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April 04, 2017
If you are a regular on the “self-help” merry-go-round and love your videos, memes, blog posts and accessories, you’ve probably noticed the shift toward using profanity to help get messages across. And I’m not talking about dropping the occasional F-bomb just for impact…it is more like a minefield of fuck this, fuck that and fuck the other thing these days.
Naturally, some people have a strong aversion to profanity of any kind, so the message is lost on them. But for those that don’t mind profanity as a rule, how does this avalanche of foul language sit with you?
It’s not difficult to understand why some new age gurus like to use profanity. They want to really make an impact, they want to be a badass, be themselves, fight the establishment and show that you can succeed without really fitting in. Most of us are raised with the notion that it’s socially unacceptable to swear when in public or when around people we don’t know well. So, peppering every sentence with profanity shows that they don’t care about the conventional rules of society, and they are doing things their own way
Being yourself is a great way to live, but is this approach effective? Judging by the lists of social media followers for the top profanity-laced gurus, this method is tremendously popular. Just one tweet or Instagram post gets thousands of likes and responses, and people really seem to relate.
Now, whether or not these same people actually take the actions prescribed by said gurus remains to be seen. Tuning in to see someone say “fuck” 14 times in a 30-second video and taking massive action to change your life are two different things. Many will commend these gutsy gurus for being revolutionary, while others will simply refer to them as being lazy for not finding more effective words to use in their messages to the masses.
As someone who immerses himself in words every single day, I have no issue with using profanity. That little kid in the back (or front, depending who you ask) of my mind still thinks it is kind of cool. However, when I watch “self-help” gurus litter each message with profanity, the underlying message gets muffled for me. I find that I’m paying more attention to the swearing and less to what they are trying to say. Maybe I’m just a simpleton, but there’s a good chance the same is true for many others.
In our business, and in any kind of marketing endeavor, your words are the tools you use to provide information and to cause action to take place. Profanity is one of those tools, but when you choose one tool and try to use it for everything, it generally loses its impact. If the message itself is worth listening to or worth reading, then throwing in an F-Bomb at the right time can be incredibly effective.
Have you ever met someone that rarely swears, then becomes frustrated and hurls a couple profanities in your direction? You stood up and took notice, didn’t you? That’s because they used a highly effective tool at the right time, and you hadn’t been numbed to its effect.
As for the how much is too much question…that’s up to you. For me, it’s always about results. If profanity is used in a machine gun like fashion through every correspondence and that guru gets more converts, signups, sales and conversions, then it’s not too much. If they get tons of followers for the shock factor and a minuscule conversion rate, then it’s too much.
When it comes to your content writing, consider your audience before you proceed down the path of replacing every adjective you’ve ever learned with some variation of the word “fuck”. That’s not to say you should never use it, but consider it a tool, and only bring it out when it will best serve your interests and goals.
For high-quality, custom content creation with as much or as little profanity as you want, give The Content Company a call today at 888.221.5041. And feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to chime in on this topic.
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