Voice & Tone
Hudl helps teams and athletes win.
This is our purpose. It guides everything we do. This includes how we look, how we act and how we talk to the world. It’s about more than helping teams win games. We help athletes perform at their best to reach higher levels of competition. We help coaches and analysts make the biggest impact with their time. And we help sports fans everywhere share the moments that matter most.
Keep 3 key things in mind when writing for Hudl:
We’re Talking to Real People
Hudl is a software, but its users are not robots. Write the way you speak.
Users have emotions. Our tone should be flexible enough to match whatever they’re feeling.
The content we provide should be personally relevant.
Our Users Trust Us
Have confidence in what you’re writing. If there’s the slightest chance it will spark doubt in the reader’s mind, try again.
Gaining that trust is a lot harder than losing it. Consider reactions above all else. (see: Bullet 2 under Real People)
Make sure the content you’re providing is relevant and worth the reader’s time.
Every Sport is a Game — Have Fun
Our office doesn’t have the corporate vibe – our writing shouldn’t either.
Informative, professional conversations can be upbeat, just use the right words.
On the topic of words: Avoid jargon. You’ll make the reader much more comfortable when you use words they understand.
With every piece of content we publish, we aim to do the following in a positive way:
How to use our products
How to become a better coach, analyst or athlete
To do more with the tools available
To continue improving as a coach, analyst or athlete
Highlight successes (e.g. wins as a team, personal records as an individual)
Remember past glory (e.g. former players can still find value in Hudl)
What’s the Difference Between Voice and Tone?
We speak with a consistent voice, but our tone adapts for each audience and the context of how or when the content is presented.
Think about your own voice and tone: Your voice is your personality. It’s unmistakably you. No matter who you’re talking to, you stick with the same vocabulary and point of view. Your tone, on the other hand, varies. It sets the mood.
You wouldn’t talk to a middle-aged coach the same way you’d tweet at a newly committed athlete. Either the coach would think you’re being facetious or the athlete would call you boring. Emailing a parent about downloading highlights is vastly different than fielding a phone call from the athletic director whose invoice is due. Whether you realize it or not, your tone changes with each user.
Our users are our primary consideration when writing as Hudl. Maintain the Hudl voice, and the appropriate tone will come naturally as you practice these guidelines.
Hudl’s voice is human. No matter the channel or the specific choice of words, we intend for Hudl to sound like a person.
We serve all kinds of people (down-to-earth, passionate, sometimes indifferent) with products that help them do real work, every day. Current customers enjoy Hudl because the product is built with their personal interests in mind. Our voice should reflect that empathy.
Use these keywords to understand who we are and who we are not. We are:
Relatable, not Robotic
People respond better to other people than software systems. Users love our products and support because they know the personalities behind it.
Hey Coach, Sorry you’re having trouble. It looks like your subscription was due last week. If we don’t receive payment on time, the account locks automatically.
Hello, I apologize for the inconvenience. Payment for the 2016-2017 season is seven days overdue. The team account will remain locked until payment is received.
Fun, not Overly Formal
We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We provide products that help users improve in areas they’re passionate about. It’s work, but it should also be fun.
Because we love food, football and time with family, our offices are closed for the holiday. Shoot us an email or tweet if anything comes up.
Our offices are closed Thursday, November 24 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Should you need service while we’re away, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trustworthy, not Ambivalent
We have to be confident in what we’re saying. If we beat around the bush or put a qualifier before every thought, the user will second-guess our content.
Our uploading tools don’t support video from a FireWire device. For the smoothest experience possible, stick with a USB connection.
We’re pretty sure uploading from a FireWire device won’t work. Instead, you could try a USB cable. That might make the experience a little smoother.
Educational, not Condescending
We can’t assume anything we’re teaching is common knowledge. By glossing over the ‘basics’, you could alienate our newest users. Talk to the reader as though you’re learning together.
To add new athletes to the roster, you’ll hover over Team and click Roster. There, you want to add email addresses first. That’s how the athlete is invited to Hudl.
Go to the Team tab and click Roster. Add the athlete’s email address, name, position - all of the basic information a coach would have. Click Add Athlete and you’re done.
Inspirational, not Judgemental
It’s not our place to question a coach or athlete’s motives. We want to help them achieve whatever goal they’ve set. Come from a place of understanding. We’re all working towards something.
You’ve worked too hard to turn back now. We know you have what it takes to be great. Remember that tonight as you take on one final opponent.
There’s no excuse for failure. You’ve worked hard to reach this point, why would you quit now? Nothing is worth giving up this dream.
Motivational, not Bossy
This one is all about word choice. Don’t be aggressive and push a user to want or do something. Tell them they “can” just to spark the fire within. Speak directly to them (“you can”) for a greater impact.
We’re all striving to be better at something. What’s your ultimate goal? What can you do to reach it? Whatever the answer, Hudl is here to help. Let’s get started.
You want to be the best – better than everybody else. You have to become stronger, faster and smarter to do it. Use Hudl to reach your goals. Don’t wait. Start now.
Celebratory, not Cocky
We’re lucky to serve these coaches and athletes. Get excited for them, not with them. It’s their accomplishment, not ours. Admire them and remember: There are always more goals to accomplish.
More than 300 Hudl basketball teams won state championships this year – and we couldn’t be prouder. Congratulations to every coach and athlete!
Our teams are the best. More than 300 Hudl basketball programs won state championships this year. We’re pumped our tools could make the difference.
Fun-loving, not Cheesy
There’s a fine line between being light-hearted and cringe-worthy. Don’t try so hard it distracts the reader from your actual message.
Give your swing a free upgrade.
Your swing needs our Technique.
Our tone adapts to match the context in which content is presented. It also changes to match each of our target audiences. This section details the general tone we take with each of our core audiences.
No matter the audience, Hudl’s voice should always embody the same persona: an ageless, enthusiastic, tech-savvy assistant coach.
In talking to coaches, Hudl is a fellow coach. Straightforward but agreeable. We understand the stresses of coaching, and are always there to help in the simplest, quickest possible way. We work together towards the common goal of winning while keeping the team’s best interests in mind.
Tone guide needed for speaking to analysts.
Hudl is vibrant and relatable in conversation with athletes. We celebrate their successes and feel the pain in their defeats. We engage with a casual tone, striving to entertain as often as we educate. We’re a constant in their athletic careers, documenting where they’ve been and inspiring them to keep going.
Fans & General Public
Hudl is a brand advocate, connecting fans with their favorite athletes and teams. We sift through the daily grind of analyzing video and stats to share only the greatest moments. We keep people engaged with the tools to view and share easily digestible updates, giving analysts more time to strategize and athletes more time to train.
No matter who you’re talking to, or what channel you’re on, strive for clarity over cleverness. If you find yourself trying too hard to be funny or inspirational, chances are the reader will have just as much trouble understanding. Don’t be afraid to trim the fat and get your point across.
Be careful with punctuation, especially exclamation points. Overusing exclamations can easily come across as yelling. Save exclamations for those “OMG” moments and statements that truly have the audience excited. Don’t tack one onto the end of an average sentence as a way of saying “We promise it’s interesting!” If you need to convey excitement, lean on words more than punctuation.
We write the way we speak. When we speak, we use contractions. Use contractions in your writing. You’ll automatically sound less robotic.