Right as Rain
Note: For topics not covered here, Right as Rain follows the Associated Press Stylebook (AP). It can be purchased at bookstores or viewed online. UW Libraries also provides limited AP Stylebook access for employees with NET IDs.
Section 1: Voice and Tone
Right as Rain by UW Medicine is a website designed to inspire readers to make healthier lifestyle choices and more informed healthcare decisions
Voice and tone
- Friendly and conversational. It’s like getting together with your friends or chatting with your next-door neighbor ─ the neighbor who takes care of your dog when you’re out of town.
- Humorous when it counts. Sometimes our experiences with health need to be looked at with light-hearted humor. Healthcare can bring experiences that make us laugh together.
- Accessible. Our content is easy to understand and a delight to read. We break things down, but don’t dumb them down. Our experts live where you live and understand what it’s like to be a resident of the Pacific Northwest.
- Authentic. Our stories come from the heart. Real people, real stories. Experts share in their own words and voice. No one should feel like we’re just trying to sell them a service.
- Hip. We aim to make health and wellness cool. We’re not a health library, and our writing tone reflects that.
- Expert, but not academic. We are the source for health and wellness information coming from in-demand UW Medicine and University of Washington experts. We inform without talking down to our readers or using medical jargon.
- Supportive. It’s important that our readers feel like we have their backs.
Best practices for writing consumer-facing content
- Headlines should be engaging, catchy and informative. They should not purposely withhold crucial information to garner clicks (click-baiting).
- In most cases, articles should have a clear introduction and be broken up into easy-to-digest sections with subheads. Keep paragraphs short — snackable and skimmable.
- When it makes sense, a narrative can be in the first person.
- Always include at least one actionable takeaway for readers (with the exception of patient stories, which can be determined on a case-by-case basis).
- All articles that quote a subject-matter expert should feature someone affiliated with UW Medicine. It is OK to interview other UW-affiliated sources, but a UW Medicine source also needs to be included.
- When including studies, link to the full text of the study if it is publicly available. If not, link to a PubMed abstract.
- If a subject-matter expert is quoted about something that is not evidence-based or standard of care, include a caveat that makes it clear that data may or may not support this idea (e.g. “there’s little science to support,” “more research needs to be done,” “the scientific jury is still out”).
- We want to provide our readers with as much useful information as possible. Sometimes that means we may link to other resources. If you’re mentioning facts, such as “half of women are at risk of developing skin cancer,” or a pop culture reference, such as “Amazon gives away thousands of bananas each year,” those are other good opportunities to link to an article or page from a reputable site (e.g., government and news websites; no Wikipedia, WebMD or other healthcare organizations).
Section 2: Usage Guidelines
- Use AP Title Case (titlecase.com is helpful).
- Numbers in headlines (H1) should use numerals and not be spelled out.
- Subheads (H2) should be in sentence case, styled without periods.
- Follow AP Style, with a link to the expert’s UW Medicine bio page.
- First Reference: Shelley Wiechman, a psychologist at the Pediatric Primary Care Clinic at Harborview Medical Center. Or Dr. Jane Doe, a family medicine physician at UW Neighborhood Woodinville Clinic.
- Second Reference: Wiechman or Doe.
- First reference: include their full name, e.g., Jane Doe
- Second reference: use their first name, e.g., Jane
- Break quotes into their own paragraphs.
- As told to” stories written in the first person will carry the writer’s byline. A summary section explaining the story should be the lede paragraph and italicized. At the end of the summary section, this sentence should be included in bold: This is her story, as told to [writer’s name].
- Republished content should include this note in italics at the end of the article: Editor’s note: This article was originally published [Date]. It has been reviewed and updated with current information.
- Repurposed/revised Newsroom articles:
- Author: Right as Rain.
- At the bottom of the article: [Newsroom Author] and [Right as Rain Author] contributed to this article. A version of this story originally appeared on the UW Medicine Newsroom [link].
- Hyperlinks: Use descriptive words rather than a URL to link text whenever possible.
- External links should open in new tab, internal (Right as Rain) links open in the same tab.
- If the URL needs to be written out, do not include http:// or www.
- Do not use “click here” to indicate website links.
Other usage notes
- Healthcare instead of health care.
- When quoting someone, use “says,” not “said.”
- Use doctor instead of provider.
- Photo/graphic credit for UW Medicine employees: UW Medicine/FirstName LastName