Flowster’s Blog Style Guide

Please adhere to the following style guide when submitting a guest post for the Flowster blog.

Voice and Tone

  • Use active voice whenever possible.
  • Use contractions.
  • Avoid jargon.
    • Use terms the target audience will understand.
    • If you don’t know what terms the audience will understand, you don’t know them well enough to write for them.
  • Avoid vague words such as “maybe,” “might,” or “some.”
  • Aim for grade level 6 or 7 (refer to Hemingwayapp.com).
  • Spell out numbers that are smaller than 10.
  • Emoji are acceptable, but use them sparingly.
  • On Groove-owned web properties, mild swear words are acceptable (think: “bullshit”).

Headings and subheadings

  • Write headings (H1) in title case unless the heading is a punctuated sentence:
    • Customer Service Ticketing System Magic: We Cut Response Time by 50% Using This Feature
  • Pro tip: Use titlecase.com to get this right.

Write subheadings (H2, H3, etc.) in sentence case:

  • What is a customer service ticketing system?

Punctuation

In general, avoid using abbreviations, especially for industry-related terms.

  • Write “customer support” instead of “CS.”

Write acromnys first, then write them parenthetically.

  • NPS (Net Promoter Score) is one of the best indicators of customer satisfaction. The inventors of NPS explain…

When using bullet-point lists:

  • Use parallel construction.
  • If the bullet points are full sentences, add a period after each one.
  • If the bullet points are phrases, add a period to the last bullet point only.

Use the serial (or Oxford) comma:

  • I love Groove’s use of conventions, grammar, and punctuation.

Use the en dash (–) and em dash (—) without spaces:

  • We’ll be out of town Friday–Sunday.
  • We’ve made a lot of changes to our website—all for the better.
  • Use italics to emphasize a word, phrase, or quote.
  • Use bold to make something to stand out.
  • In headings and subheadings, use single quotation marks instead of double quotation marks:
    • Target keywords such as ‘business strategies’
  • Avoid semicolons in almost all cases.
    • A semicolon usually means you’ve written a lengthy, difficult-to-read sentence.
    • Revise, rephrase, or cut.

Images and formatting

No walls of text.

  • Remember that most readers will scan your article, not read it word-for-word.
  • Break up lengthy blocks of text into one, two, or (at most) three-sentence paragraphs.
  • Use one visual element every seven to ten paragraphs (roughly).
    • Images, gifs, or videos
    • Bullet lists
    • Pull quotes
    • Takeaway boxes
  • Liberally include images and graphics throughout every post.
  • Include a relevant caption for all images.
    • Pro tip: Links in captions have extremely high click-through rates. If you can link to a content upgrade or a product page within an image caption, do it.

Sources and referencing

  • Links should be added naturally and in context. In general, avoid phrases like “click here” or “learn more.”
  • In general, avoid referring to competitors or linking to their websites:
    • Intercom
    • HelpScout
    • Zendesk
    • Frontapp
    • Freshdesk
  • Prioritize original research (which are uniquely valuable) over sources you found on the internet (which anyone can get and are not unique).
    • Internal data
    • First-person experiences
    • Interviews with customers
    • Interviews with subject matter experts
  • Supplement original research with information you find online.
  • Always link your sources. Never make things up.
  • Link directly to original content. Never link to an aggregator—especially infographics.
  • Don’t reference research or data collected more than 4 years prior to the date you submit your article.

People

  • Don’t reference age or disability unless absolutely relevant.
  • Use a person’s preferred pronoun or name.
  • Avoid gendered language.
  • The singular “they” or “them” is acceptable, though it is better to find an alternative:
    • Acceptable: When talking to a customer, ask them for their perspective.
    • Better: When talking to customers, ask them for their perspective.

Brands and Terminology


COMPANY

  • Refer to the company as “Flowster” with a capital “F.” Never refer to the company as “flowster”.

“WE”

  • When writing on behalf of the company, use the first-person plural “we.”

“I”

  • When writing in your personal capacity, use the first-person “I.”

RESPECT
  • Be respectful of other businesses by referring to them by their correct names as written on their official websites.

“IT”

  • Use “it” not “they” for singular companies and brands.
  • Use the variation eCommerce (not e-commerce or other).
  • Capitalize the first and last letter of SaaS.
  • Use startup vs start-up.