Joseph Wong

Joseph Wong - Freelance Hong Kong Copywriter

Joseph Wong

The Complete Guide to choosing a Hong Kong English Copywriter

27 Dec, 2020

I know, it’s tough. Your client made a request, and there’s pressure to get the job delivered ASAP. You’re not a native English speaker and it’s hard find the right Hong Kong English copywriter. As a copywriter myself in Hong Kong, here are some important things you need to consider in selecting your copywriting partner.

Hong Kong English copywriter selection tips


1. Do they have a proven copywriter portfolio?

Before you engage with a copywriter, it’s important to make sure he or she has a copywriter portfolio. You may need copy ASAP, but ask for a portfolio to review their writing in detail and avoid hiring a lemon. I’ve had clients give me the job without asking for sample writing.

Questions to ask your copywriter

  • Do they have experience collaborating with other copywriting or advertising agencies in Hong Kong? Which ones?
  • Who are their past clients? Do they have experience within the niche you are looking for?
  • What types of advertising mediums do they have experience with? Do they have examples from that specific medium?

Key recommendation: Ask for sample writing first.

2. Meet deadlines

There’s nothing like a freelance copywriter that causes grief for you and your team. You needed that piece of Facebook copy handed in by 3 pm sharp. It’s 3:30, but he/she has their phone off (the dreaded one tick on WhatsApp). Or, you’ve been left on read (gasp). That’s not the freelance copywriter you want.

Questions to ask your copywriter:

  • What tools do they work with to ensure writing efficiency?
  • What is their workflow to ensure writing is on time and on brand?
  • Will they answer copywriting enquiries in a timely manner? Key recommendation: Communicate deadlines and workflow before committing to hiring the freelance copywriter to ensure all parties are aligned

3. Have a versatile tone of voice

Tone of voice in copywriting is important. I have been on the hiring side myself and there is a serious talent shortage for versatile English copywriters in Hong Kong. We were looking for someone who could write for a luxury hospitality brand – but we couldn’t find the talent in Hong Kong. In the end, we hired a copywriter based in Singapore (and of course, I ended up writing a lot of it myself).

Questions to ask your copywriter:

  • What are some examples of your English copywriting for Hong Kong brands that have shown a clear distinction in tone of voice?
  • How do you figure out what tone of voice to write in when there is no brand book?
  • How do you write for Hong Kong clients versus clients from other major markets? Key recommendation: Ensure freelance copywriter has a versatile tone of voice to write for all types of brand voices.

4. Charge what they’re worth.

Let’s be honest; you get what you pay for. Great copywriters in Hong Kong will charge rates aligned with their ability and experience. Be weary of picking cheap labour or those who are willing to bend for price negotiations. Note that charging for copywriting by the project is the most cost-effective solution. This is because revisions take up a lot of time in the copywriting process.

Because English is the second language for many in Hong Kong, you can expect English copywriters to come at a premium.

Questions to ask your copywriter:

  • Do they charge for copywriting by the hour, day, page or project?
  • Key recommendation: A higher fee is an indicator of quality in most cases in Hong Kong. Copywriters that charge market rate are usually easier to work with in terms of quality and workflow.

5. Be a native English speaker and writer.

If you’re looking for an English copywriter in Hong Kong, chances are you’re looking for someone who is a native speaker. Top-tier clients can spot great English copywriting. Agencies should ensure the copywriter you hire is someone who has exposure in foreign markets. These include countries such as Canada, the UK and the US.

In Hong Kong, clients request for either British or American English. It’s important the copywriter you work with understands the nuances of both.

Questions to ask your copywriter:

  • Can they write in both North American and British English? Key recommendation: ensure copywriter is a native speaker to meet client needs.

I have worked both as a Hong Kong English copywriter as well as on the hiring side. These tips are what I’ve found to be useful in both sourcing and collaborating with copywriters. I hope these tips will help you in finding the right partner to collaborate with.

6. Understand Hong Kong market nuances

This is arguably the most important one. As a brand in Hong Kong, you need someone who’s lived and breathed the Hong Kong life before. There’s an unspoken way to write for Hong Kong brands. It is a mix of cultures that blend in together (you understand what I’m talking about).

Here’s typical Hong Kong client copywriting feedback:

The copywriting needs to sell and highlight benefits while not being overly boisterous. We want it to sound creative, but not too over the top. Hong Kong head office wants to tell everyone we won industry award of the year.

Complicated right? And because of this, there is a need for a Hong Kong English copywriter that understands how to write like this.

Get Hong Kong optimized copywriting

Do you need an English copywriter based in Hong Kong? I can help. Versatile, fast-responding and Cantonese-speaking. I have completed large scale copywriting and advertising projects for over 35 global brands in Hong Kong and Canada. These include City of Dreams, IKEA, Hong Kong International Airport, Cathay Pacific, AIA Insurance and many more.

Email me at or check out my work at You can also click on the Whatsapp button to chat right away.

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