Writing Principles 

We strive to establish a smooth, self-service contribution process for Community members to submit best practices, blogs, and other published content to the Anaplan Community. The process allows members to draft and submit content to the Community team for review. The team will either accept, decline, edit, and/or return content to the original contributor. Once live, authors will receive recognition for the post, have the post promoted, and will be subscribed to the post for future updates and discussions.

 

With every piece of content we publish, we aim to:

  • Empower Community members to become better Connected Planners.
  • Educate members on Anaplan's best practices and updates in a conversational tone yet knowledgeable tone.
  • Lead the Connected Planning industry through thought-provoking articles and insights. 
  • Encourage members to share their model building, Connected Planning, and Anaplan stories. 

To achieve these goals, we follow the five C's of content writing:

  • Clear: We write in a way that is easy to understand, logically moving from one idea to the next.

  • Concise: We write efficiently, cutting unnecessary words, eliminating redundancies and staying on point.

  • Compelling: We strive to write content that truly serves and engages our readers.

  • Complete: We arrange our ideas thoughtfully, fact-check our information and maintain grammatical consistency.

  • Considerate: We adjust our tone for our audience, understanding that they are intelligent but have varying levels of Connected Planning experience.

The Anaplan Community covers a wide range of topics, including planning strategy, Connected Planning thought leadership, Anaplan usage tips and tricks, model building thought leadership, model building usage, and Connected Planning use cases. We publish articles of differing lengths, infographics, and videos, and are always open to other types of media that would help to share or illustrate an idea.

Interested in contributing an article or blog post to the Anaplan Community? Here are four qualities we look for when evaluating prospective topics and articles:

1. Expertise: The topic needs to be specific and have a clear message.

2. Evidence: The topic needs to be supported by evidence, such as references to research or a presentation of relevant examples or data.

3. Originality: We want our contributors to bring their unique personal perspective.

4. Usefulness: Readers come to Community to learn about Connected Planning, strengthen their model building skills, and learn tactics to improve their models. With every article or blog post, we want to ensure readers will be able to apply the information to a real-life situation.

Community Voice and Tone

When we write for the Anaplan Community, we consider our voice and tone. Our voice is the way we act and our tone is the way we express our thoughts. While our voice is generally consistent and slow to change, our tone will change based on context.

Voice

When we write for Anaplan’s Community, we strive to keep a consistent voice. We think of our voice as representing our company’s character. When we create content, we are:

 

  1. Authentic: We are honest and direct. We provide our readers with the tools to help them work more efficiently. We own and address our mistakes and take pride in our achievements. We don’t overpromise or oversell.
  2. Passionate: We’re genuinely excited about changing the way the world plans, so we write with intention and purpose. We are champions for our customers and cheerleaders for our company. Our voice is strong, passionate and motivating.
  3. Friendly: We are warm, empathetic, and approachable. We are professional yet playful, using colorful examples to support our ideas and inform our readers.
  4. Humble: We take pride in our expertise but always look for ways to improve and learn. We listen to feedback from Anaplan customers, partners, employees, and other Anaplan Community members.
  5. Respectful: We invite new ideas and do not argue or dismiss different perspectives. We respect privacy and do not share unapproved projects.

Tone

The overall tone of the Anaplan Community is informal. This means our writing is conversational, but still conveys our expertise. We use an active voice, write in the first person, and avoid slang and jargon. Additionally, we consider our audience. Are we writing for experienced Anaplanners or someone new to Connected Planning? Our tone represents our attitude about what we are writing about, allowing readers to get a better sense of the writer’s personal experience.

How We Write About People

We write the way we build models and dashboards: with a customer-first perspective. We are compassionate, inclusive, and respectful. We are aware of the impact our writing has on our readers and strive to represent the Anaplan Community as a productive and safe place.

When we write, we follow these people-first guidelines:

Age

We do not reference a person’s age unless it’s relevant to the topic. If it's relevant, we include the person’s specific age, offset by commas. Example: Nancy, 14, already graduated from college. We do not use age-related descriptors such as "young" or "elderly." 

