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Writing tips

We can influence and engage through our writing. Whether we are recruiting students, showcasing our research, or asking for a favour from a colleague, words are our most powerful tool. Here are some tips to develop powerful written content.

Write for your audience

We write to communicate with different audiences for different reasons. Consider who you are speaking to, what you are trying to tell them and tailor your writing style accordingly.

When writing for social media, consider the style - it’s quick, chatty and engaging. When lobbying for funding, the tone should be adapted to a more formal and informative style.

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Embrace abbreviation

A simple change can go a long way to making your writing sound more human, using words like 'we're', 'they're' and 'you'll'. 

However, be mindful that abbreviations may not be appropriate for corporate documents, or content that includes a large amount of complex information.

Don’t be afraid to lighten your tone

Taking a less formal approach to your writing can help to engage your audience.  Like everything, only use where appropriate, but it'll work in the right places.

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Be active

We’ve talked about how the University’s personality is fresh and active. Speaking passively is formal, less direct and impersonal.  Generally, use an active voice wherever possible.

Example:

Rather than 'Your email will be replied to in due course', use 'We’ll reply as soon as we can'.

Read it as the reader, not as the writer

As with everything, read over to double check that your tone is consistent with the guidelines. Then read it as it will be read, not how you’ve written it.  This will ensure your message is coming across in the way you need it to.

It is more impactful if you keep it short. If it is possible to cut a word, cut it out. Always.

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Contact us

Communications, Marketing and Public Engagement

2B10 Cottrell Building
University of Stirling
Stirling, FK9 4LA

marketingtools@stir.ac.uk

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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