Dplife Writer’s Guidelines

Welcome, DP Life writers! Please refer to FFWPU Grammar Practices guidelines when you are writing for DPLife.info, in addition to the DPLife-specific guidelines below.

Goals

  • Users should see that DP Life is open about itself and its members, addressing the good and the bad, as long as the core of the message is honest and relatable. Users “uncover the unexpected,” by learning the frank truths and coming to light about old misconceptions. This is a crucial foundation to link back to as more lifestyle content is introduced.
  • It’s important to speak TO the readers, not AT them. This means connecting on a conversational level that speaks their language, while communicating the core behind DPLife (Divine Principle). We need to relate in a way that encourages conversation and engagement.
  • Show the optimistic outlook that DP Life/The Unification movement has for the coming months.

 

Deliverable 

Final submitted piece via Google doc should have the following:

  • Word count: 500-700, unless otherwise directed
  • Font: Calibri, size 11
  • No formatting: left aligned, no indent, one return-space between each paragraph, bold subheadings
  • Suggested title and subtitle
  • Your name under the title

 

Structure

  • Post titles should be brief and catchy, like newspaper & magazine headlines. When in doubt or can’t get creative, use honest, to-the-point titles. Capitalize words. The title of the blog should be the most likely search phrase.
  • Intro text – One or two paragraphs of 1 – 3 sentences.
  • Subheading – A few words or short sentence, caps are good but optional.
  • 1 to 3 paragraph(s) per section. Try not to use more than 3 sentences per paragraph. If this section needs more info, try using a list or a quote, or include a picture to break up text. Text on the web needs to be broken up for quick readability. The first 2 sections need to be catchy and entice the reader to scroll down and keep reading. Avoid redundancy.
  • Next subheading
  • 1 to 4 short paragraphs. Can include an ending.
  • Optional: Concluding subheading – maybe a call to action, or summary.
  • Concluding paragraph(s).
  • 2-4 sentences per list point. Subheadings wherever possible
  • Note: when linking, link to a few key words, not an entire sentence.

 

Basic Elements

  • The “what” of the piece: what is it talking about?
  • The “so what” of the piece: what unique angle is it taking?
  • The “now what” of the piece: action steps; what will your reader be asked to DO about it?

 

Brainstorm Process

  • Begin by seeing where Unification Thought/Divine Principle/True Father/True Mother stands on the topic
  • Based on that reference point, find supporting materials from the world at large, such as stats, other sites with professional material, books – just something reference worthy with credential. NEVER use the phrase: “Statistics show…”  instead, just state the stat, state who/what research said it, and hyperlink it to its reference site.
  • Begin to write piece
  • Always consider, how compelling is this content really?
  • Always use subheadings where possible to break the text up into manageable bits

 

Content

  • Components: Questions, Concrete Action Steps, Answer the What? So what? Now what?
  • Incorporate SEO keywords (see SEO Standards below)
  • Conclude with Call to Action
  • Always look for opportunities to hyperlink to other posts

 

Tone

  • Post structure breakdown: questions, friendly verbage, on serious topic followed by the “So what”. Main body content is matter-of-fact “what” but with friendly verbage. Conclusion can be similar to opening: several questions followed by the “now what” and a concluding “so what.” 
  • Titles should be attention-grabbing, enticing. Consider formatting as a question.
  • Subheadings should be succinct
  • Casual, youth-focused language – avoid technical or advanced vocabulary. A good question to ask when considering a word choice is, “Would the average fifth-grader know this word?”
  • Try to avoid “preaching” – talking at the audience, rather than to them. We are trying to move away from Divine Principle lectures towards Divine Principle conversations
  • Voice is friendly, welcoming, inclusive, conversational, offering a fresh outlook, inviting participation, inviting to reflect and reconsider
  • Inclusive verbage, yet remain unique to Unification culture
  • When quoting True Father, tweak the language so that there is non-gender specific references. “Our” and “we” can replace “him” and “his”, etc.
  • Use non-gender specific language in general.  Again, “our” and “we” rather then “he”, “she”, and even in place of “your”.  Only use “you” and “your” when it’s necessary, but keep in mind, the target audience is really an “our” mentality.
  • When referring to God, keep in mind those who don’t think of God the way we do, or don’t believe in God at all. We want to find a balance between being confident in what we believe and diluting everything to the bare bones. There are ways to talk about God and how we see God without dumbing it down yet without turning others off to it. Rather than stating God sentences as fact, when you first bring up God in an article introduce the statement about God as a teaching of the DP, or say “Father Moon teaches that God…” followed by whatever you want to say about God. Keep the door open for those who don’t think of God the way we do. We also plan to come up with articles about God, to which you can link every mention of God in your writing.
  • Instead of the word “beliefs”, we can say, “teachings”, “way of thinking”, “point of view”, “worldview” or “lifestyle”. Saying that “we teach that…” or “our point of view is…” is much stronger than saying “we believe…”and it sticks to the fact that we are teaching a lifestyle, not a religion.
  • Instead of the word “faith”, we can express it as “living the lifestyle that embodies the teachings of the Divine Principle.” Or simply, “principles.”

 

Flow 

  • Lay a “can you relate?” foundation before moving on too quickly to “To-Do’s”
  • Quotes can be edited to be more readable, understandable and generalizable

 

SEO Standards

Please comply with SEO standards. This is especially important in titles.

