What language should you be writing your blog in?
As you probably know (or you don’t, no hard feelings), I live in the Netherlands. A question I get a lot from my clients, and other fellow Dutchies starting they are own brand, is: should I be producing my content in Dutch or in English? I have noticed that a lot of solopreneurs choose their own native language for their blogs, vlogs or social media posts. So how do you make the right choice?
When it comes to personal brand, I always tend to look at my audience as a starting point: what kind of content would be interesting for them, what would bring them the most value… The ‘language dilemma’ also starts with the audience. The first question you should ask yourself is: who do I want to reach?
My intuition tells me: ‘If I can or want to provide my services/products to JUST my fellow country(wo)men, then I should make content in my native language’. It is possible that you want to run face-to-face consultations with your clients, in this case, sure, writing a blog in your mother tongue would make perfect sense. Also, it might be sensible if your English s*cks. Another benefit of writing in your first language is less competition. To be honest, I couldn’t think of any other reasons. Could you? (DO share them in the comments!)
So what about English?
First and foremost, I believe that producing content in English, would give you a much bigger reach. In my case, about 23-28 million people speak Dutch worldwide. Guess how many speak English? 380 million only if you count those for whom it is a native language, plus a billion who have learned it as a second language, or speak it well.
Especially when you are just starting your business, or personal brand, the size of your audience is the key to faster growth. The more people know you, the bigger the chance that some of them would want to hire you or buy your stuff. It’s as simple as that. You could argue that you only care about the quality of interaction with your followers, not their number. And this is important, too. But a larger audience would seemingly increase your chances that someone would want to hire you, or buy your product.
Of course, your product has to be available worldwide. Coming back to the original situation: if you only want to attract local customers, you might disappoint a lot of people who live in different parts of the world who just LOVE what you do.
Nowadays, making your services and products available worldwide is easier than ever though. Pretty much everything is sellable online. Coaching sessions? Skype. A new revolutionary type of deodorant? Worldwide shipping. A yoga class, or a workshop on taxes? Again, Skype, Facetime, or your website. Unless, you literally need to touch your customer to provide your service (don’t get me wrong, I mean manicures or dog grooming), you can do it online.
And last, but not least, ask yourself: how greedy are you when it comes your content? Are you putting those blogs and Insta shots out there JUST to reach new clients? Building a personal brand is a bit more complicated than that, sharing your content is not always directly proportional with the amount of clients you will get out of it. Building a personal brand is letting people to get to know you, and what you do. Perhaps inspiring others, and creating an authority within your industry. So if you care about that, think twice when you want to write your blog in Dutch, Swedish or Swahili. Wouldn’t be a shame if that one kid in Estonia missed out on your invaluable advice which would change his life?
One final tip: if you’re not sure how good your English is, DO use auto-correct and read it over before posting it. Speling or grammar mistakes is a NO GO! 😉