Creating a story
Updated on 21 November 2023
Guidance for CMS editors on how to write and publish story content on the University website
Story content type
You should use the story content type if you need to:
- provide a detailed account of an aspect of student experience, University research, or staff activity
- provide a personal view, insight, or account
- publish a press release for journalists
- publish content related to a content marketing strategy
- provide a summary of student or staff activities
Don’t use the story content type if:
- the purpose of the content is to publish a University statement or provide information about a University service (use the announcement content type instead)
To allow maximise the usefulness of story content in a user's journey there are three story types:
- Press release
A press release is a written communication to be used by press and media on their own channels that reports specific information about University activities that is considered newsworthy. Press releases are written by the Corporate Communications team.
News is content that provides a summarised report of staff and student activities. For example, an academic has won a prize or you are promoting an upcoming conference.
A feature is a longer form story written to engage a specific audience around a subject of reader interest.
Features should be longer than 400 words and are intended to have value and engagement over time. This typical example is an article that is published as part of a content marketing strategy.
Editors should think carefully about what they are trying to achieve when they plan and create feature content. They should consider:
- who the audience is
- if the subject is genuinely interesting to that audience
- whether the content contains the typical elements of an engaging story such as:
- a person or people who are the focus of the story
- an exploration of a challenge or problem that was faced
- the SEO value of the content
- what they want someone to do after reading the content. If we can relate the content to specific action (for example, linking to a course page) then it provides a way of measuring its performance.
Both press releases and features have the potential to be visually engaging with the option to add elements link videos, images, galleries, call-outs for quotes and call to action buttons.
When creating navigation on a group page (such as a School), you should use 'Stories' as the link text. This creates consistency between this and the filters in the website search when the user is prompted to select a type of content.
Using consistent terms across the University website for similar types of content also helps the user understand its structure so they can confidently make decisions in their user journey.
Writing a story title
Story titles should:
- be informative and give the reader a sense of what the content is about
- make sense out of context, this helps the reader understand the content when it’s presented in search engine results
Story titles should not:
- include the word 'story'
- be a question
- include the author's name
Writing a story summary
A story summary should tell the reader what the story is about and identify individuals or groups in the content. The length of a summary should not exceed 255 characters, including spaces.
Title: Dundee scientist gets cancer research back on track
Summary: Dr Laureano de la Vega is getting on his bike for Cancer Research UK and is urging others to do the same to help get vital research back on track after the impact of the pandemic
Writing the story description
- don't repeat the summary
- use clear, straightforward language
- avoid walls of text and break the content up with headings to make it easier to scan
- avoid long sentences
- use bullet points
- break up content with images
- follow the guidelines outlined in the University content style guide
Taxonomies for story content
We use taxonomies in content types to organise content, publish it to different locations, and give it meaning so people can find it easily. Taxonomies take the form of assignable categories or tags.
Below are the story taxonomies that an editor should use.
‘Featured groups’ allows the editor to associate content with different parts of the University’s organisational structure. This association takes the form of a parent and child relationship. School and Directorates represent the parents and the departments and services that come under these represent children.
If an editor associates a story with a group then a summary will be published on the group’s website. For example, selecting both the ‘School of Science and Engineering’ and ‘Physics’ would publish content on both of these sites. Children cannot be selected without first selecting the associated parent.
Editors should avoid duplicating story content. For example, if there is a press release or feature that has already been published on the University stories page and you want this to display on a School or department website, it's not necessary to replicate this content in a new story. In this situation you would simply update the 'featured groups' tag on the original item (contact one of the Corporate Communications team to do this if the item is a press release). This maintains our guiding principle of having a single source for each item of content.
The story category taxonomy assigns one or more broad categories to the content so that it can be displayed on other areas of the website such as landing pages.
Story categories exist to help users browse content on a similar theme. To avoid our category list becoming unnecessarily long and difficult to use, it is recommended that a new category is only created when there is a sufficient amount of published content to justify its existence. For example, a category would not normally be created if there are less than 10 stories relating to it.
Stories can also be associated with one or more people. When this relationship is made between a story and a person it creates a link to the story on the staff member’s profile page. For example, if the story is about a research project, an editor could tag the relevant academic.
You should only tag people who are referenced in the story.
Resources for writing story content
The University content style guide provides guidance for editors to ensure consistency of style across all University of Dundee content. It includes information about:
- Content principles
- Voice and tone
- Writing guidelines
- Reference manual for Grammar, spelling, formatting and University of Dundee terminology
Submitting story content via help4u
If you are submitting stories via help4u please complete the template below.