Disability

We avoid disability-related idioms like “falling on deaf ears.” We don’t use the words “suffer,” “victim,” or “handicapped.” “Handicapped parking” is acceptable.

Gender and Sexuality

  • When writing about a person, we use their communicated pronouns. When in doubt, politely ask or simply use their name. It’s acceptable to use “they” as a singular pronoun.
  • Don’t call groups of people “guys" and do not call women “girls.” 
  • Use neutral gender alternatives, like “businessperson” instead of “businessman.”
  • Use the following words as modifiers, but never as nouns: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (never "transgendered), trans, queer, or LGBT.
  • Don’t use these words in reference to LGBT people: homosexual, lifestyle, or preference.
  • Don’t use “same-sex marriage," unless the distinction is relevant to the subject. Otherwise, it’s just “marriage.” Avoid saying "gay marriage."

Words to Avoid

Anaplan is an international company, so we are keenly aware of how different cultures define common words. We avoid words with negative connotations, slurs, and words used to identify groups of people based on race, religion, culture, etc. When in doubt, we avoid the word or phrase and select a more appropriate way to communicate our message as we would in a professional business setting.

Grammar Guidelines and Mechanics

Sticking to a consistent set of grammatical guidelines helps the Anaplan Community provide the most accurate and useful content for our readers. We use the fundamentals of AP Style, with some exceptions, for consistency on grammar, spelling, punctuation, language, and usage. (Limited free content can be found here.)

Additional Style References

 

  • Word list:  To make writing easier, we have an Anaplan-specific word list. If a word is not in the list, refer to the resources below. 
  • Dictionary: Merriam-Webster is a good starting point to confirm spelling and use accuracy.
  • Additional style reference: If a word or phrase you want to use is not covered by AP Style or Merriam-Webster, search The New York Times and follow the form they use.

 

Exceptions to AP Style

We diverge from AP Style in the following ways:

  • Use the serial (or Oxford) comma—that is, the comma before and in a list of three or more things. Example: The Anaplan platform connects data, people, and plans.
  • A person's title is capitalized, whether before or after the name.
  • Use a person's full name on first use; in subsequent references, use the person's first name only.
  • En dashes (–) are used to indicate spans of numbers, dates, or time. Do not use hyphens. An en dash is also used when a multiple-word phrase is used as a modifier. Example: "bill of materials–based budgeting."
  • Use postal codes for U.S. states (CA, TX, NY, etc.). 

Grammar Guidelines

Abbreviations and Acronyms: We spell out the first mention of an abbreviation or acronym if there is a chance our readers won’t recognize the term, using the short version for all following references. If the abbreviation isn’t related to the full version, specify in parentheses. If the abbreviation or acronym is well known, like HTML, feel free to use it without spelling it out.

Absolutes and Superlatives: Avoid using adjectives we can't prove, such as best, only, fastest, unique, impossible, and always.

Active Voice: We write in active voice wherever possible. In active voice, the subject acts. In passive voice, the subject has the action done to them. Look for words like "was" and "by" as signs of passive voice.

  • Active: Jerry used the computer.
  • Passive: The computer was used by Jerry.

American English: We use American English spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules in all English-language materials unless a piece is written by an EMEA/APAC resident for an all-EMEA/APAC audience. In that case, UK English rules apply; see the UK English section below.

UK English

When a piece is written in English by an EMEA/APAC resident for an EMEA/APAC audience, UK English spelling, grammar, and punctuation can apply. Here are some specifics:

  • Spelling:
    • Certain words end in -ise instead of -ize. Example: humanise vs. humanize.
    • Certain words end in -our instead of -or. Example: humour vs. humor.
    • Certain words use two L's instead of one. Examples: modelling and cancelling vs. modeling and canceling.
    • Per cent is written as two words.
  • Grammar: A collective noun (such as company, team, and group) takes a plural verb in UK English. Example: "The team are winning," not "The team is winning."
  • Dashes: In place of an em dash, use an en dash with spaces on either side.
  • Quotations: Use single quotation marks (an apostrophe in the U.S.) to denote quotes.

