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PodSchool Podcast | Should you swear on your podcast?

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Is it a good idea to swear on your podcast

There are benefits to keeping it clean…

If you’re a fan of blue language, there’s nothing wrong with dropping a few f-bombs on your podcast. You just need to make sure your audience is up to speed so they don’t walk into something they weren’t expecting.

Swearing isn’t for everyone so you need to ask the question…is this adding anything to my show?

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An argument for why you should bleep your swear words

If you’re aiming your show towards adults and you want it to be edgy and a little bit rude, that’s totally fine. There are plenty of shows out there littered with swear words that are hugely successful.

On the podcasts I’ve worked on I usually stick to the “s-word is ok, f-word (or anything worse than the f-word) gets bleeped” rule.

And here’s why…

It doesn’t add anything to your show

It’s not like the audience doesn’t know what’s going on under those bleeps so do they really need to hear it?

The disadvantage of turning people off who don’t like swear words far outweighs the benefit of having them there for the few people who want to hear them come out of your mouth.

So, think about whether they’re really necessary or whether covering them with a little bleep SFX means you can still be free in your performance without having to worry about turning anyone off.

Of course, you might not care if people get turned off and that’s why it’s important to do the work of creating your ideal listener before you get started.

If you know this show is for people who won’t be offended by a little f-bomb here or there then go for it.

You just want to make sure the people listening to your show know it’s coming or aren’t surprised by it if they decide to give your show a try.

Why you should design an ideal listener for your podcast

Read

You don’t know where your audience is listening to your podcast

For most people listening to a podcast is a private experience, but for some, they might like to get their podcast listening done at home or in the car.

If your show is more adult and your audience knows that then they obviously won’t risk listening to it in front of their kids.

But if your podcast is usually clean and their kids are around, you’ll soon feel the wrath of an angry parent if they need to explain what the word f*%& means.

How to choose the right rating for your podcast

Read

It stays on the internet forever

You might be ok swearing your head off on your podcast now, but what if a future boss finds your old show and thinks “Geez, what a potty mouth!”

Stuff on the internet lives forever so think about what ‘future you’ will think about this and whether it’s better to keep it clean.

Do you need a website for your podcast?

Read

The main thing is…don’t surprise your audience

When you’re starting out this is harder because you obviously don’t have an audience yet so everything you do is a surprise.

If you’ve decided you want your content to be adult then your audience will eventually get trained to realise that’s what they’re going to get. But you should also be pretty clear about that when you’re promoting or describing your podcast.

Where you need to be careful is if you have content that doesn’t usually have swear words in it and there’s a rogue episode where you drop them in.

These episodes will need a warning at the start because you want to give people a chance to prepare themselves, turn off if that style of content isn’t for them, or decide not to listen while the kids are in the car.

Of course, you can always label your show as explicit but I’d probably leave this for really adult content so you don’t turn people away who think it’s going to be excessively bad when you’ve just got a few blue words in there.

Whatever you do, make sure you’ve got your audience top of mind and make decisions based on what’s right for them rather than what you want to do in the moment.

You might love swearing but is it really adding anything to your show?

That’s a question only you can decide

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help? Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the show! This week I'm going to be talking about whether or not you should swear on your podcast. This idea came from a conversation I had with a friend of mine. The two of us are developing a podcast together and in a couple of the trial episodes I've done an edit of the show and sent it over to him to listen to and he has come back and said "Why have you beeped all the swear words out.

[00:00:26] So what's the deal with swearing in your podcast? There's absolutely nothing wrong with it at all but as ridiculous as it sounds it has to be a creative decision because there are consequences to dropping the f bomb every five seconds. So I just wanted to go through a few things you should think about when you're deciding whether or not to get a little fruity with your language in your show.

[00:00:49] The most important thing to think about is who is your audience. Who do you want to appeal to and what do you want people to think about your show? The thing about swearing is that I find it doesn't necessarily add anything. I'm happy if I'm having a conversation with a co host and they swear or I swear but in the edit I will always beep those things out. And the reason is because it's not like you don't know what's going on under there. It's not like you're beeping out 15 minutes of content. But for some people that kind of stuff is offensive and there are plenty of people that we'll turn away from your content if they hear language they don't like. I think you should always be aiming to appeal to as many people as possible and not give anybody a reason if you can help it to turn off your show. Of course that doesn't apply if you want your show to be rough and rude and edgy and if you want a show like that there are certainly people out there who are happy to listen to that. But if that's what you want then label your episode explicit so those people know exactly what they're going to get and you don't have any mums in the car with the kids who think it's clean because you haven't labelled it as explicit and then they're sitting in the car and they've got their kid asking "Mum what's a .

[00:02:26] The other thing that is important to think about is "Will this come back to bite you in the arse?" The thing about podcasting is it is kind of the audio equivalent of Google. Once you've said that stuff and it's out there on iTunes until you remove the show all of that stuff is searchable and ready to go.

[00:02:48] Now of course we all swear and there's no issues with that. But while you might not mind dropping the f bomb now, in six months when you're going to get a job and an employer listens back to the podcast you've done and you're dropping the f bomb all the time is it going to come back to bite you? Is it going to be something that you're going to regret? Again there's no reason why you can't swear but my thought is that by bleeping it out the content still exists there. Your audience still gets a sense that you were fired up and passionate but the ones that are potentially offended won't be turned away. As long as your beeps aren't loud and blowing people's ears off it shouldn't be a problem.

[00:03:58] I've had some people that have emailed me about my show Paul and Rachel. We had a bit of a rougher show and we would swear from time to time when we were recording the episodes and I would always beep that out and occasionally I would have people e-mail us and say why do you leave this swears out? I would write back "because you know what we're saying but this way we're making sure this content is available for everybody.

[00:04:25] If you are going to swear or talk about anything that's a bit more hardcore it's really important to label your podcast appropriately and put 'explicit' on there because it'sf antastic to surprise your audience but not in a way that makes them turn around and run out of the door screaming, never to walk back through it again.

[00:04:56] So if you are going to go down that path just make sure you're very clear in the labelling and if your show's just got a couple of swear words in it so you don't want to label it 'explicit' just issue an audio warning at the start so people know what they're getting into.

[00:05:02] I hope that's helped you work out whether or not dropping colourful language throughout your episode is the right thing for you. If you're finding these tips helpful I would love you to leave a review in iTunes. However that magical algorithm works, the more reviews and ratings the show gets the more chance it gets into other people's eyeballs and ear holes and that would be fantastic.

[00:05:32] If you want a little bit more step by step help you can always head to PodSchool.com.au to find out more about my online podcasting course. And there is a guide there that will help you with the tech side of things if you don't know how to set up your own home studio.

[00:05:49] Thank you so much for joining me. I will see you next week and until then happy podcasting.

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