Below you'll find some key points about writing style for the CIPD, and a searchable A-Z glossary. These are living documents and will be updated as language use and style changes.
Referring to the CIPD
- The CIPD is singular (as are all organisations). So we say ‘the CIPD is’ and never ‘the CIPD are’. But, we can say ‘we’ or ‘our’ to refer to the people who make up the CIPD, eg ‘Our purpose is to champion better work and working lives’ or ‘Our survey report looks at labour shortages’.
- Put ‘the’ in front of CIPD (unless it’s an adjective, such as ‘CIPD members’ or ‘CIPD resources’) eg ‘The CIPD is incorporated under Royal Charter’ but ‘CIPD membership is internationally recognised’.
- All CIPD content is audience-led.
- Think about your audience’s agenda – not the CIPD’s.
- Ask yourself: Who am I writing for, what will they learn, what problem will this solve?
- Our content is for a global audience (even when covering a specific market). Always refer to the ‘UK’ government in first mention, for example.
CIPD brand and tone of voice
- The CIPD’s tone of voice should imply bold, human, measured.
The CIPD is committed to achieving excellent reader accessibility. To this end, please:
- Use plain, everyday language. Avoid unnecessary detail and jargon.
- Don’t use idioms or figures of speech, like ‘climbing the ladder’.
- Where possible, use the active voice eg ‘The CIPD implements flexible working’ instead of ‘Flexible working is implemented by the CIPD’.
- Use contractions to be concise and more personal. For example, ‘you’ll’ or ‘we’re’.
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
- Break up big blocks of text into lists. Use numbered lists for instructions or steps in a process; bulleted lists for everything else.
- Use plenty of short, clear crossheads to convey each section’s focus or key message.
- Don't use underline, bold or italics for emphasis. Underline is only used for links.
- Authors should provide the details or a link to any sources, data or references used, so that editors can verify the facts and/or methodologies used.
- You can test the readability of your text on the Hemingway app. Aim for a ‘good’ rating.
- You need to provide descriptive ('alt') text for all images for people who are blind or have low vision.
- Describe complex images such as diagrams, charts, infographics, etc, in the text itself, and summarise them in a caption.
Writing for good SEO (search engine optimisation)
- Use relevant, commonly searched terms, include keywords and phrases.
- Consider the purpose of the content when writing headings. Questions are acceptable.
- Include internal links to other relevant pages on the CIPD website.