Does Profanity Hinder Professionalism?

by art72
32 replies
Hiya Peepers...

I'm stuck, locked up, bound, and gagged as I have the message written, research is done, have great credible proof to beat the message home...

But, there's the real me who feels "my real voice" tends to drop the concessional F-bomb as it emphasizes the impact, the point, and the severity of the problem(s) I'll be addressing.

I certainly don't want to limit my audience or appear "unprofessional" as there really is some deep intelligence buried in the project I am working on.

So... Which route do you prefer;

1.) Make it R-Rated, entertaining, and more real... but, be bold and profound in delivery?

2.) Refrain from fowl language as a "polite approach" to those who may be easily offended, or find it less than professional?

PS- Maybe this is more over a copywriting question, more aligned for targeting a specif reader/audience?
#hinders #profanity #professionalism
  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    Write it, then send it for review to a couple of people you trust to give you an opinion.

    It is up to you really which writing style you want to use.

    F bombs will possibly offend some of your audience - but you have to do what you feel is right in the end and you will be looking back at it one day and saying to yourself, "this is what I wrote."
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Use what you want but don't try to put lipstick on that pig. Using f-bombs does not guarantee "entertaining" and "more real". It's "same as" to me. I don't get offended but I'm not impressed when marketers use the lowest terminology they can find. Doesn't take any writing talent to do that.

    Always write to YOUR market. I've never seen someone lose list members or site visitors because they didn't use f-bombs. There are some 'guru-types' who use profanity because it appeals to their - young, mostly male - target audience. Your choice.

    Speaking of four letter words - I think you mean "foul language" not "fowl" - that would be the bird....
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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Use what you want but don't try to put lipstick on that pig. Using f-bombs does not guarantee "entertaining" and "more real". It's "same as" to me. I don't get offended but I'm not impressed when marketers use the lowest terminology they can find. Doesn't take any writing talent to do that.

      Always write to YOUR market. I've never seen someone lose list members or site visitors because they didn't use f-bombs. There are some 'guru-types' who use profanity because it appeals to their - young, mostly male - target audience. Your choice.

      Speaking of four letter words - I think you mean "foul language" not "fowl" - that would be the bird....
      You bring many valid points, My Lady! - Yeah, I definitely don't want to discriminate, as it's hard enough to know before I let it fly... who will reap benefit from my 'messages' ?

      I do value the written word, as it has (and continues to be) *******ized greatly as slang seems to be popular use in younger cultures, and comedians.

      Actually, "fowl" was an intentional pun, as a great deal of my writing is about releasing the birds and standing against a system I've come to almost despise spanning several topics, mostly, of which concern oppression and impressing fear upon the whole of humanity... story for another time, lol.

      OK... maybe my "pen name" would better serve that character, as opposed to my real name, as I do intent to build a sustainable business, and would hate to jeopardize a portion of the market for a few "unnecessary" F-Bombs.

      Oh, actually it was a popular copywriter (female) who was featured on the "ask me anything" whom sent me an email recently with an F-Bomb in the headline, that made me wonder... (kind of shocked me actually, didn't see it coming, and yet somehow... I kind of respected her use of the word)
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    Be yourself.

    That way, you attract the end users who are destined to love your style.

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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      Originally Posted by Sarevok View Post

      Be yourself.

      That way, you attract the end users who are destined to love your style.

      Yeah, I am torn man... my regular daily vocabulary includes profanity, and yet from a marketing perspective, I imagine as Kay points out it depends on the audience your targeting. I mean, that video Frank Kern did; "don't f..k around, and don't be a p.ssy" - there seems no better way to say it, lol.

      Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

      Go ahead - don't be a chicken.
      Oh, I'm not chicken I'm a big fat turkey... the only problem is, I don't want to be served with a prayer vigil and side of cranberry sauce on someone chopping block, lol.

      I think I'll mix it up... maybe I'll dedicate a newsletter to "Enter at Your Risk" type material, whereas, I intend to write some comedic stuff, outside of my main directives that are a bit more serious.

      Thanks,

      Art
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by art72 View Post


    2.) Refrain from fowl language ...
    Go ahead - don't be a chicken.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeadRooster
    Here's the truth: Using profanity in your writing is LAZY writing.

    ANYONE can come up with a profanity to express themselves. Talk to a dirt-poor alcoholic bum on the street... HE'LL show you how to do it RIGHT!

    Also, the less you use profanity the more impact it carries the few times you do use it. If every other word is the F-bomb, it won't carry the necessary impact on the rare occasion you really need it. By using it constantly you're softening the blow.

