Writing Style

Our House Style

INK primarily adheres to AP Style. However, we do use the Oxford comma. 

Writing Guidelines

  • POV: Generally use first or second person to connect with the audience. People love hearing about themselves – framing situations with “you” and “your” will help the reader think about their own perspective and challenges.
  • Keep it simple: “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do,” - Mark Twain.
    • Use, instead of utilize
    • Show, instead of demonstrate
    • Consider, instead of take into consideration
    • Right now, instead of at the present time
  • Avoid repetition: Get rid of duplicated words in the same sentence or across paragraphs (if possible), unless there is a purpose.
  • Limit weak words and hedging words: Somewhat, a little, rather, arguably, we think, we believe
  • Make sure what you mean is what you say: Be careful that the word you choose reflects its true meaning.
  • Empower the reader: Never talk down to our audience or underestimate their experience and expertise. Instead of “You should do this,” we might say, “This will give you these benefits.” 
  • Punch it up: Strive to use strong, illustrative words. Avoid overused and watered down words like “good,” “great,” and “things.” 
  • Use exclamation points sparingly: “Settle down,” - Blair Poloskey.
  • Avoid industry- or INK-specific jargon: Words like byline, coverage, deck, drinking the Kool-Aid, package up, voiceover, gut check.
  • Avoid overused buzzwords: Innovative, groundbreaking, disruptive, pioneering
  • Avoid scare tactics: Instead of “Are you missing out on media opportunities?” we might say, “This can help you differentiate your company’s story and secure media opportunities.” 
  • Use inclusive, gender-neutral language: Use “folks” or “people” rather than “guys”; “staffed” or “handled” rather than “manned”; “go-between” rather than “middleman,” etc.
  • Avoid ableist language: “Crazy,” “OCD,” “blind,” “lame,” “insane,” and so on