Style Guide


When we write and we speak, we want others to feel like they’ve been heard. Like what they say matters, and that we’ve taken them seriously. When others speak, we furrow our brow and listen. We want anyone to feel comfortable bringing their problems to us, and confident that we’d never pass judgment — because we wouldn’t. We choose our words deliberately and would never be caught shouting … unless it was to let someone know they dropped their wallet.

Keep it simple

We always prefer a short sentence over a long, stuffy one. Same with words

Front-load the meaning

To be ultra clear, we begin paragraphs with the most important thing. For example, rather than Slack someone a long story that ends with a request, we’ll start with the request — “Do you have 30 minutes to help?” — and work back.

Write like you talk

If you wouldn’t say it in casual conversation to a friend, find simpler wording.

Write in active voice

Say, “I checked the facts,” not, “The facts were checked by me.”
Always edit Never submit something unless you’ve read through it yourself.

Avoid adverbs

Those are words that modify other words, like “very,” “super,” “basically,” etc, as there’s probably a stronger word.

Leave room for doubt

We like to say “often” or “sometimes” because absolutes like “always” or “never” are rarely true.

Eliminate jargon

Avoid using industry-specific words that others won’t easily understand.

Eliminate cliche

These are words and phrases that are used so often, they’ve lost their meaning, like “Circle up” or “Let’s double-click on that.”

Fight statistical exaggeration

Statistics have a way of growing more extreme the more they’re shared. Keep yours honest, even if it means they require more explanation.

Reframe negative statements to be positive

For example, turn “no shipping fee” into “free shipping.” It’s shorter, more accurate, and more upbeat.

Check your homonyms and homophones

These are words that are pronounced the same but spelled differently. E.g. “they’re” and “their.”

When in doubt, delete “that”

“That” tends to get overused. If you can delete it and a sentence reads the same, please do.

Double-check all pronouns

If it’s not clear what your “it” or “that” is referring to, bring the noun up again.

Be specific

Is it a river or is it the Nile? Is it a truck or is it an eighteen-wheeler? Specificity paints the picture.

Hyphenate modifiers

Radio was invented in the 19th century; your grandfather collects 19th-century radio sets.

Check adjectives

Are they all necessary? Would a more specific noun choice be better? Is it a big house or a mansion? A brimmed hat or a fedora?

Trim your lists

If you’ve listed three things that are synonyms, pick the best and delete the rest.

Kill your darlings

Don’t keep something because you like it; keep it because it works.

Use diverse examples

If inventing names, mix them up. Don’t just stick to Anglo-Saxon Jacks and Jills. Same with genders and ages.


While we’ll only ever have one voice (it’s who we are), sometimes, we’ll alter our tone to match the situation. (Like whispering in a crowded theater.) Sometimes, we’ll adopt pieces of the language of those we’re speaking to. For example, we know medical workers serve patients, not consumers.

In help docs, avoid jokes.

People who go there are typically frustrated or in need of assistance, and that humor rarely lands. (Exception: Our website’s error page.)

In social media and in ads, it’s okay to abbreviate.

“Management” can become “mgmt” if needed.

In sales outreach, begin with the specific reason you’re reaching out.

If it’s difficult to be specific, it’s a sign you need to conduct more research.

On webinars, it’s okay to repeat yourself.

People are accustomed to boring webinars and tend to tune out. You can help them by intentionally reiterating your main point.

In legal documents, stick to our voice and avoid legalese.

Even if it’s accurate, it’s not accessible. We prefer our truths to be clear.



Write headings (H1) in title case unless the heading is a punctuated sentence:

Customer Service Ticketing System Magic: We Cut Response Time by 50% Using This Feature


Write subheadings (H2, H3, etc.) in sentence case:

What is a customer service ticketing system?


Bullet-point lists

When using bullet-point lists:

Use parallel construction.

If the bullet points are full sentences, add a period after each one.

If the bullet points are phrases, add a period to the last bullet point only.


Use the serial (or Oxford) comma:

Profits have sunk, jobs are gone, and salaries have been slashed.

En dash and em dash

Use the en dash (–) and em dash (—) without spaces: We’ll be out of town Friday–Sunday. We’ve made a lot of changes to our website—all for the better.

Quotation marks

In headings and subheadings, use single quotation marks instead of double quotation marks: Target keywords such as ‘business strategies’


Avoid semicolons in almost all cases. A semicolon usually means you’ve written a lengthy, difficult-to-read sentence. Revise, rephrase, or cut.

Limit exclamation points

One per article is plenty.

Styling Text

Italics and bold

Use italics to emphasize a word, phrase, or quote. Use bold to make something to stand out.


In general, avoid using abbreviations, especially for industry-related terms.

Write “customer support” instead of “CS.”


Write acromnys first, then write them parenthetically

NPS (Net Promoter Score) is one of the best indicators of customer satisfaction. The inventors of NPS explain…

Using Visuals


No walls of text. Remember that most readers will scan your article, not read it word-for-word. Break up lengthy blocks of text into one, two, or (at most) three-sentence paragraphs.

Use one visual element every seven to ten paragraphs (roughly).

  • Images, gifs, or videos
  • Bullet lists
  • Pull quotes
  • Takeaway boxes

Images and graphics

Liberally include images and graphics throughout every post.

Include a relevant caption for all images.

Pro tip: Links in captions have extremely high click-through rates. If you can link to a content upgrade or a product page within an image caption, do it.

Sources and referencing


Links should be added naturally and in context. In general, avoid phrases like “click here” or “learn more.” In general, avoid referring to competitors or linking to their websites.

Sources and research

Prioritize original research (which are uniquely valuable) over sources you found on the internet (which anyone can get and are not unique).

  • Internal data
  • First-person experiences
  • Interviews with customers
  • Interviews with subject matter experts

Supplement original research with information you find online.

Always link your sources.

Never make things up.

Link directly to original content.

Never link to an aggregator—especially infographics.

Don’t reference research or data collected before 2016.

Basic Rules

Use contractions.

Avoid jargon.

Use terms the target audience will understand.

If you don’t know what terms the audience will understand, you don’t know them well enough to write for them.

Avoid vague words such as “maybe,” “might,” or “some.”

Aim for grade level 6 or 7 (refer to

Spell out numbers that are smaller than 10.

Emoji 🤔 are acceptable, but use them sparingly.

On Groove-owned web properties, mild swear words are acceptable (think: “bullshit”).

Word Use

Instead of “contract,” use “agreement.” It’s friendlier.

It’s okay to use “stat,” but only after the first use of “statistic.”

Instead of “fake news,” say “unverifiable news.”

Instead of “optimize,” write out what you mean.