    Try writing for a couple of months without using profanity and see how much more expressive your writing becomes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by art72 View Post

    I certainly don't want to limit my audience or appear "unprofessional"

    Art,

    You have answered your own question.

    You have suggested that you "don't want to limit my audience or appear unprofessional." Surely you will be doing at least some of that with foul language and the f-bomb. How much, you'll never know.

    So your answer is . . . be polite and leave the rough language for someone else. You can still be yourself and create your own voice - just be sensitive to the portion of your audience that doesn't appreciate crude language.

    I have to agree with Kay . . . "I've never seen someone lose list members or site visitors because they didn't use f-bombs." Exactly.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Art,

      You have answered your own question.

      You have suggested that you "don't want to limit my audience or appear unprofessional." Surely you will be doing at least some of that with foul language and the f-bomb. How much, you'll never know.

      So your answer is . . . be polite and leave the rough language for someone else. You can still be yourself and create your own voice - just be sensitive to the portion of your audience that doesn't appreciate crude language.

      I have to agree with Kay . . . "I've never seen someone lose list members or site visitors because they didn't use f-bombs." Exactly.

      Steve
      You know I rarely ever do use it, and although I have several writing styles (I guess characters) from which I write, it just seemed that all the prime time shows, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc... all seem to have blockbuster series, audiences, and a following whereby, they include all aspects and perspectives in the writing... many of which include profanity. (*Not that I have time for tv, rarely ever watch it anymore!)

      With that said, I am no script writer, at least not yet, and my only character (despite several styles) in my writings is me!

      And if I am going to be real with people, some of what I will be touching on is sensitive materials, often over-looked (IMHO) and because it's scary, or borders a need for courage or bravery to face it... I just thought maybe an occasional "Slap in the face" would resonate louder and 'wake people up".

      As DeadRooster states above, I certainly would not use it from the perspective of a trash talking drunk... or as a overly used or in an abusive manner (with any great repetition) - just think like; "Risky Business" as in sometimes you just got to say; "WTF!"

      Now, I got to go change my sales page, as I had used a sentence reading; "If your easily offended or get weak in the knees over a few cuss words..." - THIS MIGHT NOT BE FOR YOU!

      *Although, it was meant to be taken as a joke to provoke people to download the Free Report! - not literally.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I would honestly say it depends on your crowd. If you're selling to a bunch of dudes who have 2 Harley motorcycles, and want another one.... they probably don't care about foul language in sales materials.

    But if you're selling to preachers and ministers about how to market their church/synagouge... obviously professionalism and non-foul language here is crucial.
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Art

    Mate when I making some videos for a client some good ole "How to" vids I was guilty of dropping a the F-bomb and a few poos as well

    He thought it was funny and told me to keep them in , so if you trying to be you than be you if you swear than swear.

    Jason
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGMa
    Hi Art, everybody (wavies)

    I'll tell ya' something, Art - somebody got the brilliant notion that using awkward words would cause more people to open emails and click through.

    Perhaps it does, dunno. What I do know is that the cadre of vendors using the practice in their headlines do not impress me, so I no longer open their emails. And I'm a serious buyer, always on the lookout for a really good tools that save me time and money.

    If I really like the product and know it will be a good investment, I'll go hunt down an affiliate who is polite and respectful toward his viewers.

    And that's really the point. IMO, using awkward, suggestive, or downright vulgar words and phrases tells me that the marketer doesn't honestly give a hoot about his viewers; he's only, strictly, focused to the point of wearing blinders, focused to the point of belittling his customers, focused on making sales.

    Art, you are one cool dude. I always like your posts, I recommend your posts to others and gosh, golly, gee - there's not a profane word in any of them.

    -Annie
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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      Originally Posted by TheGMa View Post

      Hi Art, everybody (wavies)

      I'll tell ya' something, Art - somebody got the brilliant notion that using awkward words would cause more people to open emails and click through.

      Perhaps it does, dunno. What I do know is that the cadre of vendors using the practice in their headlines do not impress me, so I no longer open their emails. And I'm a serious buyer, always on the lookout for a really good tools that save me time and money.

      If I really like the product and know it will be a good investment, I'll go hunt down an affiliate who is polite and respectful toward his viewers.

      And that's really the point. IMO, using awkward, suggestive, or downright vulgar words and phrases tells me that the marketer doesn't honestly give a hoot about his viewers; he's only, strictly, focused to the point of wearing blinders, focused to the point of belittling his customers, focused on making sales.

