Gento’s writing style guide is as basic as you’re going to see in the editoral world.
The first step in creating great content and delivering a valuable experience to our readers (and bringing in traffic to the site). Write about things that will resonate with our current audience or will help grow it. Part of finding those ideas is to tap into the audience by knowing what it likes, find out what it’s reading elsewhere and pulling the information it will respond to.
Digital journalism and content creation are no longer a one-way street — we don’t have the luxury anymore of telling the audience what it wants to see.
We respond to what they want.
In short, it helps to be your audience. What would resonate with you? What would you like to know more about?
If you follow medical-related news, information, and entertainment, then you’ve already won half the battle of selecting great stories for Gento.
First, we can look at what has worked in the health care industry. Dive into the analytics and see what stories consistently did the best and write more like that.
Barring access to Google Analytics, take a look at the number of comments on a story or the impact it made on Facebook and other social platforms. If it brought in a lot of eyeballs and had the right amount of engagement, that’s a winner. Do more of it and do it better.
Second, try to figure out what we’re missing that you’d like to see more of. If you’re living the medical content life, then you’ll know. More technology stuff? More medical law coverage? More powerful clinician stories? If you’d read it, the chances are, the audience read will too.
Third, break the news. There’s no better way to earn traffic and audience than to break the news that affects them. Whether it’s a new health care reform policy for the in-home health agencies, you break it, you win.
The one caveat here is that you have to try to answer the “who cares” question — in other words, the more people that care, the better your story will be.
Breaking a story on new rules for the in-home health care might not resonate as well as for clinicians not currently working in the industry. See what we mean?
In the end, if you’re living and breathing this type of content, your gut will nine times out of 10 tell you what’ll work.
Article archetypes include eight article formats that have proven successful.
Gento’s Writing Style Guide: Our style borrows directly from the AP Style guide that everyone else in the media works on, with some minor tweaks.
Note: Your stories will be published much faster and have to be edited much less if you follow this guide.
Abbreviations and acronyms: if it’s the first reference, spell it out. Further references can be abbreviated. You don’t, however, need to go overboard. DO NOT insert a parenthetical abbreviation after the first reference.
The briefing was held in a large operating room on Aug. 16. When the medical director addressed his clinics on new HIPPA rules and regulations, he said it was time to defeat the enemy. WRONG!
The briefing was held in the operating room (OR) on Aug. 16. Correct!
Clinicians titles use their full name and title/job description on the first reference. Capitalize title and do not use a comma to separate it from the individual’s name. You can also use nonformal titles like “Physical Therapist Chuck Hagel.”
Ex: Physical Therapist Chuck Hagel spoke today at a press conference.
If the title is after the name, it is not capitalized. Ash Carter, a registered nurse, spoke at a press conference.
Titles for medical personnel: use the proper terminology for referencing people of other disciplines.
For personnel on the first reference, use their title, then drop it entirely if referencing back to that person later in the piece. Always use the AP style version
Spacing: Always use single spacing after sentences. Never double.
Exclamation points: Use sparingly. Unless a person is actually yelling,
DO NOT USE IT!
Adverbs: Use sparingly. Unless it’s in a quote, it is rarely necessary to use them.
Percent: Spell out “percent,” do not use “%” unless it’s in a headline.
The hospital says, “medical care spending will decrease by 20 percent over the future year defense plan.”
Half the battle starts with getting people to click the link (which is usually shared on Facebook). That’s why it begins with a witty and catchy headline.
Headlines should be sentence case and should give the general idea of the story. If you need to quote an item in the headline, use single quotes (‘ ‘) instead of double quotes (” “).
So now that you have a good idea, enough research, and a good headline, you need to open the piece strong.
The first sentence needs to catch the reader so that they want to continue on. Would you read a piece that started with, “The blackout in the hospital was caused by”…?
No, you wouldn’t. It needs to be interesting, and the opening line should hint at what is to come:
Officials at Mount Sinai are saying that the black was caused by the recent heatwaves blanketing
Read other stories on the site and in the news to see how other writers do this. The worst thing that you can do is get the reader to click the link and then bore them in the first sentence.
