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Writing for the UK and American markets

Knowing your audience – How to write for the UK and American markets

It is important to recognise the differences that exist either side of the Atlantic.

Target market. An oft used phrase, but what does it mean?

Communicating with fellow human beings is a key ingredient in the rich tapestry of life. Be it on a personal or business level, the volume of information readily available for consumption is profound. Though when the time arrives to translate those conversations to words on a page, do you give consideration to the people you are writing for – your target market?

Having completed work for both British and American clients, I want to share with you a couple of tips on how to ensure your content is fit for its intended audience. 

Tech no, or tech yes?

Software and apps (and their settings) can only help you to a certain point.

It is important you are mindful of who you are writing for. On which side of the Atlantic Ocean will your text be read?


To ensure you hold the complete attention of those you are writing for (your target market), it is imperative to address even the slightest difference. After all, if you are writing for a British magazine your content should not be awash with Americanisms, and vice versa.

Understanding the British English and the American English ways of referring to words will help you captivate your audience.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • Should it be ‘organisation’ (UK) or ‘organization’ (American)?
  • Is it ‘colour’ (UK) or ‘color’ (American)?
  • Do you mean ‘flavour’ (UK) or ‘flavor’ (American)?

Be aware of the differences that exist, as one thing is for sure, your audience will!

Should you mind your language?

Vocabulary can also differ depending on which side of ‘the pond’ your work is for. Being conscious of particular names attributed to items and the phrases familiar to your audience can be key contributors to the success of your product.

So do your research and understand the terms known to your target market.

Examples may include:

  • ‘Anti-clockwise’ (UK) or ‘counter-clockwise’ (American)
  • ‘Autumn’ (UK) or ‘fall’ (American)
  • ‘Term’ (UK) or ‘semester’ (American).

The take away

Knowing your audience is crucial. If you are unsure, then ask! After all, it is better to ask questions at the outset than questions being asked of you following document submission.

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