Whenever we suggest to our clients to have a Chinese copy or Chinese branding on their website, they are often puzzled about the suggestion. After all, English is the main working language in Singapore. Everyone can understand English in Singapore, why the need for Chinese pages.
Chinese copywriters can be helpful in your content writing, speech writing, business writing and even ghost writing, targeted at your Chinese audience. The next question that comes to mind will be, are there enough people reading Chinese to justify the costs? Before we start on Chinese copywriting, let’s look at this first question:
What exactly does a copywriter do?
A copywriter produces written content for the purpose of promoting products and services and motivate people to take some sort of action. For Chinese copywriters, they will be writing the content in simplified Chinese for markets like China and Singapore.
1. Increasing number of affluent Chinese
For one, there is this trend of increasing number of mainland Chinese emigrating to Singapore or some 870,000, of current and would-be Chinese affluent emigrants, due to its geographical and cultural proximity to China, according to a Hurun report in 2014. On top of that, there is another influx of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), which are those with assets of more than USD1 million, to Singapore.
While many of these affluent Chinese can speak and understand English, Mandarin is still their most comfortable language. If your business can ‘speak’ to them in Chinese, you may well be on your way to create a new and profitable customer segment for yourself. When they land on your website, it’s natural for them to want to see a simplified Chinese version.
2. Increasing use of the Chinese social media, WeChat
The Chinese expats in Singapore continues to use WeChat frequently while in Singapore, to connect with their families and friends in China. For their Chinese friends in Singapore, Wechat is most often their preferred mode of social media as compared to Facebook or Instagram.
Besides well-travelled businessmen who are the main buyers of high-end properties, other new immigrants of Singapore are mostly highly paid white-collar employees working in multinational corporations, academics in research and educational institutes, or Chinese teachers in primary and secondary schools and junior colleges in Singapore.
For businesses to reach out to these Chinese audience, it might be worthwhile to invest in an Official WeChat account to get subscribers. To maintain the account and ensure continual engagement, Chinese copywriters would be needed to curate and create articles relevant to your business.
3. Customised your messages to the Chinese audience
If your business has been around for a while, you would have advertisements, brochures, blogs, Facebook messages written for your target customers. Allow your messages to work harder for you by engaging a good Chinese copywriter to rewrite these for your business in Chinese.
Notice that I use the word ‘rewrite’ and not ‘translate’ because English and Chinese are essentially two very different languages with varying sentence structures, thus the last thing you’ll want is to see your messages lost in translation.
Effective Chinese copywriting goes beyond literal translation of sentences but requires a clear understanding of the original text and then rewriting to bring out the essence of the original meaning.
4. Chinese scripts
Whether it is a media interview given to the Chinese media or podcast for your Chinese audience, it would be most helpful if you have a Chinese script to work with, unless of course when the interviewee is a natural Mandarin speaker.
With the advent of social media, podcast is the ‘in’ thing now. When we talk about ‘scripting’ it’s easy to imagine a lengthy essay that’ll be read out word-for-word to become your podcast episode.
That is less than ideal since a podcast is meant to be conversational and not listening to someone reading off the script. Thus preparing a script in this case is really to provide some pointers to the speaker and get him or her familiar with some of the Chinese terms in advance.
5. Email marketing
Already had a mailing list and has been doing email marketing? It’s high time to recraft your email messages to Chinese and send out to those whom might prefer to read in Chinese. Wait a minute, how should you get a mailing list of ‘Chinese-preferred’ contacts? Consider creating a Chinese lead magnet, it can be a whitepaper, pdf, or any other document written in Chinese.
A lead magnet is a marketing term for a free item or service that is given away for the purpose of gathering contact details; for example, free trial, samples, white papers, e-newsletters or free consultations.
Now you have it, the roles and responsibilities for your Chinese copywriter. It does seem quite a handful and you might wonder where to start. Fear not, take one step at time and prioritise your tasks at hand. Start by outsourcing one project first and see how it takes off before proceeding further.