Writing

To connect with our audiences, we must tell stories that are authentic, accurate and reflect the distinctive brand DNA of UCF.

Our brand lexicon — bold, modern, youthful, entrepreneurial and energetic — captures our collective essence. These aren’t simply words — they’re our brand language and should be used whenever possible.

At UCF, we are big for a reason. It’s what enables us to do big things, such as:

  • Transforming lives.
  • Creating access.
  • Harnessing scale.
  • Powering partnerships.
  • Innovating change.
  • Unleashing potential.
  • Dreaming big.

Tone

Our content should always “feel” like the UCF brand — bold, youthful, modern, entrepreneurial and energetic. Always relaying the UCF story in a way that conveys who we are and the excitement we share in creating a bright future our students, our communities and the world:

We are more than higher education.
We are a whole new category.
We innovate.
We incubate.
We develop skilled labor.
We assist businesses.
We improve lives.
We save lives.

Style

To maintain a strong, unified UCF voice, writers should employ consistent terminology, punctuation, abbreviations and other elements of style. As a general rule, we follow AP Style with a few specific exceptions unique to UCF. Please visit our UCF Writing Style Guide for guidelines.

Content

More than ever, we are competing for the attention of our audiences with an overabundance of distractions. Catching and holding their interest requires clear, concise and compelling content that delivers on our brand promise.

Sharing the most current and accurate information about UCF is imperative. You can add greater significance to many messages by leveraging the most compelling — and consistent — university facts and pride points. Find the most up-to-date figures, statistics and other specifics on the UCF Facts page.

When you have your tone, style and content prepared, you’re ready to craft your message. Here are a few things to consider.


CalloutIcon_AskYourself

Ask yourself:

  • What is my message in one sentence?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What action do I want my audience to take?
  • What does my audience know? What do I need them to learn?
  • Who are the people involved whose stories will inspire my audience?
  • How does my story align with the UCF Brand Pillars?
  • How can the UCF Brand elevate my story?

Best Practices

Consider your audience.
Communicating with students is far different from communicating with donors. Customize your voice and tone based on the reader and your channel.

Write with economy.
Communicating a message clearly requires brevity and simplicity. Edit yourself ruthlessly to omit every unnecessary word. Be brief. Be bright. Be done.

Use an active voice.
Action verbs make content more interesting and will carry your reader through your story more successfully.

Make it personal.
Using first- and second-person voice will create a strong connection with the reader.

Keep it conversational.
Write as if you were talking with a friend. Never “write down” to an audience.

Avoid big words.
You can engage your audience more effectively using everyday words that everyone can understand. If your reader has to reach for a dictionary, you’ve lost them.

Employ the UCF voice.
We are modern, bold, youthful, entrepreneurial and energetic. The tone of our content should be, too.

Read your copy out loud.
If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.

 

Things to Avoid

Jargon.
Specialized language and obscure terminology might make perfect sense to you, but may confuse your reader. Using simple vocabulary ensures a clear message that everyone can understand.

A passive voice.
Using passive verbs will make your content less conversational and lose the attention of your audience.

An institutional tone.
Try to explain complex ideas with analogies, examples, illustrations, infographics or images.

Overuse of exclamation points.
They’re useful! But too many are gratuitous! Seriously, try not to use them in headings or more than once per page.