We’d love to hear from you about the work you have been doing and how it has made a difference. We welcome contributions from a wide range of voices as long as you stick to the aims of the site and our principles.
This page contains our writing guide, including our house style.
Posting on the site
First things first, send us a short brief on your chosen topic and we’ll let you know if it’s what we’re looking for. You should receive a response within three working days. If you are unsure what to write, how about:
- a ‘how to’ guide of….
- studies and research
- community engagement
- case studies
- tips and advice
We’ll agree the timeframe with you and let you know when it’s live on the site. We will try to publish content within 10 working days of receipt where possible.
We will also need your organisation’s name, email, logo and a short bio telling us who you are.
Here are some guidelines for writing content for this site.
Speak personally. Highlight key challenges and learnings and suggestions on how to do things better. Try to talk about helping improve outcomes for people so that others can learn from your experience.
Our readers are from a range of organisations and sectors and will have contrasting understandings of what digital inclusion is. This includes staff, volunteers and people with lived experience. Our key audiences are from:
- local councils
- health and care organisations
- the third sector
- the private sector
Jargon and plain English
People usually won’t understand jargon. Jargon is usually language you might use when speaking to a colleague. If you are using a more technical or internally used term, think of an alternative:
- facilitate = help
- accelerate = increase/speed up
- purchase = buy
- commence = start
- detrimental = harmful
As you can see, using plain English usually means you are using shorter words that are easier to read.
Writing in plain English allows your readers to hopefully understand what they read the first time they read it. The Plain English Campaign website has examples of alternative words and a guide to writing in plain English.
Use subheadings (H2 and H3) and images to break up large paragraphs of text.
Tone of voice
Try to be reassuring and confident, positioning us as independent council experts.
Example – ‘However, help is at hand, in the form of this step by step guide to starting a digital inclusion programme, written by experts in the field’.
Example – ‘Built for councils, by councils’.
Try to write in a conversational way, directly to the reader, using ‘you’ and ‘we’. Try to avoid:
- the singular ‘I’
- repeatedly saying the name of the organisation
- repeatedly saying ‘the council’
The full name of the organisation is ‘Digital Inclusion Toolkit’. Avoiding using ‘Digital Inclusion Kit’.
Aim for 300 to 750 words.
Sentence and paragraph length
Try to keep paragraphs to a maximum of 3 sentences. Try to keep sentence length short, ideally around 15 to 20 words. This will help with improved readability.
A tip on reducing sentence length – if the word ‘and ’is in the middle of the sentence, replace it with a full stop.
Here are some highlights on using our house style. For full details, refer to the GOV.UK style guide.
Stick to only capitalising proper nouns, specific job titles and departments. Examples where you should not capitalise:
- public health
- communities of interest
- the council
- business plan
Examples where you should capitalise:
- Home Office
- Head of Transport
- Brighton & Hove City Council
Say coronavirus (COVID-19) or just COVID-19. Avoid Coronavirus, Covid, Covid 19, COVID, etc.
Bulleting lists usually helps to break up large amounts of text. It makes content:
- easier to read
- more scannable
- mobile friendly
When writing bullets:
- start each bullet with a lowercase letter (unless it is a proper noun)
- don’t include full stops or semicolons at the end of the bullet
- use a lead in line with a colon
Abbreviations and acronyms
The first time you use an abbreviation or acronym, explain it in full on each page unless it’s well known, like UK, DVLA, US, EU, VAT and MP. Do not use full stops between each letter.
- DfT (Department for Transport)
The word wifi is all lowercase, not WiFi.
Step by steps
If creating a step by step to a process, use ‘step by step’ in the title.
Include visual elements, such as diagrams, as a way of presenting content in a more visual way. This helps break up large amounts of text and was also a finding of recent user research.
If you want to feature an article on the homepage, you will need to include a featured image.
Programme vs project
You can refer to either a digital inclusion programme or project. A programme tends to be a larger piece of work whereas a project is usually a smaller and more time defined piece of work.