      Art, you are one cool dude. I always like your posts, I recommend your posts to others and gosh, golly, gee - there's not a profane word in any of them.

      -Annie
      Smiles... and waives back!

      I appreciate it, although lately, I have been letting a few f-bombs drop, on a couple of posts, perhaps it's the creative process taking a toll, IDK.

      Having concluded that much of what I am writing centers on personal development type stuff, I don't think it's the right audience for that lingo.

      Annie, your absolutely right, I rarely ever write profanity... not nearly as much as it find it's way from my tongue, and even then it depends on the company I am in. Clearly, if I am playing cards in a casino with folks that have a few years on me... you can bet, I rarely speak profanely simply out of respect.

      Thinking back, I actually did unsubscribe from a warrior's email a few years back... as the first couple times they used F-bombs it got my attention, after seeing it was becoming a habit, even I who is known to cuss found it redundant... and unsubscribed, as it was not a direction I saw as smart marketing.

      As SteveB mentioned, I think to have answered my own question, although in the right audience, maybe a different list, I think the idea could fly.

      Thanks,

      Art
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  • Profile picture of the author nergis
    refrain from foul language - in the short run or in the long run its definitely less professional...
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  • Profile picture of the author michaelscollins
    The only answer that matters here, from an internet marketing standpoint, is this...

    Does your message attract the people you want directly to you, or not?

    Professionalism is not necessarily relevant in a business standpoint. In a job it absolutely is. But as business owners we create our own lives-- we don't have it dictated to us.

    You'll find many, many centi-millionaires and billionaires using harsh language. Some of them are obvious about it, some are more subtle.

    I'm not really sure that I've ever met someone truly successful who doesn't use the occasional foul language.

    Context matters. If your audience is people who will be offended by cursing, then refrain from doing so. And highlight the other aspects of your presentation that also go along with this type of person.

    And I highly disagree that using profanity in writing is easy. I hardly use it, and I would like to use it. My customers enjoy tasteful profanity. But I rarely find a way to use it without cheapening the writing. Something to work on.
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  • Profile picture of the author concerro
    Be you. Yeah the cussing will cost you some customers, but if you are speaking(I mean really speaking) to your audience you will be ok. Gary V, and a few others do use profanity. Just don't do it for shock value.
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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

      There's this guy in one of the Facebook copy groups, I call him the "Shit" copywriter. I've never read anything he's written that didn't have that word. Since he has earned the title of a shit copywriter, in my mind, I wouldn't hire him. Because, a copywriter should have a command of the language. A COMMAND.

      And be able to communicate that command.

      On the other hand, I would (and have) buy from some of the profane gurus, because they have made that part of their persona. Wouldn't want to spend time with them, but

      we don't have to like or love all of
      our teachers either.


      gjabiz

      PS I don't concern myself with other people's opinions; good, bad or indifferent. Who has the time?
      Gordon,

      Appreciate the manner which you define writing as ; "A COMMAND"

      Makes sense, every piece has to either invoke thought or provoke action. Seems I almost write better when people provoke me, it's actually what spawned this question.

      Originally Posted by Sean DeSilva View Post

      There are certain groups where profanity and "yo mama" style dissing actually builds rapport. Not my style and not an audience that the vast majority of my clients market to.
      Yeah, I'm not trying to go straight-street-talking-trash just yet, maybe an occasional WTF?

      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      I write like I speak, with the context in mind. For my personal brands, I do include the occasional swear because that's the word my brain chose to insert in that moment.

      I'm also sporting large tattoos and visible piercings and most people who know me know I'm a rocker. It's not entirely off-brand. And I don't want it to be a surprise when I inevitably meet someone face to face. I swear. I don't use it every other word. But if I'm passionate about something, rest assured I'm gonna drop some f-bombs.

      That said, I work for a corporation. When I'm acting as THEIR voice, I of course am not going to advocate profanity. It's not part of the character of their voice. It IS part of the character of MY voice.

      I guess what I'm getting at is - don't overthink it. Use what feels natural to you and understand the given context. There are some clients I'd never swear with. Some I would. And some, we'd make fun of this whole never-ending debate over swearing vs. not swearing with some amusing ones like "son of a biscuit" and "fudgecicles".
      Well Angie "You Rock!" - Yeah, that's who I am too, less the tattoos, never could bring myself to like needles enough to get pricked on purpose.

      Your response just clarified something I am struggling with, as almost everything I'm working on is from a personal perspective, philosophy, or experience, I imagine there will come a time when I'll be writing 'as the voice' for another, and then it will matter.

