General Style Guidelines
Writing for Natural Awakenings Dos and Don’ts
- Do establish a strong lead paragraph and compelling close.
- Do remember the five Ws: who, what, where, when and why.
- Do write in third-person news style for briefs & most articles - use them, they, those, people, guests, participants, attendees, etc.
- Do use a clear, logical order for content. (Samples at NATwinCities.com.)
- Do use action verbs (e.g., ABC offers; not ABC is offering).
- Do use plain language and briefly define technical terms.
- Do keep sentences and paragraphs short.
- Do include short anecdotes or
case studies to illustrate key points.
- Do use strong, genuine quotes to aid in reader identification. When using quotes, be sure to include the full name of the person and how they are associated (states John Smith, current client of ABC company.) Punctuation "inside" quotes.
- Do add credibility with scientific studies, statistics and updates on trends. (e.g., “According to a 2017 study by the University of Minnesota,….”)
- Do single space after periods.
- If using an acronym, write out in its entirety first then follow with acronym in parenthesis. All other uses of the acronym is done without parenthesis. (e.g., Natural Awakenings Twin Cities (NATC). NATC will be hosting…..)
- Don’t use first-person style (from the point of the writer/speaker) – these include words I, me, my, and mine or the plurals we, us, ours, our
- Don’t use second-person style (the person the writer is addressing) – these include words you or your.
- Don’t use bulleted lists
- Don’t use CAPITALIZED WORDS, bold
print, underlining, or exclamation points! as emphasis. These
are all tactics used in less formal marketing and not in professional
What we want in an article or brief:
- We focus on hope, healing, practical tips and benefits. Every reader wants to know how they can personally use and benefit from this information in their life journey.
- Attribute all medical or health claims and scientific study results; cite credible, current and authoritative sources. List additional resources in an italicized footnote. Books and magazines need title, author, publisher, year, and page. Individuals need name, title, organization, phone, email, city and company website. Though we won't publish most of this information, it is necessary for fact checking.
What we won’t publish:
- Depressing lists of symptoms and technical details of treatment.
- Extended, first-person (I/me/my) accounts of life journeys.
- Marketing or sales copy heavy on blatant self-promotion disguised as an article.
- If your article has been published elsewhere, we are probably not interested in publishing it.
- We may not publish your piece immediately and cannot guarantee to do so later.
- Your original work will be edited to fit our editorial style or condensed for space.