• CSIU Editorial Voice Summarized:

    • Professional
    • Friendly, relatable and trustworthy
    • Enthusiastic and positive
    • Written in active voice
    • Follows AP Style Guidelines (link)
    • Targets an 8th grade comprehension level (or lower) - What level is the text you are writing?  
    • Free of jargon and acronyms
    • Uses a peer-to-peer tone
    • Knowledgeable about audience 
    • Adjusts tone for audience

    CSIU Editorial Voice Explained: 

    When communicating to a CSIU audience, whether it be potential participants, parents, or superintendents, our tone should always speak with a purpose related to our organizational values and sound friendly, relatable and trustworthy. It should also achieve the appropriate tone in as concise a message as possible and be written at a comprehension level of 8th grade. While it is important that CSIU correspondence is professional and accurate, we must connect with our audience through an active, peer-to-peer voice, free of jargon. Every communication--a FB post, a press release, an email, a webpage--adds to the collective image of the CSIU. Our image and voice should invite people into our work, promote accessibility, and encourage collaboration. 

    Think of the CSIU voice as one that has a volume button. While it should always be relatable and credible, there are times when you will need to turn up the volume of that editorial tone, engaging the audience in a heartfelt story, or empathising with your audience through emotion and experience. Examples of this volume- level would include messages of hope, grief, celebrations, or communications in difficult times. It may also include communications to students or potential participants in young adult programs. In these cases, the editorial voice may be stronger and more colloquial, while always professional and accurate. 

    A high editorial volume on the “tone dial” may be too personal, friendly, or emotional for many correspondences. Examples might include communications with school leaders, contractors, board members, legislators, etc. In these interactions, you can turn down the tone-dial. Here, it is important to sound professional, but never preachy, self-important or cold. As a service agency, our purpose is to enrich learning and lives. Our tone should always suggest that we exist to partner and collaborate and that we are listening to our audience more than we are talking about ourselves.  

    When you are unsure, here are a few questions to ask about your communication:

    1. Who is my audience and what tone are they used to hearing? 
    2. What do I want my audience to know and what is the best way to communicate this information?
    3. Does my tone match the information that I am writing about? (i.e. a mandatory procedure vs. an open house for a school program)
    4. What am I asking my audience to do? Is this informational or action-driven? Do they need to be told or inspired? 
    5. Is there a storytelling component to my communication? Can I “show” the message, rather than “tell” it? 
    6. Is my communication the result of mandates or regulations? 

    While our communications should always follow the Associated Press Style Guidelines, there may be times when slight deviations are required to maintain tone. There is no AP police, but if you are unsure, feel free to reach out to the communications department. 

    Adjectives can be useful when describing the CSIU editorial tone at different volumes. While some adjectives are shared, the group as a whole should indicate the kind of tone that is appropriate. 

    Low (school leaders, higher education, board members, legislators, etc.)

    • Professional
    • Confident
    • Collaborative
    • Innovative
    • Empathetic
    • Academic (but never pretentious)

    Medium (parents, job-alikes, customers and clients)

    • Professional
    • Helpful
    • Collaborative
    • Creative
    • Friendly

    High (social media, teen audiences, videos, blogs, ads)

    • Energetic
    • Passionate
    • Creative
    • Friendly
    • Engaging