This editorial style guide is a tool for everyone who writes content for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). It provides guidelines and expectations so that we are consistent in our written materials.
If you have a question that this guide doesn’t answer, contact the team at [email protected]. We will revisit and update these guidelines based on future needs and trends.
Building brand with content
How we communicate our brand affects its influence and ability to inspire. It’s important that all EO communications—whether from chapters, regions, staff, contractors or member leaders—are consistent. Our brand personality must flow through all internal and external communications.
EO’s tone of voice is guided by our purpose. Our purpose is to move the world forward by unlocking the full potential of entrepreneurs. We do this by enabling transformational growth in the lives of entrepreneurs.
- Our tone is conversational, not formal. It’s clever and confident.
- It’s always inclusive, and it’s never condescending. It’s clear and direct, without being too serious.
- EO’s tone is authentic, energetic and innovative, just like our members. It inspires and draws people in. We make the complicated sound simple. EO’s personality is outgoing and curious—always ready to embrace meaningful, hands-on adventure.
- We emphasize the value in defining your own version of success—both business and personal. Our voice is intimate, conversational and uplifting, as the nature of success varies for every member.
- EO’s tone is experiential. Our greatest successes in communication feature EO members sharing experiences. The organization is built on trust and respect. We learn from one another.
Speaking about EO
When referring to EO’s global operation, please use ‘EO’ or EO staff, EO’s head office, the EO Board, etc as appropriate. We are no longer using the term “Global” and “EO Global” as proper nouns within EO terminology.
EO products, programmes and publications, such as Forum, EO Accelerator and EOupdate, are always capitalized. See the complete list of EO products and programmes in EO-isms in this document.
EO staff professionals: Use this term or “EO staff” or “professional staff”. Do not use a hyphen when writing regional titles. EO uses a comma, as in:
- Coordinator, US West Region
- Manager, South Asia Region
- Director, Europe
Locations: Write out the city, state/region or country; ie, “Las Vegas, Nevada, USA”; put a comma after the country if the location reference isn’t at the end of the sentence. Be consistent between countries—for example, if you say “Johannesburg, South Africa”, you should also say “London, UK” not just “London”.
Regions: US East, US Central and US West do not have a hyphen between “US” and the location.
Events: Always put “Year EO event title,” ie, 2010 EO Cape Town University; on second reference, use “Cape Town University” or just “University”.
EO uses an international form of English, which reflects that we are an international organization even though our head office is in the USA. This means that we do not conform to “American” English or “British” English, but instead use Oxford spelling. This is a common approach used by international organizations including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Amnesty International and the World Economic Forum.
In practice, this means we use a “z” in ize (and-ization) instead of –ise (and-isation) (organize and organization instead of organise and organisation, for instance). In most other cases, the Oxford spelling standard follows the British spelling standard in that it uses centre and not center, enrol/enrolment rather than enroll/enrollment, programme not program, colour instead of color, analyse not analyze.
The online version of the Oxford English Dictionary is the current authority for spelling at EO. If more than one spelling is given in the dictionary, use the form listed first unless otherwise indicated in these guidelines.
- Speak directly to your audience. (Use “you” and not “members”)
- Use the active voice. (“Sue built the business” not “The business was built by Sue”)
- Keep most sentences short and punchy. Vary sentence structure and sprinkle in questions where applicable.
- Avoid excessive or needless descriptors. For example, reconsider using “once-in-a-lifetime” and phrases with “very”.
- Remember that most of today’s readers are scanners. Be concise and specific.
- Avoid jargon, and if necessary to include a specific internal/industry term, describe what it means (e.g. “10x”) and spell out acronyms (“GCC” to be introduced as “Global Communications Committee”).
- Try to avoid conjunctions and spell out the full word, and avoid longer spellings of common words (“You will” vs. “You’ll” and “among” vs “amongst”).
- Keep in mind that you are writing for an international audience. Content is often translated. Avoid using sayings that are specific to a certain country or language.
- Review content for reading level.
- As you review your copy, target “-ing” words, which often add complexity and passivity to sentences. “After you apply, you will attend a launch meeting.” Instead of “After applying to the programme, members attend a launch meeting.”
YES: On 3 June, Kermit the Frog will share how he increased his revenue by updating his quality improvement procedures. Join us for this virtual event. Register here.
NO: “EO members are invited to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity led by Kermit the Frog that will make you revisit your SOP, ensuring your next quarter is the best you’ve ever seen. Register for this lifechanging event taking place on June 3rd.”
YES: EO launched a situational mentorship programme to support all members, Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competitors and Accelerator participants. We connect two people to tackle a challenge or opportunity together over 4-6 weeks. You can apply to participate as a mentor or mentee. You will attend a training session to kick off your new partnership once the programme matches you.
NO: Situational mentoring is a short-term connection between two parties that focuses on a high-impact challenge or opportunity. After applying to be a mentor or mentee, pairs are created with the structure of EO’s mentorship programme, for 4-6 weekly sessions that will address specific needs during this unprecedented time.
YES: Are you a startup founder? The virtual EO Accelerator programme is for you! Learn how we can help your business grow in our introductory session. As a participant, you will find accountability and mentorship from accomplished business owners.
NO: Get the 411 on how Accelerator can level-up your startup in this one-hour deep dive into EO’s most popular programme amongst startups.
Our messaging framework
The messaging framework conveys key elements of brand story. Read the full messaging framework here.