Sometimes you just have to rant. You run into a situation with a vendor, client, coworker, child or spouse which you think is silly, stupid or frustrating. It is going to annoy you until you voice what you are feeling. So what do you do? You can tell a friend, share a comment on social media or you can write a blog post. If it is a personal rant, you can be sarcastic or funny and even a little mean, but what if you are writing for a business? Is there a way to rant professionally?
Obviously I think there is because I have written more than a few over the years:
- The Unhelp Desk – An amusing tale of my interactions with the less than helpful customer service team at HP
- Did you forget where you came from? – A rant about a former business relationship
- Small business owner looking for love – Frustrated about the quality of applications we were getting for an open position at the ‘Peg, I ranted.
- Why we don’t offer drive through marketing – A complaint about prospective customers
- Breaking the code of silence – A rant about customers who don’t pay their bills. At the time, I felt this didn’t quite fit on our blog, so I found another way to publish it.
Thinking about writing a rant of your own? Go ahead: Write, walk away, read and edit then publish.
A good rant is cathartic. Whether you are talking to someone directly or writing it down, you will feel better when you get it all out. So go ahead write exactly what you think. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling. Be sarcastic, be mean, be funny or rude. Just write until you feel you have said everything you need to say.
There, now don’t you feel better?
Now you need to save your draft and walk away. Capturing your ideas actually gives you permission to focus on other things. I actually find I am more productive after a good rant. Giving a voice to the things which were hanging around in my head annoying me usually gets them out of my head so I can turn my full attention to more important things.
Read and Evaluate
It is a good idea to let a rant sit for a day or two. Once the situation which created the tension is behind you, it is easier to objectively decide if it is still worth writing about and more importantly, if it makes sense on your business blog. Have someone else read it. Talk about why you think the post belongs on your company blog. Be willing to accept that it might be a good rant but it just doesn’t fit your criteria. You can decide to let it go or publish it elsewhere, because some messages just don’t belong on your company page.
Every company should have a set of criteria which help you decide if your rant fits. For Roundpeg, most of our rants include a learning experience, something our audience (primarily comprised of business owners and other marketing professionals) can take away and apply to their own business experiences. Other times they are designed to prompt a conversation about an issue we think is important.
Now that you are calm it is easier to go back and adjust your tone. Dial back the language. Yes, you may feel a strong four-letter word perfectly expresses your feelings better than any other, it still doesn’t belong on your business page. Make it interesting by streamlining the story, eliminating the extraneous details and taking out the whining. Yes, you are frustrated, but if you sound like a pouty teenage girl, repeating the same point over and over again, you won’t win much support. Humor and sarcasm are fine just don’t be mean.
Protect the guilty. No one will blame you for calling out a large company (HP or Starbucks) by name but that rule doesn’t apply to local small businesses or individuals. Even if they deserve it and you never want to work with them again, it is a risky practice. Why? You may not want to work with them, but other prospective customers seeing your remarks may be reluctant to work with you, fearing they may suffer the same fate. So you’ll feel better for a little while, but the feeling won’t last if others don’t want to work with you.
Now you are ready to share your story. If the rant is a little off topic for your blog, let readers know so they aren’t surprised by the content. Then share your story. If it is well written you are likely to generate more comments than a typical blog. Just be prepared to respond to the comments with the same level of professionalism you brought to the rant in the first place.
Well written rants can be a welcome addition to your content marketing program.