Bold and Italics

Use italics for:

  • Emphasis—but use sparingly.
  • Newspaper and magazine titles. Example: Financial Times and Newsweek.
  • Identifying words and phrases used as examples, as we do in this style guide. (Any examples you use in articles or posts when noted first by saying "For example" or "e.g.")
  • Asides used in first-person content.

Use bold type for:

  • Subheads. 
  • Lead-off phrases in bullet lists. (This blog has an example.)
  • Cross-referencing to subheads, as we do in this style guide.

Calls to Action: Within every article or blog post, we like to inspire reader participation. This can be anything from a simple question you’d like them to answer in the comments, to a few steps they can take to apply the information shared in your post. 

Contractions: Contractions support our conversational tone, so we think they're great, and we use them as we see fit.

 

Capitalization: Capitalize sparingly. When in doubt, do not capitalize.

    • Do not capitalize topics of discussion (e.g., data integration, calculation functions) unless referencing specific sections of the Community (e.g., Data Integration forums, Calculation Functions forums).
    • Do not capitalize elements of the Anaplan platform (e.g., modules, models, functions, fields), unless what you are referencing has a specific proper name.
    • Use title case for: 
      • Titles of posts and articles. (To decide which words to capitalize, use this title case checker.)
      • Headings within articles and posts (H1, H2, and H3).
      • Session names and agenda items.
      • Column and row headers in tables.
    • Do not use all caps for emphasis.
    • If a company name is in all lowercase or all uppercase letters, follow their style; even at the beginning of sentences. Examples: DISH and bluecrux.
    • Use capitals for Anaplan solutions. Example: Anaplan for Financial Services.
    • In the flow of text, do not capitalize the names of industries (e.g., financial services) or lines of business (e.g., supply chain).

Lists

      • Use numbers for lists of items that must be performed in sequence.
      • Use bullets for lists that do not need to be presented in order.
      • Give bullet lists in order of logic or importance, if possible. If all items in a list are equal, consider alphabetizing the list.
      • Capitalize and punctuate lists consistently. Capitalize the first word of every list item, whether it is a sentence or a fragment.
      • Use this format for in-line numbered lists: This has two benefits: 1) accessibility and 2) scalability.

Punctuation

      • Ampersands: Don't use ampersands unless one is part of a company or brand name Example: John and Sam went to Ben & Jerry's.
      • Apostrophes: The apostrophe is used to make a word possessive or used in a contraction. If the word already ends in an s and it is singular, add an ‘s to make it possessive. Example: The manager liked Chris’s presentation. If the word ends in an s and is plural, add an apostrophe at the end to make it possessive. Example: The manager liked the employees' presentation." Apostrophes can also be used to denote that you’ve purposefully dropped letters from a word, usually for humor or emphasis. This is fine but do it sparingly.
      • Colons: Use colons to introduce lists or explanations, or for emphasis. Example: There were three considerations: expense, time, and feasibility. Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it starts a complete sentence or is a proper noun. Example: He made them a promise: The company will be successful.
      • Commas: Use the serial (or Oxford) comma—that is, the comma before and in a list of three or more things. This is an exception to AP Style. Example: The Anaplan platform connects data, people, and plans.
      • Comma splice: Avoid connecting two sentences that have different subjects with a comma. 
        • Correct: I didn't like the movie. It was way too long.
        • Incorrect: I didn't like the movie, it was way too long." (The subject of the first sentence is I, but the subject of the second sentence is the movie.)
      • Em Dashes: Em dashes (—) cause the reader to pause and are used for parenthetical statements (in which case they can often be replaced by parentheses or commas) or to emphasize specific words or phrases. Do not put a space on either side of the em dash. To make one on a Mac: shift-option-hyphen. Example: The new feature—just one of the many new updates on the platform—helps track profitability.
      • Ellipses: Use an ellipsis in brackets […] to indicate deleted words, but not to denote pauses. 
      • Exclamation points: Refrain from using them, if possible. Never use more than one per paragraph.
      • Hyphens: (-) Hyphens are used between some words and their prefixes and suffixes (always check the dictionary and word list) and in most cases when two or three words are used as an adjective. Do not put a space on either side of the hyphen. A hyphen is not needed in a two-word adjective in which the first word ends with lyExample: commonly held belief.
        • Example of a prefix: co-branding
        • Example of a two-word adjective: decision-making power
        • Example of a three-word adjective: off-balance-sheet accounting
      • Percent: Write out percent (one word) when it appears in a sentence. Use the percent symbol (%) in headlines, labels, infographics, imagery, tweets, ads, and other places where space is at a premium.
      • Periods: Use periods at the end of full sentences. Use one space after a period. Do not double space after a period.
      • Question Marks: Question marks go inside quotation marks if they’re part of the quote. They go outside parentheses when the parenthetical is part of a larger sentence and inside parentheses when the parenthetical stands alone.
      • Quotation Marks: Use quotes to refer to words and letters, titles of short works (like articles and poems), and direct quotations.
        • Periods and commas go within quotation marks. Question marks within quotes follow logic—if the question mark is part of the quotation, it goes within. If you’re asking a question that ends with a quote, it goes outside the quote.
          • Example: Who was it that said, “Measure once, cut twice”?
        • Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes.
          • Example: John said, "A wise man once told me, 'Measure once, cut twice.'"
      • Ranges and Spans: Use a hyphen (-) to indicate a range or span of numbers.
        • Example: It takes 20-30 days.
      • Semicolons: Use semicolons to separate elements of a series when one or more segments of the series contain a comma. Example: I watched three movies: I, Tonya; Cars; and Office Space.

