Rip up the rule book of business copy
I tried to put a lid on my personality when I started writing my business copy. I thought I needed to be something else in order for serious and important grown-ups to buy from me. I’m talking about the business I own.
What a complete cock.
I dunno about you but I’m tired of hearing what is and isn’t acceptable in business, especially from people who are frankly, really fucking dull.
Ok, we need to talk about swearing
There will always be those that dislike swearing.
Some might view it as degenerate or a lack of control. They might also suggest that those that like a good swear have a limited vocabulary. I could argue against all those points but it’s fruitless. And if you’re swearing in your business copy, people who are sensitive to profanity won’t continue reading – it will instantly turn them off.
And that’s the point.
It’s fine not to like swearing, perfectly acceptable, live and let live I say. But what I do find slightly tiresome is the condescending tone of those who don’t appreciate a potty mouth. It’s great that you don’t like it, Karen, doesn’t mean no one else shouldn’t like it.
If you hated broccoli, would you insist Tesco stop selling it? No, because you’d sound like an entitled arsehole whose own feelings were more important than everyone else’s. You just wouldn’t buy broccoli, would you?
This all reminds me of a certain, Linkedin debacle.
“Fisting Norman Lamont”* was a phrase reported by the morality Gestapo. The Julian Clary quote was used in context by me (believe it or not) but anyone would have thought I was actually fisting Mr Lamont due to the speed with which the comment was removed.
At 78 I think he’d sooner have an afternoon nap or, be dead.
When did we get so puritanical? What motivates a person to censor a stranger? Perhaps in my case, they thought I was a very real threat to poor Norman. Again, it’s about the perception of what is and isn’t acceptable in business (and in life).
Because even actual fisting is acceptable in business. It just depends what line of work you’re in
“I love your blog, but it’s a shame swear?”
But that is part of my blogging style and no one has to swear, the same way we don’t have to eat sugary treats – those things give us pleasure.
Swearing is a great literary device used to hammer home a point and/or make you laugh. Marketers and ad agencies play with those words all the time – to grab attention. They do the same with sexual references. As a nation, we love a double entendre. We’re from the country that brought the world the Carry On movies for chrissake!
“You only do it to shock”
Sure, sometimes but If you think swearing is shocking you should try watching Naked Attraction on C4.
I’m not suggesting you start throwing the f-bomb around, I just want you to imagine a world beyond what you think is acceptable in your content.
People like to play things safe. I understand that. This is why magnolia paint has always been popular. And yet, it’s boring and has no personality. It would fade into the background – except, it is the background.
Keep your business copy formal?
You might dress for dinner, you might equally keep things formal with all your copy because that’s the sort of uptight individual that you are.
I like to think of my webcopy as ‘smart casual’ – my blog posts range from that of ‘leisurewear’ to ‘clean, but stained, Pyjamas’.
It’s fun for me to play around with language – writing a business blog that isn’t businessy is all part of why I enjoy doing it. I want to offer some helpful information and make you splutter out a dirty laugh while you read it.
Attracting your clients only
You need to find out what ‘professional’ means to you in terms of your business copy and how that grabs the clients you really want. Take a look at my post about writing great business content.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I take my work very seriously, but how I talk about it is anything but serious. If you don’t believe me then you should read this post about dating and content.
know you’ll probably prefer to keep the tone of your content, neutral. It’s business right, so you don’t want to narrow your market by speaking to one type of client.
Except, that’s exactly what you want to do.
If you’re a polarising personality or have a very distinct manner, why not be that in business? That could be your USP. Even arseholes get work – look at Piers Morgan.
This guy bought my book, he said it was clear I knew what I was doing but he didn’t like the way I presented it. He didn’t care for my brand tone. He hoped I’d develop it further. He wasn’t keen on sarcasm and thought I should change. Nah, mate. You’re not my audience. This isn’t rocket science.
Finding your natural style with your own copy will attract people just because you’re not pretending to be the thing you think your prospects want. They will come to you because of how you present your business. So whilst my swearing, sarcasm, and irreverence might turn people away, it’s also attracting the people that like it.
Writing for your business
Before someone loses their shit and wants to shout-spit in my face I will say, of course, there are industries that require an impartial tone. If you’re writing legal documents and medical papers, bringing a few ‘fucks’ to the party probably won’t fly. But that kind of writing isn’t trying to attract clients – its sole purpose is to present facts.
What if your tone is neutral by nature?
Then I will pray for you.
Seriously, I don’t pray but I might mutter “Jesus Christ!” and shake my head. Listen, if you’re quiet and unassuming – be that for your business copy, you’ll likely attract the kind of clients that you want. It’s not about being something other than who you are.
*Here is that infamous Julian Clary joke. Also, my comment wasn’t reported. I jumped to conclusions – turns out LinkedIn was being really glitchy and not loading comments. Ooops…
I really don’t want you to miss out on my other great content so please take a look at what my blog has for you.
If you’d like to know more about how I can help you, hit the button.