      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      I tend to drop the f bomb and other word bombs quite often. I usually write like I speak. Not always on this forum...but in a lot of things I write.

      A friend of mine has also become very successful writing the way she speaks...and often it can be quite graphic. Thing is, her target audience is women...so those who say it is only effective when speaking to the rough and tough men are quite wrong.

      Ash is one of the highest paid copywriters around. She's worked for some of the biggest and best companies. Last I knew she's completely booked up through 2016. Aren't all good copywriters usually booked up?

      I would say this though, most of the things she does for companies doesn't include the "f" word, but she has a tendency to stay within her character and say things most would be afraid to say.

      The people that hire her are familiar with her personality. All you have to do is check out her site and look around and you'll see her style.

      https://www.themiddlefingerproject.org/
      You know I used to visit another forum Wicked Fire (kinda dead over there now) - and it was fun, people said whatever they wanted to, and it made less formal and more real.

      Maybe, I'll create a "special newsletter" where I can vent, throw out some comedic shit, drop an F-bomb here and again, and just cut loose. God forbid I ever write a auto-biography I don't think it could be written and told in truth without cussing, lol.

      For obvious reasons, better I probably leave it out of my marketing materials though.

      Originally Posted by JesseGilbert1 View Post

      I wouldn't unsubscribe and I've spent plenty of money with people who are real so yeah no prob with me.
      Yeah, I follow some of Frank kern's stuff, and you know he's probably the only one that even comes to mind that actually does a great job of letting it fly (that I know of anyway) and makes it stick!

      Originally Posted by flipperhacks View Post

      There's a lot of good suggestions here.

      I definitely would write out a piece and send it to a few people and get them to tell me what they think.

      Noah Kagan and Gary Vee both swear their head off and works well for them so it definitely can work if you can build it in the right way!
      I think for certain projects, audiences, and the right placement it could be a future project of mine. I'm learning to not care what anyone thinks... and yet, the concern remains for my audience... or else I'll be eating oodles of noodles for ever!
      Originally Posted by concerro View Post

      Be you. Yeah the cussing will cost you some customers, but if you are speaking(I mean really speaking) to your audience you will be ok. Gary V, and a few others do use profanity. Just don't do it for shock value.
      Like Angie said, the real me does use every ounce of the language to get a point across or drive home a message, and being I am just now getting ready to put feelers out to see what kind of responses, reactions, and actions my writing possesses - kinda thinking it's better to ease in and take the high road for now.



      Thanks all, didn't realize the mods moved it from the main thread, probably belonged here anyway, after all if anyone could tell me, it's people who write for a living!

      -Art
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  • Profile picture of the author flipperhacks
    There's a lot of good suggestions here.

    I definitely would write out a piece and send it to a few people and get them to tell me what they think.

    Noah Kagan and Gary Vee both swear their head off and works well for them so it definitely can work if you can build it in the right way!
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  • Profile picture of the author JesseGilbert1
    Banned
    I wouldn't unsubscribe and I've spent plenty of money with people who are real so yeah no prob with me.
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    Originally Posted by art72 View Post

    Hiya Peepers...

    I'm stuck, locked up, bound, and gagged as I have the message written, research is done, have great credible proof to beat the message home...

    But, there's the real me who feels "my real voice" tends to drop the concessional F-bomb as it emphasizes the impact, the point, and the severity of the problem(s) I'll be addressing.

    I certainly don't want to limit my audience or appear "unprofessional" as there really is some deep intelligence buried in the project I am working on.

    So... Which route do you prefer;

    1.) Make it R-Rated, entertaining, and more real... but, be bold and profound in delivery?

    2.) Refrain from fowl language as a "polite approach" to those who may be easily offended, or find it less than professional?

    PS- Maybe this is more over a copywriting question, more aligned for targeting a specif reader/audience?
    There's this guy in one of the Facebook copy groups, I call him the "Shit" copywriter. I've never read anything he's written that didn't have that word. Since he has earned the title of a shit copywriter, in my mind, I wouldn't hire him. Because, a copywriter should have a command of the language. A COMMAND.

    And be able to communicate that command.

    On the other hand, I would (and have) buy from some of the profane gurus, because they have made that part of their persona. Wouldn't want to spend time with them, but

    we don't have to like or love all of
    our teachers either.


    gjabiz

    PS I don't concern myself with other people's opinions; good, bad or indifferent. Who has the time?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean DeSilva
    There are certain groups where profanity and "yo mama" style dissing actually builds rapport. Not my style and not an audience that the vast majority of my clients market to.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    I write like I speak, with the context in mind. For my personal brands, I do include the occasional swear because that's the word my brain chose to insert in that moment.

