Americanisms Suck! Unless They’re Your Audience…..

american drive through signKnow Your Audience

The majority of my work targets an American audience and that means Standard English has to blow this particular pop stand. When I take on a piece of work I always ask for the language to be used is specified. If the piece is for British, European or Australasian consumption then my Mother Tongue is used, however if the work is for a North American audience then you need to be able to Americanize your spellings.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned for writing for American readers; Supaproofread have put together a short writing tip on the differences between British American English wording and spellings.

You can of course simply avoid work that requires US English but to do so will wipe out a huge source of paid projects for you. US service buyers are also a lot easier to please than their British counterparts. The Americans like short sentences. They also do not like a comma, placed in the middle of the sentence.

One line paragraphs are perfectly acceptable.

If you are looking to be funny and far out just place a few exclamation marks at the end of your sentence!!!!!!

Dealing with the slight differences in spelling is simply achieved by turning your spell checker to the US English setting. In time you will pick up the differences in spelling – humor versus humour, color versus colour, aluminum versus aluminium and so on. Be very careful with a spellchecker as it will not identify all of your errs.

Writing for a British readership usually requires that you avoid the excessive use of hyperbole as it is quite literally the kiss of death. For an American audience it appears to be a case of the more the better. American audiences are far more at home with the outlandish than we are in the UK. They are also far more direct in approach when it comes to marketing copy so “Buy this cream and live 10 years more!” as a sales approach is common while a British audience would not give the copy the time of day.

American service buyers are also further down the marketing road when it comes to using keywords and key phrases in their content. Keywords and key phrases are those terms that are used by search engines in popular searches and in order to ensure that a web page is going to be highly ranked by a search engine it must be optimised (or optimized) for that keyword. This breaks into an area of content preparation that forms part of what is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. SEO is a term you will hear a lot when writing copy for the web and you will frequently be asked to include a keyword or phrase a number of times in the article you are to prepare.

For me personally, learning a little about SEO at an early stage of my writing career opened a lot of doors to paid writing projects which were SEO based. Typically, a project that is SEO based will ask that you use a keyword, say “MUSIC” and you will have to include it in the title, the first sentence of the first paragraph, a further three or four times in the article body and again in the last line of the last paragraph. It is not difficult to achieve with a little thought and practice (or practise) and writing SEO copy tends to command a small premium. SEO is a very broad subject and not for consideration here, but I would strongly recommend that you read about it on Wikipedia here.

For a host of services that will help you deliver clearer and better content take some time to look at our main site’s resources section