My mother finally got around to coming over to my blog (she claims I never sent her a link, but she lies. She lied when she told me I couldn’t have a cupcake, too. She is an excellent liar when she chooses to be. Where do you think I learned the roguish tendencies?). She’s also a marketing expert, so the very first thing she did after she told me she loves my writing (because the mom gene comes first) was send me an itemized list of questions and critiques. Number one on this list – yes, she numbered this list – was:
1. Why swear or use off-color language when your clients (and mother) might read them and be put-off?
It took me awhile to answer this question, but I can almost guarantee the next nine words are going to make my poor mom sorry she asked it.
This Blog is Not My Business. It’s My Pub.
Here’s how I think about it. My business, Good Ink, is my place of work. Actually ‘place of work’ sounds awfully hoity-toity. It’s my office. It’s my nose-grinder. It’s the place with the flourescent lights and the water cooler and that accounting guy who picks his nose in front of you. I spend my whole day there, and I like my work, but when I’m done, I am done.
This blog, Rogue Ink, is the pub I go to after work. It’s where all my buddies are, where other people who work hard all day can hang out and commiserate. Brett Legree is here in his kilt and Naomi Dunford is mocking him about it, and Bob Younce is here talking stuff over with James Chartrand, and I am trying to say something funny enough to get Sandie Law to snort something out of her nose. There are a couple new guys here too, and we’re going to make them play darts later, and they don’t even know it.
If a client comes on into the bar, that’s great, and I will probably offer to buy that client a beer. By and large, I really like my clients, and I am thoroughly psyched if my client wants to come and hang out at my blog. However, I do not expect that client to be shocked that I said the word ‘hell’ to the barkeep while ordering him his drink. We are no longer in the office. We are at the pub. We’re going to tell stories and shoot the breeze and talk about other things than business. Later there’s going to be a pinata and a reggae band and Wendi Kelly and Matt Tuley will sing karaoke duets. It will be awesome.
That Damned Polonius Quote Again
This is all Harrison’s fault. “To thine own self be true,” he said, but he also said this, and I liked this better: “The thing is, this is your personality. If you try to fit your site/blog into something you’re not, it will show through and no amount of sprucing up will help you with that inconsistency.”
He is right. I am a funny, funny chick. I make people laugh. I get my client’s voices because I like talking to them, finding out about them, and I like knowing what cracks them up. If they want to hire a copywriter who really gets them and can also handle the professional part of meeting deadlines and marketing strategically, they have found their woman. If they want someone who never says a word stronger than ‘darn’ and would faint at the very idea of an off-color pun, they should hire someone else. I will refer them myself. I don’t want those people unhappy. If I can’t make them happy, I will send them to someone who can.
I can make an awful lot of people happy, though. I know. I’ve tried.
There’s Nothing For ‘Em Here
Mitch Hedberg tells a good story. I like this one: “I was in downtown Boise Idaho and I saw a duck. I knew the duck was lost, because ducks aren’t supposed to be downtown. There’s nothing for ’em there.” True. There’s nothing for ducks in downtown Boise, Idaho. And there is nothing for clients seeking posts on copywriting at Rogue Ink.
I know there’s a possibility clients may come around the blog just looking for useful information and articles on copywriting. I am sorry to tell them we do not offer that service at this pub. We offer useful information and articles, made to deliver, all day long at Good Ink. Here at the pub we mostly tell jokes about weevil sex and make fun of bad grammar. Sometimes we touch on copywriting, but it is bounded by jokes about being broke and frosted with rants about cheese, and I am pretty sure they were looking for something more straightforward than that.
I know that it may take them awhile to figure this out, because other blogs often have useful information, and they are not yet aware that we don’t play by the books over here at the Rogue Ink pub. And while they are figuring it out, it is possible they might see a bad word. So I will probably, when the website is up and running, have something right at the top of the blog that indicates this is not a Shop O’ Useful Copywriting Tips. It is a Pub O’ Awesomely Random. And if the client is still down to hear all about that, he should pull up a stool.
Aretha Knows What’s Up
Respect goes a long, long way. I’m not going to curse at my clients just to make them upset. I’m actually not going to curse at anyone to make them upset. Very frequently, though, I cuss not because I am being offensive or mean (unless we are talking about Hitler again), but because I am really freakin’ excited. I have noticed this rubs off on my commenters, too, and that’s great. When a commenter tells me a post I’ve written on here was fucking awesome, I expect a client to know that this not cause for alarm. This is actually good for them. People do not get that psyched about mediocre writing. If my writing can inspire a delighted oath or two, that is also – if I may use the term – fucking awesome. My clients are savvy people. They know from complimentary cursing.
I respect my clients. I respect that some of them are made uncomfortable by off-color language in their business affairs. I respect that, and I promise I won’t do it around them when we’re talking business. Since I have a pretty good radar for that sort of thing, I will probably even anticipate it before it becomes an issue. No one need ever worry about going to my website, hiring me for a gig, and having me make them uncomfortable. They might need to worry a teeny bit about me knocking their socks off, but that is okay. I will buy them new socks. It’s part of the package deal.
Those clients who don’t want to see me when I’m off duty over here at Rogue Ink absolutely do not have to. I won’t treat them any differently and I certainly won’t work for them any less hard. If they want to see only my professional side, that is okay with me. I personally feel my rogue side is equally awesome, especially because it wears leather and throws knives more often, but all do not share my tastes, and I respect that. I’ll meet those clients at the office in the morning. I’ll have their first draft ready for them.
What Happened to Mom?
I read her, verbatim, with all the cuss words in it, Naomi’s post from yesterday. And she laughed so hard she choked on a hiccup.
Tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you why the Rogue Ink pub is a different kind of blog, and why you should all hang out in it and play darts. It’s going to be revolutionary – my first blog post written in advance. I actually feel a little faint.
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