Goals and principles
Every piece of communication written for Sprout should aim to:
We want to provide our audience with the level of knowledge and context they need to succeed.
We want to instill the confidence and mastery our audience needs to boldly take the next step in their business.
We want our audience to feel like they don’t have to go it alone – that we are always here to answer questions and provide guidance.
We want our audience to feel safe and secure in the knowledge and guidance we’re providing because they’re confident in our experience and expertise.
To help us achieve these goals, consider these core tenets as you write:
Write for relationship
Aim for personable communication. Use personal pronouns like you/we/us whenever possible to connect directly to the audience and emphasize brand tone.
Be friendly and approachable at all times. Picture that every piece of communication is said or written with a smile. Smiles open the lines of communication and can make a person or brand appear more approachable and easier to talk to.
In situations where playfulness is appropriate, that smile can also include a wink. But avoid being too silly or overly-excited.
Use emojis and exclamation points sparingly, and only where appropriate.
Write for inclusion
While it’s important for our organization to learn as much about our audience as possible, we need to be careful about the assumptions we make in our writing. Bias can creep in in even the smallest word choices. Let’s take extra care to be cognizant of the potential impact our words may have. We want to ensure every single person we communicate with feels seen, valued, respected and welcome.
Whenever possible, avoid gendered terms in favor of neutral alternatives, specifically when assuming the gender of a particular profession.
For example, when referencing the behavior or beliefs of a hypothetical boss or CEO, don’t default to a masculine pronoun. It’s best practice to use “they” as a singular pronoun.
Always default to communicated pronouns, and when in doubt, ask.
Avoid using unnecessary character descriptions and modifiers, like someone’s age, race or sexual orientation. Unless it’s pertinent to the story you’re trying to tell, don’t make mention of people’s disabilities, mental, emotional or physical conditions.
Write for clarity
Be confident and concise. Your audience is pressed for time, so choose only the exact words you need. Memorable messages are brief, specific, and touch on a need of the audience.
Carefully consider assumptions of knowledge. We assume people know what Instagram is. We do not always assume people know what an Instagram Business Profile is.
Define acronyms on first use (per AP Style) ex: “We use search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.”
Write with authority
As a social media management company, it’s important that we remain an authority and expert in the social space in the eyes of our customers, prospects and fellow industry leaders.
Part of demonstrating authority is being fluent–and consistent–in the language of your own product as well as the larger industry.
This is why we’ve created guidelines for both product and industry language, which can be found on the technical communication guidelines page.
Be careful not to unintentionally convey uncertainty in communication. Avoid phrases like “I/we think” and “maybe it’s just me.” Speak from a position of authority, unless it’s a case where we really are unsure.