This guide includes JCI Style for copy as well as instructions for entering articles into our CMS.
If it is not addressed in this guide, use AP Style and rules. If not covered by us or the AP, refer to the dictionary.
Title (Web Headline):
Entices the reader to click, optimized for search contains keywords
Maximum character length of 70 characters
Adds context to the headline
Headline for Print:
Short, catchy and two to four words maximum
Should be organized with subheads and include links where applicable. Subheads should SEO-friendly and have an H2 Style.
IMPORTANT: Check that all hyperlinks are working. Outbound links are links that you can click on and it opens a new window in your Internet browser..
Quick Reference for Copy:
Bighorn Mountains (per Wyoming client request)
century (hyphenated as an adjective)
chile pepper, not chili (for Pueblo client)
health care (hyphenate as adjective)
Greater Louisville Inc. (no comma)
nonprofit (there is a legal difference between nonprofit and not-for-profit; check before changing)
on site, off site (hyphenate as an adjective) departs from AP
theater; unless part of a proper name of a theater
the Commonwealth (client preference Kentucky)
U.S. (abbreviate as an adjective)
workforce (different from AP)
year round (hyphenate as an adjective)
zipline (always one word)
For Arkansas Agriculture (AR SAG) only: Arkansas’s is the possessive form
Capitalization rules for Web and Print Headlines and Subheads:
- Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters (ex: A School With Style).
- Capitalize a word of fewer than four letters – including the articles a, an, the – if it is the first word in a headline or a verb/noun. Do not capitalize prepositions that are fewer than four letters. Ex (capitalize): can, be, do, etc. Ex (do not capitalize) to, for, etc.
- Where needed replace hyphens with en dashes (–); there should be a space before and after the dash, and also before and after an ellipsis.
- All titles are italicized – magazines, books, movies, plays, works of art, names of art exhibits, song titles, lecture or speech titles, television/radio show names. This doesn’t happen often, but continue to place portions of a larger work, such as a book chapter, in quotes but kept in plain type. Examples: The Nutcracker Suite, “The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy”. Italicize names of ships. Example: USS Pueblo
- Put quotation marks around descriptive phrases that might otherwise be capitalized. Example: Kankakee was named “the top place to live” by City magazine. Easily recognized awards do not require quotes, such as Forbes magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
Festivals, lists, etc.:
In general, capitalize festivals, fairs, events and formal lists as if they were titles. Do not put quotation marks around them.
- Followthe subject-before-verb rule with attribution: “Santa Claus says” NOT “says Santa Claus.” Correct examples are below.
- Ie: “It’s exciting to see the ball rolling and all the people coming here to this area,” Pringle says.
- “Charlotte has a great business community, and we’re glad to be part of one of the most livable cities in the U.S.,” says Colin Bain, president and CEO of Linet Americas.
- We use says, not said.
- Use other verbs (“laughs,” “explains,” etc.) sparingly and only if they fit the situation.
- NEVER use “states” or “remarks.”
- Only capitalize a person’s title if it precedes his or her name: “President and CEO Joe Schmoe” OR “Joe Schmoe, president and CEO of Squoodles Inc.”
Web address ( in print):
www. is to be included in all Web address, with the exception of Journal websites (ie: Images websites, Livability.com). If the URL does not work with the www., please add http://
NOTE for TN Home & Farm, My Indiana Home, IL Farm Bureau: no www. before a Web address.
Hours: 12 a.m.-12 p.m.
All phone numbers should be in this format (xxx) xxx-xxxx, and do not include a ‘1’ before an area code or toll-free number.