Writing for Marketing

These style and content tips can help you create social media and email messaging that can motivate people to read and to act.

Email Marketing Messages

Screenshot of e-mail marketing subject lines.

Subject Lines

  • Keep subject lines to 50-60 characters.
  • Subject lines are capitalized like titles, this is not the case for subject lines in Spanish.
  • Keep them short and to the point. They should be easy to understand and benefit-focused
  • They should reflect what the reader can expect in the content of the message.
  • Make sure that the preheader text adds additional information (A preheader is the first sentence in the body of an email and follows the subject line when an email is previewed as shown in this image.) 

Body of an Email

  • Remember mobile first, many folks will read your message from their smart devices so keep the body of the email to no more than 2 to 3 short paragraphs. 
  • Less is more, unless you’re drafting an email about a lesson plan or helping the reader navigate a complex topic, use no more than 3 links per email.

Call to Action (CTA)

  • Keep the call to action as your top priority - ask yourself: what do you want the reader to do after they read this email? Make sure that the CTA is clear. 
  • Hyperlink the call to action.

Tone

  • Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and be empathetic - don’t be preachy, be friendly yet authoritative.

Voice

  • For Spanish messages: Use the “Usted” voice. 

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Social Media Messages

Scope 

Social media messages cover a wide-range of topics. For Facebook and Twitter, draft messages that either offer:

Flexible Style

  • Follow the overall style guidelines as much as possible. However, there might be times when getting the message across in a clear manner will trump perfect uniformity in style. For example, if you have character limitations don’t use the colon (:) before the URL. 
    • Spanish: For GobiernoUSA.gov tweets, you could use bilingual hashtags when appropriate. 

Use of Images

  • Whenever possible, include a visual with your messages. Use government sources like the Library of Congress (search for “Photos, prints, drawings to see what’s available online) and the USA.gov search. Another good place to search for images is Hackpad

Voice

  • For Spanish messages: Use the “Tú” voice.
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Last Updated: September 18, 2017

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