How to write for a global audience
Writing for a global customer base is tricky. At its core, great customer service is all about understanding what the customer wants and delivering it.
If your main language is English, but your customers have varying degrees of English proficiency, then it’s your responsibility to make sure they understand what you’re saying.
I’ve learned a few things after working with clients with a global audience. Outside of hiring great communicators in various languages, there are some items you can tweak first.
These tips cover your digital communication – anything from company blog posts to emails to short tweets.
Know your audience
Whenever I work with clients, I ask about their audience: both current and intended (sometimes they’re not the same & that’s a problem!). I make it a point to ask if their audience is restricted within the US (perhaps you ship only inside the US) or if it includes other countries, or if it’s even on a global level.
Be clear, be concise
Write at a grade-school level
Robust vocabulary, even if you love it, is not your friend here. Write short, concise sentences that make no room for interpretation. Don’t add unnecessary commas or create an elaborate sentence when half the words would do.
It’s been recommended before that short paragraphs can grab a reader’s attention. Same with clear formatting for blog posts.
Use emoji in a way that is reflective of your brand
This may be a point of contention. When I write voice documents for a client, I always include their policy on emoji use.
- How many emojis to use?
- Which ones are appropriate?
- When should you use emojis?
These are all important points to consider.
If your brand is fun, adventurous, and skews in the younger demographics, then emojis should absolutely be part of your brand vocabulary! Hearts and smiley faces are pretty universal and they can emphasize written communication.
Make sure everyone who manages your digital content is aware of how you use emoji. And remember not to go overboard!
Use graphics – infographics, eye-catching photography, videos
If you can’t say it, show it
Eye-grabbing photography and graphics go a long way to making your brand more accessible to your audience.
It is possible to educate your audience without sacrificing quality. Allow for different media to support the various learning styles out there. If you have a how-to text post, support it with a video. Perhaps also include captions in the video. Include a featured photograph so everyone understands what they will learn after reading your post.
Just like most of these tips, your goal is to avoid alienating your audience. If you use slang that is only known in your region or country, then you risk confusing and possibly offending your customers.
That being said…
Write with personality
The worst thing you can do is remove all emotions for your writing
Identify key vocabulary that your company uses.
For example, would you respond to a customer complaint with a gif? Or a “That sucks! Let’s do something about this.” Or a more formal, “I’m very sorry to hear about this happening to you. I would be happy to fix it for you.”
Insert your personality everywhere and make sure your digital voice does not convey condescension. No one likes to be talked down to.
What they’re asking for may not be what they actually want
Just like in regular bar service, if someone asks for a Frappuccino in a place that doesn’t serve it, you would work with them to find something that IS what they’re looking for. Make sure you clarify their want before you move onto more communication.
Hopefully, these tips can help you out with your digital communications! I’m always interested in learning more on how you speak to your audience. Leave a comment below or tweet me @thejennchen.
And if you need help in clarifying your voice or tightening your communication, I offer services in both!