How to use swearing (or not) in content creation

Cathy Goodwin
2 min readMar 11

Does swearing have a place in your business storytelling?

Image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash.

Should you swear when you’re onstage for your business?

There are 3 ways to answer this question.

(1) Does swearing fit the purpose behind your story or are you into “lazy” swearing?

Are you illustrating a point by including swear words? For instance, you could say, “I could believe Tom said *#&&!!!. By directly using the word, not a euphemism, he got his point across.”

Sometimes people throw in a strong word just to get a reaction or a laugh. We see this a lot in standup comedy. It can get a laugh, but that’s a cheap laugh.

The word “badass” has lost its power because it’s used so much.

(2) Are you a Celebrity archetype?

This is the only archetype that can get away with swearing consistently. They’re promising they have the freedom to cross a lot of lines because they’ve achieved so much, and. that makes them worthy to support you.

For the other archetypes, swearing can backfire.

(3) Your audience may want you to swear, but you can’t make assumptions.

Some audiences are more open to swearing. Some don’t even know those words are considered swearing: they’re just everyday language. I’ve even heard of people saying, “I don’t trust someone who doesn’t swear.”

You need to go beyond stereotypes. I know twenty-year-olds who won’t swear and sixty-year-olds who swear like sailors. I know men who won’t swear and women who will.

Swearing in stories is the topic of Strategic Storytelling Episode 91. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or

Originally published at

I’m Dr. Cathy Goodwin, a copywriter, storyteller, and strategist. My clients are small business owners, entrepreneurs, independent professionals, and solopreneurs. I help them get new clients through digital marketing, with a unique mix of copywriting and storytelling that lets them strut their stuff without being sales-y or obnoxious.

When the brand is YOU, you need a foundation to create content with a strong, consistent message. You accomplish this — and more — with the Story Archetype framework. Click here to learn more and find your archetype. Your marketing gets much easier.

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Cathy Goodwin

Create a compelling marketing message that attracts your ideal clients through your unique selling story.