Numbers

Use numerals in the following situations:

  • A number is greater than 9 or when the number is the first word of a sentence; 
  • For amounts less than one dollar;
  • In headlines;
  • For years;
  • For ages;
  • For coordinates, page numbers, and line references;
  • When a passage contains at least two numbers and at least one is 10 or greater;
  • For numbers larger than 999,999, use numerals and follow with million, billion, etc.

Use ordinals for street names (42nd Street), but do not use superscripts for ordinals. Example: 20th, not 20th

Use a hyphen when writing out a number that includes two words. Example: Seventy-one.

Use a comma between every three digits of long numbers, counting from the right, and a period for the decimal point. This rule does not apply to years.

Dates and Times

  • Use the month, date, year format for dates. Example: July 27, 2017.
  • Use numbers only, not ordinals, for dates. Example: July 11.
  • Use this format for time: 12:30 p.m.
  • For content targeted at a non-U.S. audience, you may use this date format: 27 July, 2017.
  • Use a 24-hour clock for times outside of North America. Do not use a.m. or p.m.

Decimals and Fractions

  • Spell out fractions. Example: two-thirds instead of 2/3.
  • Use decimal points when a number can’t be easily written out as a fraction, like 1.375 or 47.2.
  • For mixed numbers, use 1 1/2, 2 5/8, etc. with a full space between the whole number and the fraction. 

Anaplan Specific 

The company is Anaplan, not Anaplan Inc.

The technology is the Anaplan platform or Anaplan's platform. Do not capitalize the word platform.

When referring to Anaplan leaders, we use their appropriate titles:

Name Position
Frank Calderoni President and CEO
Michael Gould Founder
Marilyn Miller Chief People Officer
Simon Tucker Chief Planning Officer
Christophe Bodin Chief Customer Officer
Ana Pinczuk Chief Transformational Officer
David Morton Chief Financial Officer 
YY Lee Chief Strategy Officer 
Sampath Gomatam Vice President, Product Management
Jack Whyte Global Vice President of Engineering

 

SEO Considerations

 

We are proud of what we write. That's why we want our readers to be able to easily find it within our Community and on the internet. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. In basic terms, search engines crawl what we write to figure out what the content is all about. 

SEO has changed (and will continue to change). Search algorithms now focus on the experience of the reader instead of how many times a keyword comes up in a piece of content. There are still key actions we can take to help articles rank higher in the search engine results and improve the reader experience:

  • It is important to ensure each blog or article is centered around one clear topic. Use an introduction, title, and headings to ensure cohesion.
  • Ensure headings they are descriptive and help people skimming get the gist of what the article is about and specifically what that section includes. 