While traditional news writing basics still hold true today, many new writers often overlook one crucial aspect.
Most stories need to answer the fundamental questions of who, what, where, why, when, and how. But another significant question is, “who cares?”
This is a necessary part of what’s called in news parlance a “nut graf.” It usually the third or so paragraph that explains the importance of the story or the context.
Use the other posts on the site along with this example story to construct yours
A shocking headline that will get someone to click the link LEDE.
It’s not every day that an editor at Gento reads an entire story without making a change since many stories need minor edits, and others need much more. But the site recently released a style guide to make sure the posts are top quality, sources confirmed on Monday.
“It’s basically a way to make sure that we are writing in similar styles,” said Tim Kirkpatrick, SEO editor of Gento. “We want our writers to have their own voice, but also to conform to similar styles of news writing like in this article.”
Some writers have been writing without the use of a “lead,” or an attention-grabbing sentence. Others have forgotten to use quotes from both sides of the story or have had spelling errors.
The worst, however, is the downright dull posts. When this happens, a little kitten dies.
“You’ve got to think of the kittens,” said Robert Smith. Smith is a part of a growing trend of writers who see very few edits on their articles.
“When I see an article from a select few writers, I usually know that I don’t have to rewrite it, or add in a whole lot more,” said Tim Kirkpatrick. “It definitely saves a lot of time.”
Kirkpatrick also says that it’s a good idea to explain “inside jokes” so that anyone industry can understand any post on the site. The key he says is that articles need to be accessible to a broad audience.
“This is awesome,” said John Smith. “This patient made a full recovery due to our therapy plan.”
Explains a topic to the audience. It should typically be 500 words or less (but can go longer for more prominent issues).
The voice should be similar to an academic at a bar or a very laid–back professor. It’s a doctor explaining a medical diagnosis to an assistant while eating lunch. This is often used for historical pieces and new technology, but also occasionally for mysterious medical stories.
The laid-back professor voice is the default voice for Gento. We should be smarter than the reader but not pushy or too cocky. Use active voice unless there is a specific reason to go passive.
Don’t talk down to the reader. Don’t use a $20 word when a $5 will do.
Find a verifiable hero from history who did some really historical stuff and write an exciting rundown of what they did. Use action words to linger in moments when the hero was in extreme danger or acted like a total professional.
These are all about how awesome America or a specific military specialty is. They should be upbeat and laudatory, the highlight reel of a group of clinicians.
The voice is similar to a Charge Nurse getting their staff member pumped before a big day (or them celebrating a recent victory). Try to find lots of photos/videos.
How would two formidable forces match up in a debate? It’s a play-by-play of a fictional battle. Cite sources and discuss what makes these units different from others. Whatever asset or capability sets the units apart has to be used in the post.
It should be a little suspenseful and narrated using lots of action words.
Someone did something cute, and it made everyone feel happy, or someone made something profound that makes everyone feel proud/sad. These almost always need video/photo support. They aren’t always top performers, so be sure your subject is very endearing/heart-wrenching while still being connected to home health.
Items into a list and write a short bit about each, usually 300-500 words. Try not to use the “Top 5” or “Top 10.” You want to have 7, 11, 4, etc. entries to imply that the list is exactly as long as it needs to be, not lengthened or shortened to an arbitrary number.
Also, the list should be only as long as it needs to be. If an item feels like it almost fits, leave it out. If it fits, add it in (even if it makes the post a bit long).
This is Gento’s writing style guide go-to article type.
Therapy Something is infuriating and controversial, and here’s what’s happening with it. For controversies, Gento is always pro-medical but presents both sides of the issue. These are used to ride waves of outrage or discussion but should be written with a reasonably detached voice. “Here are the facts: …”
Something happened, and everyone should know about it right now. Check to see if HHN or another syndication partners have already has a story about it. Gento news posts should cite 2-3 other articles or primary sources.
Should be written quickly to capitalize on Facebook trends.
Title tag format: Gento | then the articles headline.
Focus keyword should be layered throughout the article 3-5 times.
Meta-description should have mirror keywords as well
Have at least 2 internal article links in H3:
The End. Congrats on finishing the Gento’s writing style guide. Or did you?