Editorial Guidelines Main Content
WE COVERED WHAT TO SAY– NOW HOW TO SAY IT.
It depends on who you’re speaking with. The brand comes into contact with all audiences—and while SIU has a central brand essence, “Big Things Are Within Reach,” that essence can take on many different meanings.
That’s why it’s important to make sure the messages are presented in the right context. Here are some simple guidelines to refer to when crafting any communication.
Consider your audience.
This is probably the most important advice. When writing to students, the tone should be approachable and genuine. For students, it’s best to take on the voice of an experienced fourthyear student who knows SIU inside and out and is willing to offer guidance. Should be conversational. Not lecturing or pedantic or overly formal. When writing to parents and guidance counselors, the tone should be positive and leave them with the reassurance that this is the right place for their student, who will be safe during his or her years at SIU and well-employed in the years beyond. When writing to business/community/state leaders, the tone must exude confidence. SIU has the answers, talent, and innovations that leaders desperately need. SIU’s impact needs to come to the fore. When writing to internal audiences, it’s important to acknowledge their accomplishments and when appropriate, the importance of their role in furthering the overall brand of SIU. Together, we make this university the institution that it is. There should be pride in ownership.
Understand the medium.
A billboard must do a lot of work with almost no time. A viewbook can tell multiple stories and go into great detail. But they both must convey the same brand. In order to do this, strategic decisions must be made on which single thing to focus on. Keeping in mind that a billboard’s message can be directed to one audience, but in most circumstances will be viewed by all audiences, will help craft the message.
Stay on Brand.
Use the messages as a touchstone to help guide the writing. Compare what you’re crafting with the ideas and elements in the brand messaging. There should be a clear/logical connection between your writing and the messages in this book.
Authenticity is key.
Marketing communications and advertising are all about making promises to stakeholders. It’s extremely important that we don’t say anything that the University can’t back up. We did a lot of soul-searching to find the most compelling and authentic way to convey the SIU brand—and it’s important that the excitement and authenticity be maintained.