We follow these basic SEO guidelines:

Attaching Files: Use the included attachment function to include files with an article. Do not use links to external sites like Box. Authors are responsible for maintaining their attachments.

Titles: Article titles need to be less than 60 characters and written in title case. Exclude any punctuation from the title unless it is a question.

Headings: Headings and subheadings organize content for readers.

  • Always use title case for subheadings throughout your article. 
  • Titles will automatically appear as H1 when published. This is the only thing that should be designated as H1. 
  • Headings and subheadings should be designated as H2.
  • Include the most relevant keywords in your headings and subheadings, and make sure you cover the main point of the content.
  • Subheadings break articles into smaller, more specific sections. They give readers avenues into your content and make it more scannable.
  • Use heading 2 (<h2>) to divide and label sections within your article. 

Hyperlinks: Provide a hyperlink using article or website titles when referencing them in your article (e.g. PLANS - This Is How We Model).

  • Mirror the heading text on the destination page in links whenever possible.
  • Include SEO words in the link text when possible.
  • Don't include the ending punctuation (periods, question marks, exclamation points) in the link.
  • Do not make link text italics or bold, unless it would be so as normal body copy.
  • Do not use URLs (https://www.anaplan.comoranaplan.com) as links.

Images: Images should be used to add helpful, interesting content to written pieces. Provide captions for images used in blogs, white papers, and data sheets—but not for banners. Captions should encourage the reader to look at the image and help the reader see what's important. Example: The three tabs in the user interface—dogs, cats, and mice—each provide information tailored to a specific audience.

How to Link Related Articles: Use a line break (<hr />) before and after a "Read More" section. Use the text "More from X:" or "More about X:" to label the section, and then list 3 to 4 bullet points with links. Make sure the link opens into a new page. Example:

More about Strategic Planning

Technical Considerations

  • On the Community, do not use any Registered (®) or Trademark (™) symbols for official references to products, services, or companies.
  • File types, when used in the flow of a sentence, should be all lowercase, preceded by a period. Examples: .csv, .exe, .docx, etc.
  • When referencing a button or link that a user should click on, the link text should be bold (Example: In the top-right corner of the knowledge base, click Create an Article.)

Writing Blog Content 

A variety of people contribute Community blog posts—not just those on the Community team or at Anaplan. We strive to have a robust pool of experts. The person most familiar with the subject is in the best position to convey it, and the writers on the Community team can help with brainstorming and editing as needed.

Types of Blog Content

We publish blog posts that educate on Connected Planning and help Community members level up their Anaplan and Connected Planning skills. We aim to showcase to the broader planning community that there is a new way (and a new space) to practice planning. 

We update the Community blog frequently. We generally publish:

  • Thought leadership content around connected planning.
  • Interesting takes and helpful content around the Anaplan platform. (We do not view these pieces as best practices. We reserve best practices for our platform content section.) 
  • Connected Planning tips and tricks.
  • Entertaining/fun articles around planning.
  • Updates about the Community.
  • Partner guest posts.

Writing Platform Content

The majority of the Community's platform-focused content appears in our Best Practices Knowledge Base. Please note, all Anaplan technical documentation lives in Anapedia and is created by Anaplan's technical content team. 

Types of Platform Content

Platform content articles vary in the target audience, goal, and tone. Different types of Anaplan Community platform content serve different purposes and readers.

  • Best Practices: Readers are looking for insider information on how best to use the Anaplan platform. These do not have to be "officially" backed by Anaplan but we would like them to be tried and tested.
  • Cheatsheet: Sometimes it isn't a matter of education and diving into a topic. Other times readers are looking for a quick reference of information—an item that can be bookmarked and referenced again and again. 
  • Use Case: Readers come to the Community to learn from other users. Templates like Use Case give contributors a structured format to share their story.
  • Line of Business: Articles focusing on best practices within specific lines of business.
  • Anaplan Planning Stage: Articles focusing on best practices within specific Anaplan Way planning stages.
  • Platform Feature:  Articles focusing on best practices on specific platform features.
 
Note: Parts of this style guide were adapted from MailChimp's Content Style Guide.
 

Have questions? Contact community@anaplan.com with any questions.

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