Being a good copywriter doesn’t mean writing in completely formal language or applying all the rules that are taught in school. Creating marketing content is different from writing a biography or perhaps a very formal official email. There is usually room for being funny or ironic in marketing content.
In order to write a good product description or sales copy, for instance, the reader must feel like you are talking to them. They shouldn’t feel like you are giving them a lecture or forcing them to take a certain action. They should be able to feel what you are telling them and relate your words with their day-to-day life experiences.
For that to happen, you need to adopt a very frank tone so that the reader’s mind can flow with your words.
But does that mean if you’re writing for an audience that you know uses a lot of British slang, you need to use a lot of British slang words in your copy?
Before we answer that question, let’s define what British slang really is.
What is British slang?
British slang terms refer to very informal English language terms, usually spoken more than written, and used especially by the British. People from a few other countries such as South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand also sometimes use British slang. Canadian slang is also a bit similar to British slang.
It is hard to draw a fine line between what’s British slang and what’s not because the language of British slang keeps changing all the time. The youth keeps coming up with new words and phrases, and when they use them frequently, they get added to the UK slang.
Some common British slang terms are as follows.
· ‘all to pot’,
· ‘brass monkeys’,
· ‘legged it’,
· ‘crack on’,
· ‘faffing around’.
When and how to use British slang?
UK slang, even though informal, is not always crude or vulgar. In fact, some UK slang words are used so smoothly that nobody even realizes or feels that they’re slang.
So if you use them in your copy, would the readers also take it as something normal? Well, that mainly depends on three main factors.
1. What kind of product you’re selling
2. Who your target audience is
3. What media you are using to publish that content
One risk in using British slang in any marketing content is that all slang can get outdated very quickly. So if you post something online to market your business, and you include some British slang in it which, even though you’re not aware but, is right at the brink of getting outdated, you might end up appearing like a fool to someone who reads your content after a couple of months.
It is important to keep in mind the demographics of your target audience, and specifically their age bracket in this case. Old people are usually less comfortable with being spoken to in slang language. Clearly, if you use slang language in an advert for a wheelchair, the bigger portion of your target audience is likely to be old men and women. It would definitely not be useful, or even appropriate, to use British slang in such an advert.
Besides the demographics of the audience, the platform or medium that you’re using to publish your marketing content also makes a lot of difference in determining whether or not it is appropriate to include slang.
Let’s discuss a few different online marketing media.
- Using British slang in sales copy
For instance, if you’re selling medical equipment or offering financial advisory services, you might want to avoid using any kind of slang in your sales copy. The purpose of a financial consultant is to solve or advise on people’s money-related problems. Most people don’t like anyone to talk overly frankly with them about their financial situation or money matters.
If you use British slang in an article that’s promoting financial consultancy services, the readers might feel more like you are mocking them instead of giving them a solution to manage their finances efficiently.
- Using British slang in social media posts
On the other hand, let’s say you are running an e-commerce site, and to make the most out of your online store, you post and promote on social media about the beauty products or funky gadgets you’re selling. In this case, feel free to use a very friendly, spoken tone, and you can even fit in some British slang words in the flow. When you talk to your customers in the style they use to talk to each other, they will resonate with you more, and thus you’ll be able to send your message across more effectively.
It’s for the same reason that adverts and sales copy of beauty creams can even be funny – because the subject at hand (i.e. adding beauty to one’s appearance) is not as sensitive as someone looking for advice on how to come out of bankruptcy.
- Using British slang in blog articles
When it comes to blog articles, it’s important to maintain the right balance between using a friendly tone and providing the factual information that your readers are looking for in a slightly firmer tone. For that reason, usually, it wouldn’t be appropriate to use UK slang in an article that’s going to be published on a blog.
If you are a blogger or want to become a blogger, you would probably know that the best way to write a blog post is to use a light-hearted oral conversational tone. But sometimes, writing exactly the way you talk could get risky. It’s one thing to let your readers resonate with you, but another to get so familiar to them that you start using British slang in a way that they feel offended or alienated.
- Using British slang on a corporate website
Corporate websites, or in other words, websites that showcase a company’s business and describe the products or services it offers, are a platform for the most professional, straight-forward and formal-sounding marketing content about a business. The same goes for brand websites.
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Reducing the risks involved in using British slang
If you are too accustomed to using British terms in your daily conversations, and thus you simply cannot avoid using it in any marketing content you write, then there is a way to at least reduce the risks involved in doing so, and that is, using slang in combination with emojis.
The point is, if you use some British slang in your web content, and then you feel that your website now sounds a bit harsh, you can compensate for it by taking other measures, such as using emojis.
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It’s even very easy to edit your website in Strikingly. If you use British slang on a webpage, for instance, and now you want to remove it, you don’t need to look into the code. You can simply click on the part you want to edit, make the changes you want, and publish instantly. This rids you of the hassle of having to contact your developer every time you need to make, for instance, a small tweak in some British terms you used in the text. Those of you who have dealt with web developers in the past would surely know what I’m talking about!
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Strikingly is also suitable for starting your own blog because you’ll have complete freedom over your style of writing and editing your writing whenever you want. You won’t even need to worry if you use too many British slang words in your articles because if needed, you can change the text on your blog anytime.
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