Content principles

Understand your audience

Before you write ask yourself, "What does the reader want to know?" not, "What do I want to say?" Who is going to read your content? How might they be feeling? What tone should you use to address the reader's needs and expectations?

For digital content, help people find the information they need quickly and easily by placing it where it makes most sense to the primary user.

Keep it simple, but don't patronise

Generally, use clear, straightforward language. Where there's a choice between a simple, everyday word and a more complex or pretentious word, use the simple option.

Sometimes you'll want to use more complex language, particularly in the context of academic subjects. For example in a prospectus you would keep language simple but use specialist language when talking about a research case study.

Keep it short

Shorter sentences are easier to read, and can make your point more forcibly than longer ones even when you use the same words.

Show as well as tell

Our key messages have more impact and resonance with our audience if we demonstrate this through real world examples using testimonials, peer endorsement, case studies and so on.