Writing for the web is different from writing for other media because users scan-read and want to get to information quickly. These standards outline how to best write for ba.com. They have been developed from the British Airways tone of voice guidelines and incorporate search engine optimisation (SEO) principles.
Here you can find the ba.com writing principles, along with examples illustrating how they may be applied to different areas of content. Any differences in approach are highlighted.
The ba.com writing style and service hallmarks have been consolidated into one summary document.
Information vs inspiration
Whilst the core principles are the same, there should be a difference between the way copy is written when:
- providing information or directing a customer to follow a course of action eg. check in online, which is necessary and
- enticing a customer to browse or make a purchase with British Airways.
Information must be clear, concise and give the facts, whilst being friendly and relevant. It should also promote the benefits for the customer eg. find out about your generous free baggage allowance.
Marketing content, which is intended to inspire the customer must, in addition, paint a picture of what’s on offer and create an emotional connection. Copy should be snappy, demonstrating energy and drive, whilst being knowledgeable and insightful.
We expect customers to use search engines as a way to find our offers, so our content must be optimised to:
- give the salient information relating to the search
- entice customers with relevant offers/prices and
- lead the user to a relevant page on ba.com.
Copy must always be written for natural readability. However, key words are still important and need to be included, although overuse has a negative impact for search engine rankings.
For reference, there is a checklist, which outlines the key areas to cover.
The examples used are from the general information pages which can be accessed pre and post login.
Marketing content (including offers, deals and destination guides)
Marketing content is what our customers see most often from us, in the form of offers and deals, so here are some examples of how to apply the writing style in this context.
Forms generally consist of labels and short sentences for help text. There is a spreadsheet detailing standardised label names for forms along with examples of how to apply them.
Examples of the ba.com writing style for forms 9Aug2012 v1
Download ‘Standard field labels_7May2015v2′ including inline error messages.
The approach for all emails is the same, although you should also refer to the marketing examples, which must be consistent with the offers or information that the user is being directed to on ba.com.