Flowster’s Blog Style Guide
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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
- Refer to the company as “Flowster” with a capital “F.” Never refer to the company as “flowster”.
- When writing on behalf of the company, use the first-person plural “we.”
- When writing in your personal capacity, use the first-person “I.”
- Be respectful of other businesses by referring to them by their correct names as written on their official websites.
- Use the variation eCommerce (not e-commerce or other).
- Capitalize the first and last letter of SaaS.
- Use startup vs start-up.