a quick example. You might need to be sensitive about cultural holidays and current events. You should also be quick to avoid stereotyping of any kind. Despite the world getting smaller, some English-speaking territories still approach topics such as race and gender in very different ways.
To avoid coming over as cloying, or insensitive, make sure to read content written for specific audiences. It’s the best way to adapt to individual rules.
Should You Control Your Language?
It can’t hurt to control your language. Language control is where you make sure to use short, simple sentences. A great way to control your language, for example, might be to write as though you are speaking the words. We won’t often use complicated words in speech unless we have to. Why should your writing be any different?
Anyone struggling to adapt their words to foreign audiences should consider language control. Are there any ways you can make your sentences easier to read? You don’t have to bring things down to basics. However, it might help you appeal to wider audiences if you at least remove phrases that won’t carry over well.
There is a danger to using ‘natural’ language. If you use a lot of slang in your everyday speech, you might find it tempting to transfer this into your writing. You should avoid this at all costs! Plus, also avoid using clichés and catchphrases, too.
It is all about helping your audience feel more comfortable with what you have to offer. If your content is hard to understand or makes little sense in a global context, you are risking confusing your audience.
How Should You Localise Your Content?
One of the quickest ways to localise your content is to write separate pieces for separate audiences. That will mean additional work, but it will make all the difference to your readers. Rather than taking one piece for a UK reader and changing a few words, you should write separate pieces for US and Australian audiences.
That means they each have their own unique content on the same subject. It also means you won’t have to go back and translate everything again and again. One of the best things you can do is to localise content as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will have to go back through it all and make some awkward changes.
It’s, therefore, a great idea to set up separate content plans. If you already have a plan for your UK audience, think about creating a new one for US customers. Is there anything you can remove or add-in to make it more US-friendly?
You should also ask for advice. A great way to gauge opinions on localising content is to reach out to test readers. You may be able to find willing readers through LinkedIn, for example. If Australian readers don’t connect well with your British content, ask them why. Be sure to take notes and to test all your content thoroughly.
Adjusting Other Content
While we are focusing on written content, you should also think about its context. If you are going to localise written content for the US and Canada, for example, you should localise other elements, too.
Think about the images you use. If you use a lot of stock photography alongside your writing, does it seem relevant to US culture? What about colour schemes and layouts? It’s a good idea to research visual appeal. Are there any trends or differences in the way we read online content?
Localising any kind of content is going to take time. However, you must make sure you are sensitive when researching. Making any kind of assumptions could lead to reputational damage. There are some examples of even big-name companies making cultural blunders online, and it is all to do with a lack of research!
Therefore, if you are going to adjust your writing, adjust your whole approach. Create websites and write content for each territory. It will be worth the extra time and effort to secure interest from more people around the world.
Where Do I Start with Writing Localised Copy?
Writing localised content might seem scary. Unless you have experience living with or working with American, Canadian or Australian people, it might feel as though you’re approaching alien territory. However, there is no need to worry.
People are very adaptable and understanding. However, this is only the case if you show initiative, and that you care. When you write any kind of content, you need to make sure your audience knows you are thinking about them.
Generalised content, such as simplified or controlled language, can sometimes seem forced, or cloying. However, there’s also an argument that not localising your language sensitively enough could make things even worse.
Therefore, start with a clear plan. Make sure to research the international markets, and approach localised readers. You may even wish to approach content writing services for extra help and advice! Professional content writing services may help you appeal to people across these boundaries a little easier.
Are you considering writing localised content? Localising the English language will take time and effort, but it is worth the investment! It’s time to invest yourself, too, in appealing to a wider readership. For more writing guidance and support, why not take a closer look at other guides we have available here at PremierProse?