Writing style guide

We want to communicate better

We hope this guide will help you find the words to inspire new and experienced rogainers, ignite a passion for adventure, and tell great stories.

Have a read through and follow the rules as best you can.


Our Voice

When we write we bring our values and personality to life.

So, what is our personality?

Rogaining Vic is a community. We are a diverse group of people brought together by a love of the outdoors. We welcome people of all ages, levels of fitness and experience.

Rogaining is a thinking person’s sport. We are strategic and sometimes a little competitive, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. At the end of the day, we love being out in the outdoors with like-minded people, exploring and learning with every step.

All of this means that the Rogaining Vic has a distinctive tone of voice – inviting, upbeat and focused, without being rigid, complicated or nerdy.

When we write copy:

We are energetic. Rogaining is all about exploring new places and learning new things. We use active words to motivate and inspire people, without being over the top.

For example:

Ready to explore? Controls are out and the bush is looking superb. Massive thanks to all the vollies who are bringing this event to life! Who’s getting excited?

We are functional. Rogaining shouldn’t be intimidating. That’s why we speak in a clear, straight-forward and accessible way. We want to educate people about the sport, without patronising them or confusing them.

For example:

Ready to tackle your first rogaine? Join our training and learn everything you need to roam with confidence on event day.

We are inviting. Rogaining is for everybody. We’re never condescending or exclusive – we always use down to earth, warm and friendly language to make sure everyone feels part of it.

For example:

Charge your lights and pick up your feet for the 3 hour night rogaine. This fun rogaine is perfect for gurus to newbies. Anybody with a moderate level of fitness can participate. No need for expert navigation skills – but the entire event is in the dark so pay attention!

How we write - Gather your thoughts

When we write, we need to step into people’s shoes and make it easy for them to take part in our events.

Think about:

  • Who are you speaking to?
  • What do we want them to do?
  • What do they want to hear?
  • What’s the best way to communicate?

These questions will help you work out what you’re trying to say (your narrative), and how to do this (your medium and structure).

Remember, your purpose is to communicate, and it might not be through writing. Conversation, imagery or video might be better.

How we write - Think about your messaging.

Lead with the WHY?

Sum up the action someone needs to take, or the answer to a question, in a short headline and first paragraph.

If the reader only gets this far, they’ll know why you’re communicating with them and have the essence of your message.

Follow with the HOW?

Elaborate, if you need to, with the information that helps your reader take action.

Finish with the WHAT?

How do people do what you’re asking them to do? Make sure you repeat what you need your reader to do and include a call to action.

For example

We’re on the hunt for some awesome people to help out at our next event. Are you a whizz with a map? Can you cook up a storm for famished racers? Do you simply love getting stuck in to help out?

Volunteers are always the heart, soul and energy behind every event. Also, a rogaine event is such a logistical behemoth that it doesn’t happen without the time and effort of our volunteer crew. So, thanks in advance!

Want to get involved? Brilliant! We have the perfect role for you.

Volunteer now

Write shorter

We encourage rogainers to take the shortest, quickest route to the finish line. The same goes for our writing.

When you’re writing for the web:

  • Write in even shorter bites.
  • Keep sentences short.
  • Use headlines and subheadings.

For example

Important announcement: Event cancelled due to Covid-19. The 6 Hour Rogaine will now be held in November 2021. Stay tuned for details!

Rather than…

Planning work has ceased for this event and we will not be able to run the event even if there is an unexpected lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.  We will plan to do this event in November 2021.

Use the active voice.

Just as we’re an active group of people, our voice should be active too.

In an active sentence the subject is doing the action.

In a passive sentence the target of the action is promoted to the subject position.

The active voice is more confident and friendly than the passive voice. It encourages us to take responsibility for our words, be kind, and show compassion to the people we’re writing about.

For example

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Rather than…

Your email will be replied to in due course.

Write like you speak.

We’re more natural when we do this, our words flow, and we make better connections.

  • Use ‘we’
  • Write in the present tense.
  • Try not to use too many exclamation marks.
  • Use contractions – we’ll, not we will – unless it jars.

For example

If you have any questions, just drop me a line.

Rather than…

Should you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact me!

Keep it jargon free

We want to be welcoming to everyone. We don’t want to seem like an exclusive club. That means not using words that people don’t understand. That only builds a wall between us and the person we’re speaking with.

For example, novices don’t know what a “control” is, so always spell it out after the first mention, like this:

The aim of the game is to race against the clock in teams to locate the most checkpoints, known as ‘controls’, and get the highest points. Each control is worth points, with the most difficult to reach worth the most points.