Content Principles

We want audiences to connect with our brand in a personal way, and that means talking more like a person. By carefully selecting our words, and phrasing them within a consistent, deliberate writing style, the Mountaineer personality comes to life.

To learn more about how we adapt our tone for different situations, check out our Voice guidelines.

In order to achieve this, make sure content:

Employs a hierarchy.

Lead with the main point or the most important content, in sentences, paragraphs, sections, and pages. Put the most important information first. Place similar topics in the same paragraph, and  clearly separate different topics with headings. Starting with a simple outline that includes key messages can help you create a hierarchy and organize your ideas in a logical way. This improves scannability and encourages better understanding.

Is easy to read.

Some people will read every word you write. Others will just skim. Help everyone read better by grouping related ideas together and using descriptive headings and subheadings.

Utilizes a common language.

Write short sentences and use familiar words. Avoid jargon and slang. If you need to use an abbreviation or acronym that people may not understand, explain what it means on first reference. Avoid vague language. Cut the fluff. Use simple words and sentences. Avoid unnecessary modifiers. Use short paragraphs with the first paragraph being the most important. Try to use one idea per paragraph. Use half the words that you would use in standard writing.

Serves a purpose.

Before you start writing, ask yourself:

  • Who is our target audience? Are they internal, external, or both?
  • What purpose does this serve? What is the goal of this site?
    • Student/resident recruitment is always the first goal
    • Faculty recruitment
  • What are your priorities with the site?
    1. Recruitment
    2. Program information
    3. Student/faculty profiles
    4. Calls to action
      • Apply
      • Request more information
      • Contact us
    5. Statistics

Is reusable.

Place content in one place and link to it.