It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

You’ve heard it all before; content is king; know your audience, use the right tone-of-voice.

Why is it surprising then that so many companies continually fail to spend that extra bit of time making sure the content they use in emails, on their websites, in their social media channels and in marketing material – either digital or printed, actually hits the mark?

What surprises us is that they’re surprised when their (not-so) carefully planned marcomms campaigns fall flat.

You only get the one chance. If readers don't engage, they’re gone. They won’t come back and it happens in an instant! And that’s apart from the negative impact on your brand.

Increasingly, people don’t read their emails and they don’t read past the first sentence of a web page. If they don’t get an instant hit, sit back and watch your visitor numbers drop of the edge of a cliff.

There’s also the issue of the first point of contact; it’s less and less about emails or websites, whether found or fallen over. More likely, it’ll be from one of the many social media channels. And no, it’s not just about Facebook or Twitter. Increasingly, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Tumblr and Pinterest; not to mention banner ads on the many (many!) thousands of mobile apps and games. C’mon, keep up!

Ever heard of Sina Weibo, WeChat, Daily Motion, Douban, Renren, Zhihu, Qzone, FourSquare, Orkut, Bebo… the list is almost endless and that's only in China!

So, before opening your digital mouth, you need to be totally certain that at least someone - and preferable lots of someones are ready to listen.


Well, actually not everyone does. Not as their first language anyway. Sounds obvious? Well, obviously not, judging by some of the rubbish we see supposedly targeted at foreign nationals.

Even tho people who come to the UK to study, for example and should have passed their IELTS 6, they’d still prefer to read marketing and promotional stuff in their own language and on their own social media platforms. Check some top UK universities to see what I mean about the imperialist approach.

In business it's even more important. If you don't meet your clients as least half-way, don't expect to be close enough to them to shake hands on a deal.

So, how do you successfully engage your audience in a new market? It’s a new game and you need to make sure you know how to play it. Deliver the message in a Chinese way so that Chinese audiences can (and want to) understand it. If you’re a new player in this marketplace, you’ll need to be highly proactive, but in the right way. Take your time; do your research and do it right! It’s not about how loud you say it, it’s about saying it in a smart way.

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