When creating content for the Kapi‘olani Community College (KapCC) website, take a moment before publishing to consider your target audience. It might be helpful to think of your readers as belonging to either the campus community or the much larger, general audience.
When writing for the campus community:
- Be clear and concise. Keep your message on point focusing on the most important information first. A campus notice or announcement would fit into this category.
- Be factual. Get your point across with easy-to-read content delivered without subjective, editorial content. Members of our campus community have their own opinions and beliefs. Your page is not the place to sway opinions and win support. At best you might slow down the reader’s experience. At worst, you can kindle disagreement and frustration.
- Use insider terms and slang judiciously. Our campus readers are quite able to understand most of the acronyms and terms we use on campus, e.g., CELTT, HNSLAC, TRIO. However, there are limits to how much you can reasonably expect them to know. Consider your audience’s subject knowledge when using campus-specific terms. As a general rule, spell out full title in the first instance, with the acronym following in parentheses, e.g., “To enroll in Group Exercise (Group X) sessions, please contact Campus Recreation.”
When writing pages for the general audience:
- Stay on message, with page dealing with one general theme. Each section of that page should deal with one topic. Each paragraph should convey one complete thought. Switching topics or themes can confuse and frustrate visitors.
- Avoid KapCC-specific, inside terms. Outside readers can’t be expected to know the clever jargon and catch-phrases used on campus. Even alumni, former students with a fairly considerable knowledge of campus life, may have forgotten specific terms used on campus or graduated before these phrases became popular.
- Be as factual as possible. The average visitor to our website, specifically prospective students, view online prose with a critical eye. Using flowery language to color your prose can backfire if applied with a heavy hand.
- Consider your audience’s literacy level. Though you can expect alumni to read at a college level, you can not assume the same from prospective students and community members. Our readership is diverse and some readers may not fully comprehend the English language.
- Write the way you speak, in a conversational tone.
- Refer to KapCC in the first person plural (“we” and “our”) and the reader in the second person (“you” and “your”).
- Use contractions. A more casual sentence structure can smooth the overall tone of your page.
- Consider the rhythm of your words as though they were being read aloud.
- Try to keep your copy grammatically sound. In print, errors can stick out like a sore thumb.