If you’ve been following Derryck’s recent UK copywriting experiment, you know that he’s looking to find out if copywriting alone can influence search ranking.

Now, I have to admit something to you.

I am not a UK-native copywriter.

Shh. Don’t tell Derryck.

Just kidding. He knows.

You see, I’m Canadian, and although I’m a native English speaker and copywriter, I had a lot to learn about UK copywriting when I immigrated.

English isn’t always English

This might be apparent to some, but there are vast differences between my English and the ‘real’ English. Copywriting in Canada is different to copywriting here.

I have two children. I tell people they are bilingual: Canadian and English. For some things, the difference is small and subtle (we both use ‘our’ in ‘colour’ for example), but for some expressions, the difference is an ocean apart. Here’s a quick list of English to Canadian translations for those who think there isn’t much difference.

UK → Canadian
Cooker → stove
Nappy → diaper
Garden → yard
Vegetable patch / flower bed → garden
Woolly hat → toque (rhymes with ‘fluke’)

And those are just a few. There are dozens of terms that don’t have the same meaning between the two countries. ‘Cheap’ for example.

When is a copywriter not a UK copywriter?

When they have no connection to the country but a television and a book.

My wife was born and raised here, so I got to know the local expressions pretty well by virtue of our relationship. Even so, I still had a lot of listening and learning to do when it came to my copywriting job. I still get things a little wrong, but for the most part, I think I write more like a UK copywriter now than a Canadian copywriter.

My mom (mum) says I speak differently, but that it’s my expressions and not my accent that sound different. Thanks mom.

A lot of those content-factories that Derryck was talking about are staffed with writers that not only don’t live here – they’re not even native English speakers! So, a lot of what they produce (cheaply) is hollow-sounding or irregular, or at worst completely unintelligible. Cheap UK copywriting is, well…cheap.

I salute the search experiment

Because I worked hard to become a copywriter (and I’m still working hard at it), I applaud Derryck’s experiment. I think you can’t have cheap and still have a quality brand. But, maybe I’m wrong too.

What do you think? Do you think we can just use auto-blogging software or $1-per-hour writers and get anything worthwhile out of it?

by Steve Kellas

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