Writing for Koru
The goal of our content across all mediums is to add value, and this comes to the forefront in our writing. From our voice and tone to the actual content we’re delivering, we’re always in service of our users.
How We Write
Our writing style sounds like a conversation. We use familiar, straight-forward language: we talk as we would to a friend. Koru represents a team of coaches and real people, not just a company, so we always use the first person plural when referring to ourselves. (Exception: Use the first person singular if writing a blog post based on your personal experience.)
- We avoid “corporate speak” and always use colloquial language when possible.
- We also avoid wording that has strong connotations with school or higher-ed, such as “curriculum” or “students.”
- We keep it real and avoid hyperboles like “dream job.” We know your first job requires hard work and grit.
- We also favor clean punctuation. Say it with your words, not your exclamation points.
- We use contractions often in order to reflect in-person conversations.
- We keep it simple and straight-forward.
Koru’s voice is smart, supportive, and personable. We communicate like a friend – one that knows you well, is always there for you, but isn’t afraid to give it to you straight. Our top priority is helping and empowering you with actionable advice and kicking down doors to help you meet your goals.
When writing for Koru, remember:
We speak directly to you.
We’re informal, but always polished.
We’re confident in our opinions, but not cocky about them.
We are direct, but not harsh.
We cut to the chase and emphasize clarity over cleverness.
We are whip-smart, but not overly intellectual.
We are fun-loving, but know when to be serious.
We meet you where you are and never put you down.
We’re not here to sell. We’re fiercely passionate about your success.
We’re focused on you, not us.
While our voice is constant, our overall tone, or attitude, fluctuates based on audience and context. For example, while our tone is usually fun-loving and opinionated, we know when to switch to a more serious and objective tone. Again, think of it like a conversation and use a tone that feels natural and appropriate for the audience and situation.
One thing that is awesome about Koru (but that can make it tricky to write for Koru) is that we serve three distinct audiences with diverse needs and pain-points: students and grads, higher-ed institutions, and employers. This is where you’ll see bigger tone shifts, as you wouldn’t talk to a college student the same way you’d talk to a college career center or a seasoned exec.
Always write for your target audience, but keep in mind that when trying to empathize with one audience, your tone should never alienate another audience. For example, while many college students are frustrated with their college’s job preparation resources, we are careful to avoid a negative or critical tone when talking about colleges. And visa versa, why many employers are frustrated with young graduates in the workplace and their lack of experience, we would never use a condescending tone when talking to or about young workers.
At the core, we are a connector between these audiences — not a divider — and our tone should always reflect this.
We are accessible and easy to understand.
Say this: “Welcome to Koru, Melissa. We’re excited to help you with your job search. Let’s start with a few questions so we can get to know you and start finding jobs that you’ll love.”
Not that: “Start your job search with Koru. Answer these questions to learn what jobs are relevant to you.”
We cut to the chase, and are confident in our opinions.
Say this: “One thing that will help is to make your video more polished with brighter lighting and a steadier camera. We’ve got a handy list of video tips here.”
Not that: “One thing that I think would help is to make your video a little more polished. I noticed yours was pretty dark and a bit shaky.”
We focus on you, not us.
Say this: “Here’s what you’ll learn at Koru.”
Not that: “Learn more about what the Koru program will give you.”
We don’t make light of your process or journey.
Say this: “Unfortunately, your application to zulily didn’t make it to the next round. It was a really competitive pool, so don’t let it get you down. Here’s some feedback to help you on your next application …”
Not that: “Oh no! It looks like you didn’t make the cut. Here are some more jobs you can apply for.”
Our public web pages are used to educate potential customers and partners on the value of the program and job marketplace, and to provide clarity on how it works. We use personal anecdotes and examples to support our value proposition and keep the focus 100% on the customer.
Koru blog posts are short pieces (typically 500-1000 words) written in the author’s first-person voice. Contributors to our blog include the Koru team, our grads, employer partners, and special guests. While we encourage personal stories and anecdotes, we always include actionable advice. We cover a range of topics, but mostly focus on career advice for college students, job seekers, or young professionals. For example, you might write a blog post on secret LinkedIn hacks that will make your profile stand out, or how to set up informational interviews over holiday break. We can all be subject-matter experts on something, so we encourage people to write about the things they know/care a lot about.
Our blog content should rarely be focused on overtly promoting our company or products. We’ll use our blog to announce information if it’s useful to our customers – such as introducing them to the summer’s employer partners or highlighting certain Korus currently in the program. We won’t use our blog to announce new partnerships, funding, or other non-customer centric news.
Our emails walk a fine line between being short and sweet, and also giving our customers the information they need to take the next step. Again, we meet our customers where they are and try to only deliver information that’s relevant to them and their stage in the job search.
