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Editorial Guidelines

Our must-haves for on-brand content and add-on assets.

Our editorial guidelines outline how we approach content, both written and add-ons such as images, links and keywords. In general, we use the preset Obvious doc template to maintain consistency in headers, fonts and formatting.

Types of content‌

Our content can fall under the following (often overlapping) categories:

  • Specialist how-tos: Instructional content pieces that show how we solved a particular design, engineering, or organisational problem
  • Features: Descriptive articles about work we’re doing, experiences (such as this post about our offsite), content on events (our own or others, such as conferences we’ve spoken at), and processes
  • Syndicated content: Material that might have been published elsewhere about our work, sometimes written by us, sometimes not (such as this interview about Dhruv’s vision for a design org, which was originally published here)
  • Case studies: These have a separate page and don’t fall under the ambit of the Obvious blog

Content-specific guidelines

Blog

Ideal length: 650 to 750 words

Article structure

Title
  • 5 to 15 words in length
  • Sentence case
Header image

Pick an open-source header image that you think works for your article, or write down pointers for the comms team for a customised illustration

Introduction
  • 8-10 lines
Subheadings
  • Highlight essence of the following paragraph
  • Clear, descriptive terms relevant to the main title
  • Ideal number of subheadings: 4 to 6
  • Hyperlinked phrases to related internal articles where applicable
  • Pro tips or key takeaways where it may add value
Conclusion

2 to 4 lines

Case Studies

Ideal length: 1800 to 2000 words

Case study structure

Heading
  • 12-15 words
Tagline
  • 4 to 7 words
Introduction
  • 120 to 150 words
  • Includes information on the client, their ask, and challenges that led to the partnership
Body

1200 to 1600 words

Outcomes
  • 3 points
  • 15 to 20 words each

Social Media

Ideal length

  • Instagram: 138 to 150 characters, 5 to 9 hashtags
  • Twitter: Max 280 characters
  • LinkedIn: 25 words for updates, 1,900 words for long-form articles

Guidelines

  • Light, informal tone of writing without being too casual or on the nose
  • Feel free to use an emoji or two
  • Simplify sentences and keep them short
  • Avoid short forms (e.g. info/ org) and use full words instead of numbers or letters (e.g. '4' and 'u')

External Newsletters

Ideal length

  • Overheard at Obvious: 300-400 words
  • Others: Max 600-700 words as required

Things to keep in mind

These pointers apply to all the content we produce (unless otherwise specified):

Themes

We have three overarching categories for content:

  • Product
  • Engineering, and
  • Culture

Before writing

Before starting, we answer the following defining questions:

  • What is the topic? Is it relevant, and represents who we are to the outside world?
  • Who is the content piece aimed at — current or future clients, current or potential hires, higher management, design/ engineering audiences?
  • What is the goal of the copy? To instruct, inform, describe, convince, or tell a story?
  • Is the topic one that needs technical writing or slightly casual writing with minimal jargon?
  • What is the key message of the copy?

It might also help to set up an outline first that includes a tentative headline, summary, introduction, 2-3 possible subheadings to break down the article, images and conclusion.

Keywords

We usually identify one or two keywords/phrases that best describe the chosen topic and crux.

We then either let the communications team know or mark the keywords in bold when writing, to later use those and boost the article to a broader audience.

For example, if writing about Bodystorming, we will consider marking “Bodystorming” and “Design Thinking” as keywords.

After writing

Here's what we should question ourselves on after the first draft is ready:

  • Does the copy reflect the key message and the topic?
  • Is the copy engaging enough, and is it the right balance of practical and friendly?
  • Is the voice and point of view consistent throughout the piece? Who is "you" and who is "us"?
  • Have appropriate links been added into the text?
  • Do the structure and subheadings look consistent and do justice to the topic and key message?
  • Can the copy benefit from the input of someone else on a related team (e.g. engineering, People Ops, Design)?

Images

We submit all images in a zip folder along with the draft. These can be either editorial illustrations commissioned in-house or photos and videos taken (or commissioned) in-house.

They can also be sourced from royalty-free and copyright-free websites such as Unsplash, Pexels, or Pixabay with a link to the source.

Sources and Credits

When using an external quote, statistics or resources, we either hyperlink them or indicate sources at the end.

Publication Guidelines