    I'm also sporting large tattoos and visible piercings and most people who know me know I'm a rocker. It's not entirely off-brand. And I don't want it to be a surprise when I inevitably meet someone face to face. I swear. I don't use it every other word. But if I'm passionate about something, rest assured I'm gonna drop some f-bombs.

    That said, I work for a corporation. When I'm acting as THEIR voice, I of course am not going to advocate profanity. It's not part of the character of their voice. It IS part of the character of MY voice.

    I guess what I'm getting at is - don't overthink it. Use what feels natural to you and understand the given context. There are some clients I'd never swear with. Some I would. And some, we'd make fun of this whole never-ending debate over swearing vs. not swearing with some amusing ones like "son of a biscuit" and "fudgecicles".
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    I tend to drop the f bomb and other word bombs quite often. I usually write like I speak. Not always on this forum...but in a lot of things I write.

    A friend of mine has also become very successful writing the way she speaks...and often it can be quite graphic. Thing is, her target audience is women...so those who say it is only effective when speaking to the rough and tough men are quite wrong.

    Ash is one of the highest paid copywriters around. She's worked for some of the biggest and best companies. Last I knew she's completely booked up through 2016. Aren't all good copywriters usually booked up?

    I would say this though, most of the things she does for companies doesn't include the "f" word, but she has a tendency to stay within her character and say things most would be afraid to say.

    The people that hire her are familiar with her personality. All you have to do is check out her site and look around and you'll see her style.

    https://www.themiddlefingerproject.org/
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  • Profile picture of the author DKCopywriter
    Depends entirely on the audience. If you use profanity when you're trying to sell child care services, it's not a good idea.

    However, for "Rock 'n' Roll" or raunchy type products,sure. Sometimes profanity works. Ever been to Dick's Last Resort?
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    • Profile picture of the author art72
      =DKCopywriter;10656555

      However, for "Rock 'n' Roll" or raunchy type products,sure. Sometimes profanity works. Ever been to Dick's Last Resort?
      I've been to the House of Blues, and the Hard Rock a few times when I lived in Orlando... but despite knowing exactly where the Premium Outlet mall is, never have been there.

      I'll definitely have to check out "Dick's Last Resort" next time I go see my 18 year old daughter, she's living up there, and she rocks too!
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      • Profile picture of the author DKCopywriter
        Originally Posted by art72 View Post

        I've been to the House of Blues, and the Hard Rock a few times when I lived in Orlando... but despite knowing exactly where the Premium Outlet mall is, never have been there.

        I'll definitely have to check out "Dick's Last Resort" next time I go see my 18 year old daughter, she's living up there, and she rocks too!
        It's a chain where the waiters/hosts/etc treat you like shit (in a funny way!). They give you large hats to wear while you eat. On the hats, they write sexual innuendos and jokes at your own expense. It's a pretty fun time!
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        • Profile picture of the author art72
          Originally Posted by DKCopywriter View Post

          It's a chain where the waiters/hosts/etc treat you like shit (in a funny way!). They give you large hats to wear while you eat. On the hats, they write sexual innuendos and jokes at your own expense. It's a pretty fun time!
          Heck...maybe I outta move back up there and get a job there, I could be good at that, at least until my writing takes off, lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author DFearon
    I don't know if you've read any of John Romaniello's fitness products (Engineering the Alpha) but his Facebook is pretty entertaining to keep up with. I remember someone calling him out for dropping too many profanities, so I have some vague memory of him telling them where to stick their "offense". I'm a big believer in buying into someone as much as their products. I can tell very early on that that Ferrari and rent a family is clearly fake, I'd rather see the real you. Billionaires can swear too. Let's not pretend we don't live in the real world. If you have character, please show the world who you are. Having said all that if you're in with the bank manager screaming for more money, best to leave them out
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  • art72,

    Write then test. Write then test. Write then test. Write then test. Write then test.

    Opinions are free and conditional and subject to change. Today I may feel like it's okay to use profanity, but tomorrow I may feel like it's not a path one should take.

    Let your buyers decide. Their transactions settle the matter.
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  • Profile picture of the author n m
    Originally Posted by art72 View Post

    Refrain from fowl language as a "polite approach" to those who may be easily offended, or find it less than professional?
    I've seen it work both ways. Whatever suits your personality best will attract the audience you most enjoy interacting with.
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  • Profile picture of the author PBScott
    I think this ex president still looks like a professional.


    Sorry a bit off topic.
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