Writing & Voice

Getting Started

We think that creating quality content centers around five basic principles. If you can follow these, you can be a successful Studio writer:

  • Write what you know.
  • Use credible sources.
  • Do not plagiarize.
  • Keep it tight.
  • Get it right.

 General Writing Guidelines

  • The AP Stylebook is the primary style guide for studioD. Proofread for grammar and style errors, and typos, before submitting any article.
  • Stay within your expertise.
  • Use credible references and confirm facts.
  • Write to the titles. If you don’t understand a title, don't write the article. Don’t bend a topic to fit your interpretation.
  • All articles must be evergreen. Avoid dating copy with years and words like "new" and "hot." Use "at the time of publication" whenever necessary.
  • Write a strong lede (opening sentence). Lay out the basics of the story in the opening graphs and follow with more detail.
  • Two or more authoritative references are required, unless specified otherwise. Check site specific guidelines.
  • Be concise, don’t overwrite.
  • Write in the second or third person. Do not use first person.
  • Be relevant. Avoid generic and off-topic content. Address all parts of the title.
  • If your expertise led you to a specific angle, explain that to the copy editor by leaving a note in the comments field.

Voice

Every brand or publisher we partner with has its own unique voice. But for most assignments, we ask that you follow these voice guidelines.

  • Write for the U.S. audience.
  • Review the section and site guidelines for additional information specific to those segments.
  • Target the middle audience, not the professional, unless stated otherwise in the site guidelines.
  • Provide service to the reader, whenever possible.
  • Don't reference the article’s layout or position on the page; these elements could change  i.e. don’t write “at the top of the page” or “in the second section.”
  • Avoid brand names, unless the title specifically calls for it. Use the generic description. When in doubt, consult site guidelines or the Help Desk.
  • Do not make unsupportable claims about product performance.
  • Write objectively and avoid bias. For product titles, list attributes/specs without making qualitative judgments.
  • Use the most current version/model for product titles, unless otherwise stated.
  • Avoid subjective adjectives -- such as "fun," "great," "easy," "terrific," "fantastic" or "unique."
  • Provide detail and be specific. It is not enough to write "connect the two boards." Explain how and why as it relates to the topic.
  • Avoid the obvious choices and clichés. Include options readers won't find on their own. Describe the unusual options, if possible.

Approaching Titles

Keep the following in mind when approaching titles.

  • Ensure the article reflects the title in its entirety.
  • Use the section and site guidelines for direction on how to interpret a title.
  • Use your knowledge of the topic to determine the meaning of a title. Be prepared to support your angle with facts, when asked.
  • If a title appears illegal, dangerous, sexually explicit or impossible to fulfill, flag the title and contact the Help Desk about the title.
  • Add relevant content to short-answer titles, whenever necessary, including alternative methods to complete a task. Do not write short-answer articles for titles that cannot be expanded upon in a relevant manner.
  • Do not base the meaning of a title solely on its category. The category is a search function.
  • Do not write a title that is contextually illogical -- Difference Between a Private Investigator and a Speech Therapist.
  • Leave a note for your copy editor to correct spelling or grammatical errors in a title. Copy editors cannot change, add or delete major keywords in the title.

 

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