Overall site Keywords: to be used as much as they are relevant to the content of the post, including in titles and subheadings

  • Love (also: authentic love)
  • Inspired
  • Connected (also: connect)
  • Loving relationship
  • Family
  • Grateful life
  • Subset keywords: True self, video, legacy

Focus Words:

  • The word/words that are specific to that post.
  • Ex: If there is a video in the post, video is a keyword. The article on Superman would have Superman as the focus word.
  • should be used in the post 5 – 10 times, including in title or subheadings

Long Tail Keywords:

  • word/words combination that is more specific but most relevant to our site
  • please incorporate these where relevant in the actual post
  • how to get focused in life
  • spring cleaning your spiritual life
  • embarking on a spiritual journey
  • holy spirit association for the unification of world christianity
  • happiness is something we create
  • wedding ceremony family blessing
  • your living is determined not so much by what life bring to you
  • spiritual nourishment

 

Growing Readership

  • We are asking all our writers to help promote these articles on their Facebook pages and Facebook groups, personal blogs and Twitter accounts by sharing the Facebook post of the story on your Facebook pages and the post link on your Twitter accounts and personal blogs.

 

Interviews

  • Introduction – Capture the essence of the person externally (job, family, where they live, etc.) first and briefly before transitioning into the interview topic. Highlight what is unique about this person.
  • Questions – Phrase questions respectfully and sensitively, while still piquing the interest of the reader and getting to the core of the interview’s potential as a story. Be as specific and direct as possible; elaborate, but not wordy. Use open questions more often than closed questions—questions eliciting yes/no answers
  • Editing the interview – Take the interview responses as a whole, edit them into a sequence that presents a compelling story, and then insert the questions. They do not have to be the exact questions asked, but the answer provided should answer the question that is printed. Remove redundancy or backwards ways of speaking. Delete filler words and cut out extraneous details. Keep mainly the parts of the interview that support the key purpose of the interview. Help achieve a voice of passion, depth and clarity/conviction even if the interviewee is a poor speaker. Make sure the interview inspires and touches the reader. Build up to an epiphany moment.

Alternate workflow for interviews:

  • Write Article -> Audio Narrative -> If powerful turn it into a video. Like writing a book and turning it into a movie. 

 

DP Life Content Breakdown Categories

News – happenings DPlife related, world news, church events, current events.

  • EX: DP life workshop, Holy Day, Marriage Blessing Ceremony, God’s Hope for America pilgrimage, DPlife BBQ, Hangouts Campaigns, New T shirt, Competitions, Behind the scenes, Re-written FFWPU news articles, What does Ebola mean for me?, World Cup

Insights – Our Beliefs; DP upfront, then the article unpacks it. Can link to additional cultural applications of same topic.

  • Divine Principle/Unification Thought
  • Specific Divine Principle or UT perspective on any topic.
    • Link articles to the Dojo videos that teach the principle

Culture – Our Lifestyle, what we are trying to create (Cheon Il Guk!), Culture Upfront, DP supported

  • Historical church stuff
  • Traditions, rituals
  • Testimonies

 

Topic Targets

Individual Well Being

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Mental

Family

  • Sibling
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Sexuality
  • Adoption

Global

  • Environment
  • Humanitarian
  • Social Issues
  • Leadership

 

Copy

Refer to FFWPU Grammar Practices for the full list.

  • All subheads have initial caps (except “small” words), no punctuation.
  • Italicize titles for books, TV shows, films, CD’s, magazines, newspapers, journals, and album titles
  • Use quotation marks for chapter titles (not chapter numbers), articles titles for newspapers or magazines, song titles, poems and short story titles, plays, television and radio episode titles, special phrases (“let them eat cake”), words, or sentences.
  • Do not italicize the Divine Principle, the Bible or the Quran.
  • Don’t use the word “that” needlessly.
  • Write in active, not passive voice.
  • Use “his or her” when an individual general subject was referred to, and either “his” or “her” with recurring, specific examples. Use plural construction or recast sentence whenever possible to avoid this issue.


Vocabulary

Refer to FFWPU Grammar Practices for the full list.

General

  • Unification Movement – NOT Church
  • Unificationist(s) – NEVER “member”
  • The word “victory” is overused when referring to providential activities. We suggest re-wording the sentence so the word “victory” does not need to appear. It’s about the idea, not the word.
  • Use Father Moon and Mother Moon, and True Parents, unless otherwise instructed.
  • “Heavenly Parent”  – NOT “Heavenly Father” when referring to God as parent.  Then “Him and Her,” “His and Her,” and “He and She”. Whenever possible, find a way to re-word so that it is not gender specific
  • Replace “mankind” with “humankind” IN ALL CASES

The Blessing

  1. First time: The Marriage Blessing Ceremony
  2. Afterwards: the Blessing
  3. NEVER refer to the Blessing as “mass weddings”

The Matching:

  • John and Jane Smith participated in a matching and engagement ceremony presided over by Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, called the “Matching.”
  • Afterwards, refer to it as the Matching: He went to the Matching in 1982.
  • Sample for non-True Parents’ matching: John and Jane participated in the matching and engagement process with their parents.