How to Write Educational Content
At Mailchimp, educational content appears within our Help Center, as well as within our workshops, certain marketing materials, and internal training documents. This section lays out the guiding principles for writing educational content, and discusses the main types of educational content that exist at Mailchimp.
Someone taking in educational content is usually looking to answer a specific question. That question might be broad or narrowly focused, but either way our goal is to provide answers without distraction.
For each project, consider your audience’s background, goal, and current mood. Ask these questions:
- Who is your audience? Are they Mailchimp employees, a Mailchimp user, a developer?
- What is this person’s goal? To complete a task? To research a topic?
- What is this person’s mindset? Are they in the middle of a task, or in a hurry? Could they be frustrated or feeling overwhelmed?
We don’t want to overload our audience with unnecessary information, choices, or complex ideas or phrases. This is particularly important since we always consider the neurodiversity of our audience, and that learning something new can often feel overwhelming.
When writing educational content, remember to stick to the topic at hand. Keep sentences, paragraphs, and procedural steps focused and concise.
We create educational content to serve various channels and audiences. We need to not only educate our customers, but also inform our partners and staff around when and how to use our products and features.
Educational content at Mailchimp can include:
- Help Center articles, guides, tutorials and troubleshooting advice
- Tutorial videos published to our website and YouTube
- Webinars and workshops presented live and published to our website and YouTube
- Instagram reels and other how-to social content
- API documentation and developer resources
- Release notes
- Staff training materials, courses, and resources
- Partner training materials, courses, and resources
- Marketing Library articles and resources
When writing educational content, be sure to follow the style points outlined in the Voice and Tone and Grammar and Mechanics sections. In addition, here are some education-specific goals and pointers to keep in mind.
When a reader or viewer clicks on a link to educational content, they expect to find the answer they want. Don’t stray too far from the title or topic at hand. Use links to make related content available. If you find you’re getting too far from the intended topic, then you may need to create a related video, article, or deck.
Readers often scan a page for info that will answer their particular question. When writing educational content, be sure your headlines are short, descriptive, and parallel to help with scanning.
When writing video scripts, describe the outcome before doing the action so viewers feel confident they’re watching content that will answer their question.
Be as clear as possible. Use simple words and phrases while avoiding gerunds and hard-to-translate words or idioms. Focus on the specific task, and limit the number of sentences per paragraph. Aim to keep your sentences at 25 words or less.
Video scripts should include clear transitional language and cues that introduce a specific visual element or emphasize where the user should focus their attention. E.g. "To do this," or “I see here, there are some suggestions..."
Screenshots, videos, and GIFs make content more scannable and accessible, especially in written guides, tutorials, and training materials. Keep each visual focused on the action or meaning it conveys. Always crop screenshots tightly around the action.
Educational content often uses formatting to help convey meaning. Although various forms of educational content are organized differently, the formatting tips are consistent.
Capitalize proper names of Mailchimp products, features, pages, tools, and teams when directly mentioned.
- Creative Assistant
- Pre-Built Customer Journeys
- Compliance team, Billing team
In step-by-step instructions, capitalize and bold navigation and button labels as they appear in the app.
- Navigate to the Reports page.
- Click Create.