I saw something that made me chuckle this morning, in the Ontraport Facebook group.
Some chap had made a landing page with the headline “Wake The Fuck Up!”
And some other chap had commented: “How about expanding your vocabulary to not have to be offensive in your headline?”
It always cracks me up when some prissy twat accuses sweary-pants like me of having a limited vocabulary. Particularly when it’s self-evident that we have at least one more word at our disposal than they do…
Thing is, swear words are just words. That’s all. They only gain the power of the profane when people complain about them. “Fuck” was a commonly used word way back when. It wasn’t a swear word. It was just a descriptive word. I’ve no idea how or why it gained such notoriety (ooh, look, a five-syllable word there, vocabulary fans!) but it’s utterly immaterial.
When writing, or speaking, or selling, you should always choose the best words for the job. If you’re speaking to the local Parish Council, you probably don’t want to drop any F-bombs. And definitely no C-bombs.
But if you’re speaking to your target audience, your ideal customer, and they’re not fussed about profanity, swear your little socks off.
I’m not saying you should always swear in your marketing. But when it’s appropriate? Or to make a point? Go for it.
Here’s something interesting: I fucking love swearing. I do. But I couldn’t watch The Wire. I tried, but it was a constant stream of F-bombs to the point where I couldn’t really work out what was being said. So I gave up.
But dropping the odd obscenity into my marketing? No problem with that at all.
Because the people who like my style will continue to like my style, and I’ll draw them in ever closer.
And those who somehow think a few letters arranged into a word can implode their world? They can knob off. And probably will. And that’s great because I don’t want that type of person in my world.
It’s all about polarisation, see?
So, grab your Dictionary of the Profane and get invective.
Even better: make up your own sweary vocabulary. Drive the cockwombles out.
Do you know what else can help you build your tribe? Polarise your market so you drive out those who will be crap customers for you, and draw in those who’ll love you?
And guess what?
I can help you do that.
Pop on over to my website and get your mitts on a copy of my book, Business For Superheroes. It will give you lots of tried and tested ways to improve your marketing and attract your ideal clients.
Go for it!
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS The other thing that made me chuckle about that prissy twat’s comment was the “offensive” part of it. Because while I think that people who are deliberately awful and insulting to others are asshats, so are people who make a living out of taking offence where none is directed or meant.
Because what that statement “I find this offensive” actually means is, “I’ve had an emotional reaction to this thing you’ve just said, and I want you to deal with it for me.” It’s the petulant whine of a spoiled child who thinks the world should work according to their own arcane rules, regardless of what everyone else thinks, feels, or wants.
So if you don’t get offended easily; read my book!