Our weekly newsletter is used to keep our colder contacts in the loop. Our newsletters always have a theme, with a blog post or guide offered. They’ll also contain announcements of local events and important deadlines.
Personal Program Pushes
Leading up to important deadlines, we contact marketing and sales qualified leads with a personal reach out encouraging them to apply. Our tone here is always casual, helpful, and serious.
When you ask for more information from Koru, we’ll send you specific information about our program or job marketplace, as well as weekly content to keep you engaged. This could be in the form of blog posts, announcements of program partners, and invitations to events and webinars.
On our job marketplace web platform and app, we help guide young job-seekers through the job application process, as well as provide them with valuable feedback on their strengths and areas for growth. Our tone here is notedly more friendly and excitable than in other mediums, as we act as a personal coach and number 1 fan for the job seeker.
In the written content for program, along with emails and guides leading up to the program, our tone is much more polished and professional, without losing the conversational voice. We are serious about programs, goal-oriented, and set the bar high for our cohorts.
We use social media to share our content, press, product announcements, and to give a personal look into the program. We use Twitter primarily to share articles and answer questions. Our Instagram showcases our company culture, as well as fun pictures from the program. Our Facebook is used for just about everything, keeping our audience informed and filled with delightful content. On LinkedIn, we keep it professional and personal – sharing helpful content and giving shout-outs to program partners.
Koru represents a team of real people, so naturally, we encourage our team to actively share their insights, opinions, and experiences related to our space on social media, new outlets, and publishing platforms like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium. As a team, we strive to produce content that is on-brand but also authentic to the individual and their experience.
Use title casing for main headlines and sub-headlines. The titles will appear in all uppercase when CSS is applied.
Example: “How it Works” will appear as “HOW IT WORKS”
Buttons always contain actions, like “Join Now,” “Get Started,” and “Learn More.” The language is short and straightforward. Use title casing, and the text will appear in all uppercase when CSS is applied.
Example: “Start Your Application” will appear as “START YOUR APPLICATION”
Don’t say things like “Click here!” or “Click for more information.” Write the sentence as you normally would, and link relevant keywords.
Example: Need a quick resume fix? Check out our Zen and the Art of Resume Maintenance.
We only spell out urls in print. When doing so, don’t capitalize links or words within links.
Example: Visit us at joinkoru.com.
Links should stand out from regular copy, with strong or emphasis text. They should have a hover state that communicates they’re interactive, and should have a distinct active and visited state. When setting the hover state of links, be sure to include focus state as well, to help our customers using assistive technologies or touch devices.
HOW TO WRITE “KORU”
The “K” is always capitalized. “Koru” only appears in all caps when in a heading.
Example (paragraph): Koru is a college-to-career provider based in Seattle, WA.
Example (heading): KORU WINS STARTUP OF THE YEAR
We use contractions. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Only spell out numbers below 10. Always spell out percentages.
Example: 55 percent of recent grads are underemployed.
We spell out the day of the week, with the month and date following. In some cases (such as on our calendar), we will use a three letter shortened month in order to brief. We don’t add suffixes to dates.
Example: Sunday, September 14
Example: Sunday, Sep 14
We use the oxford comma.
Example: We run programs in Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston.
We convey enthusiasm and emphasis predominantly through language itself, rather than the use of exclamation points. However, in sparing instances of wit, humor, or authentic excitement, exclamation points are acceptable.
Example: I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to use exclamation points sparingly!
*Note: We use more exclamation points on our app, where the tone is much friendlier and personal than our public web pages.
We’re not sticklers, especially if rearranging sentences to avoid ending with a preposition makes you sound awkward and robotic.
Example: You can end a sentence with a preposition if you want to.
We use a single space between sentences.
We don’t use ampersands, unless we’re desperate for more characters on Twitter.
LISTS AND BULLET POINTS
Numbered lists should only be used when the order is important, such as a “Top Ten” list or a “how-to” list. When making a numbered list, we use the numeral followed by a period, not a parenthetical or colon.
- Follow the rules.
- Follow rule one.
Use bullet points to present a group of information that does not depend on any certain order.
- Here is some of the stuff you’ll learn at Koru:
- How to run a meeting
- Interview practice
- Business Model Canvassing
We often use a pair of em dashes (—) with spaces on both sides instead of parentheticals. They are less intrusive and make the flow of writing smoother. Also, word to the wise, two hyphens do not equal an em dash.
WORDS TO AVOID (AND WHAT TO USE INSTEAD)
We don’t say “class.” Instead, we say “program.”
We don’t say “students.” Instead, we say “Korus.”
We don’t say “curriculum.” Instead, we say “what you’ll learn.”
We don’t say “dream job.” Instead, we say “a job you love.”