Our Editorial Style Guide

When it comes to writing, we know that everyone has their own individual style and this we welcome! However, we ask all of our guest writers to follow some professional etiquette with grammar, title capitalisation and formatting etc.

If you’re not a strong writer, don’t worry! We have an editor who can help you to make the required edits and knock your copy into shape.

Continue for our simple style guide and, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch using the details below.

  • Word Count keyboard_arrow_right

    Blogs should be a minimum of 1000 words (the shorter the piece, the more impact and focus it must have) and all posts, regardless of length, will be edited to our house style (where necessary) to ensure the number of words is optimised for the format.

  • Formatting keyboard_arrow_right
    Introductions

    All of our blogs must kick off with a great intro (great and concise – 55 words max). This means a clear description of what’s to come that will grab the reader’s attention from the get-go. Talk to the reader, pose a question, state facts, offer the ‘why’ of your blog post, simply get them hooked!

    Titles and Subheadings

    Your article should have a title and contain logical subheadings. Please follow the AP style for titles and headers.

    Subheadings should be used to introduce a new section of copy. They should be relevant, clear and help the reader to navigate through the copy.

    Bullet points

    Your article can contain bullet points and these should be punctuated as follows:

    • Do use a full stop after each bullet that is a sentence (like this).
    • Do use a full stop after every bullet that completes the introductory stem.
    • Do not use punctuation after bullets that are not sentences and do not complete the stem.


    Below is an example of bullet points that complete the introductory stem.

    I like writing for Mind the Product because it:

    • Gives me a platform on which I can share my knowledge.
    • Allows me to share ideas with my community.
    • Enables me to share my thoughts on a topic that I’m enthusiastic about.


    Below is a version that does not need full stops.

    Here’s what reading articles about product management gives me:

    • Useful information
    • Inspiration
    • Access to ideas that are different from my own


    Numbered lists
    should be used when the points follow a particular sequence, (e.g. step-by-step instructions), or if you’re listing a particular number of points (e.g. 5 ways to…’).

  • Punctuation keyboard_arrow_right

    We’re sure you know how to use punctuation so here are just a few things we regularly edit, as a guide:

    Commas

    Please use the Oxford comma. This means that in lists of three or more items, always include a comma before the last item e.g. Upcoming ProductTanks in Germany include those in Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart.

    Ampersands

    Ampersands should not be used in titles or copy.

    Using apostrophes to represent omitted letters/numbers

    Use of verb contractions and omitted letters? That’s ok with us! You don’t have to go crazy with contractions, however, it’s something we like to do to create a light and casual tone.

    The En Dash, Em Dash and Hyphen

    Use an en dash with no spaces in between (–) for a fixed range of numbers. Like this: 2018–2019.

    The em dash can be used in place of commas, brackets and colons. One example is as follows: By the time the article was written—3 days later⁠—the editor was desperate to get it published.

    Shortcut tip (on a Mac):

    • For an en dash:option –
    • For an em dash: shift option

     

    Unlike the en and em dashes, a hyphen is used to link words together. For example, when joining two or more adjectives to modify the same noun (a compound adjective), e.g. She is a highly-respected product manager. Compound adjectives can also include numbers e.g. The 30-minute mtpcon keynote was excellent.

    Hyphens can or must also be used for compound words e.g. editor-in-chief and some prefixes, such as “mid,” “re, and “ex,”  (ex-husband, re-read, mid-point).

    Dates and numbers

    For numbers below 10, spell it out in full. Otherwise, please use numerals.

    • Dates: should be written as e.g. May 4, 2016
    • Times: “6 pm” and “5:30 am”, not “6 o’clock” or “five thirty”
    • Money. “£10.50”, not “Ten pounds and 50 pence”

    Numbers with more than three digits get commas:

    • 200
    • 2,101
    • 200,101
    Abbreviations and acronyms

    Avoid going overboard with abbreviations and acronyms and, if you do use them, be sure to define them first. For example: Everyone has their own interpretation of what minimum viable product (MVP) means to their organisation and, while the specifics of an MVP definition may vary, this blog explores what an MVP really is.

  • Images keyboard_arrow_right

    We love it when guest writers provide supporting images.  Images we accept include:

    • Stock photos
    • Your own photos
    • Your own graphics

    Please include relevant captions for any images you send. You must ensure the images are ok to publish on Mind the Product – we will not be liable for any copyright infringements.

  • Brand Names keyboard_arrow_right

    Our brands are always written as follows:

    • Mind the Product
    • ProductTank
  • Using UK or US English keyboard_arrow_right

    Mind the Product is based in the UK but our audience is international. As a result, we currently accept copy in UK and US English – as long as it’s consistent throughout your post.

  • Tone, Gender and Referring to our Audience keyboard_arrow_right

    Our tone is proper but informal. We’re not afraid to make puns or jokes. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we do not take an authoritative or definitive voice.

    Our writing is gender-neutral, by referring to job titles or generic terms like customers, users, them, their, etc

    Our audience is made up of ‘product people’ to avoid any one job title and to be as inclusive as possible. In singular form, this would be ‘product person’ (neither is capitalised).

Get a question about or style guide?

Send us an email editor@mindtheproduct.com and we’ll get back to you with the answer.