Messaging and Statistics
Effective communication is vital to the success of the university. Start any new communication project by answering some key questions:
- Who is your audience? List all who apply, starting with the most important audience for this project.
- How can your audience respond? Make sure contact information and a call to action are included.
- What information do you need to supply so they may respond?
Once you answer these questions, then you will be ready to develop messages and select communications vehicles that will enable you to reach your audience and influence their behavior.
Is there some information I should always include in my communications?
Yes. In nearly all cases, it is important to include contact information, such as the name of your office/department and your website URL. You may also wish to include your mailing address and phone number. Give your audience a way to get back to you.
I'm creating an event invitation. What types of information should I include?
You should include the title of the event, the date, time and location, and contact information. You should also consider including a detailed campus map and parking information.
Is there any language that is off-limits for USF communications?
Yes. USF's brand is expressed at all touch points with our varied audiences, in visuals and text, online and in print. USF stands for equal opportunity and diversity—a community that shows respect to all—including students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni and supporters. Vulgar, sexist, or other language that provokes violence or dissension, or imagery that shows disrespect for any part of our community is prohibited. Read USF's Equal Opportunity Statement, posted below, for the university's position on respect for personal dignity. Please note that the guidelines on this site apply to communications produced by and about the university's offices and programs. The guidelines are not designed to impinge on free discussion of such issues by faculty in an academic setting.
I am writing copy for my new website. Is this different from writing for printed materials?
Yes. All copy developed for USF communications, whether for print or electronic media, should be clear, brief and written with the interests and needs of your audience in mind. Brevity is especially important with content developed for digital readers. Studies show that, in a best-case scenario, we only read 28 percent of the text on a web page. Creating clear, simple content that directs your visitors to the top tasks they want to accomplish are essential to the success of your site.
Are there some general statements I can use in my communications?
Yes. USF has a general statement, commonly referred to as boilerplate, which you can use in your communications. This statement contains basic details about the university, and is updated on a regular basis. Use the "USF" boilerplate for communications specific to USF in Tampa. Use the "System" boilerplate for communications that include information about all USF institutions.
Are there other statements I can use?
Yes. Click on the options below to view additional statements.
- USF Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy Statements (September 2012)
- USF Americans with Disabilities Act Policy Statements (April 2011)
- SACS Accreditation Statement
- Commitment to Honor (September 2011)
Are there current statistics I can cite in my communications?
Yes. The Office of Decision Support provides updated university statistics annually.