RELEVANT & CONSISTENT
Kount Content Style Guide
We understand that a solid marketing strategy is more than what we say as a company. It’s how we say it, where we say it, and who we say it to.
In today’s ever-changing digital world, it’s never been more important to understand that every touchpoint with clients, prospects, and partners is an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with Kount.
In order to create authentic, transparent, and valuable connections with everyone who interacts with the Kount brand, we will adhere to the following guidelines.
Consistency is key to delivering a genuine experience for our audience. Fewer variances mean greater brand identity.
Tone of Voice
Our tone of voice conveys the brand’s personality. The way we communicate information is just as important as what we’re saying. What do people think when they interact with us? How do they feel?
Following the same voice principles ensures every person who writes for Kount sounds like Kount. Our voice establishes consistency across our growing company. We strive to build loyalty, confidence, and authenticity with every piece of copy, content, graphics, or video.
Kount’s voice is human. It’s familiar, friendly, and straightforward. We talk with people, not at them. We use second person (you) to connect directly with our audience.
Note: We speak to a lot of different audiences. Sometimes, we might need to clarify who the “you” is we are speaking to. For example, “you, the merchant” or “you and your portfolio of merchants”.
- There are seven dangerous fraud schemes your restaurant may be exposed to.
- Restaurants are an easy target for fraudsters because they assume fraud isn’t a worry.
We’re informal and approachable without being sloppy or unprofessional.
- The Kount team is headed to MRC Vegas, and we’d love to meet with you while we’re there.
- While you’re in Vegas for MRC, grab a beer and join us by the pool!
We’re accurate and informative without using unnecessary details or jargon.
Note: We want our content to mimic lenticular design — a printing method that, when an image is viewed at different angles, the objects look like they change their appearance. On the surface, our content can be simple and easy to understand. But by clicking deeper and deeper, the content changes and becomes more detailed.
For example, a fraud analyst at Acme searches for the term “how to manage account takeover fraud” and finds a Kount blog article. The content answers the reader’s question and mentions that Kount can make this process easy and more effective. The analyst is intrigued and loops in the team leader. After reviewing case studies with similar businesses that have far better results than Acme, the manager tells the CTO about Kount. The CTO wants to know how Kount achieves those kinds of results and what the integration process would be like for Acme.
If we consider lenticular design, information on SDKs and machine learning wouldn’t be necessary in the blog article. But those details would be relevant on a page specifically dedicated to the integration process or the technology’s features.
We need to make sure we meet the needs of everyone interacting with our brand in a way that is most relevant to them.
- Kount’s fraud detection and prevention technology has helped restaurants like yours reduce risk and increase revenue.
- Kount has the data you need to make better decisions so you ultimately have less fraud and more revenue.
- A system that learns on a global data network uses billions of data points…
- Employ advanced AI and machine learning fraud detection to assess the risk of each transaction…
We’re confident and knowledgeable without being arrogant.
- Decades of experience…
- During conversations with members of the Mastercard team…
- Kount’s award-winning technology…
- Best-in-class service…
We’re experts without being bossy. We’re helpful without being overbearing.
Note: While we never want to seem pushy or overbearing, there is a time and place for urgency. For example, if there is only one day left to register for a webinar, we do need to encourage people to “act now” or “don’t miss out”.
- We recommend…
- You might want to…
- You must…
- You can’t…
Our tone considers the reader’s state of mind – confused, frustrated, seeking advice, excited, etc. We avoid negativity and try to frame statements with a positive perspective.
- We know this year has been difficult…
- Invalid chargebacks are frustrating, but there’s good news. If you fight friendly fraud and win, you can recover lost revenue.
- Fraud is an inevitable part of business.
- Fraudsters are lurking around every corner.
Our writing style does more than just incorporate our personality, tone, and voice. It sets the standard for every interaction we have with our audiences.
We write as educators, sharing accurate information which provides genuine value to the industry.
- What the Visa CE 3.0 Initiative Means For You
- Visa CE 3.0: A High-Level Overview
We speak truth in a way that puts our readers’ needs before our own agenda.
- Pros & Cons of Using RDR to Prevent Chargebacks
- RDR: Get This Amazing Prevention Tool Today!
We write clearly and directly so readers understand our message and are able to use it to solve their problems.
- Card testing is the process of making small purchases to test the validity of stolen payment information.
- Card testing is a significant threat for ecommerce merchants. It steals revenue and causes frustration.
We are thorough but not fluffy.
- Using 2,000 words to share 41 ways to reduce chargebacks — each tip containing 2-3 sentences
- Using 2,000 words to share 3 ways to reduce chargebacks — each tip containing 5-10 paragraphs
We should be the example that the industry holds up of a company that puts out high-quality content — the gold standard. We may not be the first, but we’re committed to being the best.
- Asking questions — who is our audience, what do we want to achieve, is this the best strategy
- Multiple teams, a thorough review process, and the very best outcome possible
- Checking things off a to-do list
- Rushing to meet an arbitrary deadline
- Independent efforts, no opportunities for feedback, an end result that reflects the “just get it done” attitude
We favor active voice to passive voice.
- Kount stops fraudsters.
- Fraudsters are stopped by Kount.
We favor benefits over features. We focus on the value to our audience, not how the value is created.
Note: There is a time and place for features. When we write about features, we will try to incorporate benefits so the features are relevant to the reader. For example, intelligent chargeback response technology recovers lost revenue. And advanced automation increases efficiency.
- Recover lost revenue
- Increase efficiency
- Intelligent chargeback response technology
- Advanced automation
Our writing is easy for all readers to understand. Any skill level. Any geographical region. Any industry.
- Opportunistic customers
- Effective and accurate strategy
- The cardholder’s bank
- Before the purchase
- Bad actors
- Silver bullet
We use generalities instead of absolutes. We understand that each business is different, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.
- Fraud management can be difficult.
- You might want to update your return policy.
- Fraud management is difficult.
- You should update your return policy.
We write copy that is web friendly. Online content is consumed differently than printed resources. We make sure our content is easy to skim.
- Use the inverted pyramid style, where the most important information is placed highest on the page.
- Use simple, easy-to-understand language to clearly address your audience’s pain points and offer benefits.
- Use headers and subheads to convey key messages.
- Keep paragraphs short.
- Use bullet points and numbered lists.
- Highlight compelling quotes, statistics, offers, and insights with bold or text boxes.
- Consider using fewer words by illustrating a concept with graphs, infographics, or imagery.
- Only links should be underlined. Underline should not be used in any other situation.
Abbreviations and acronyms
An acronym is a word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words. An abbreviation is not an acronym.
In headlines, the United States is US. In body copy, it’s U.S.
When an acronym appears for the first time, spell it out and include the acronym in parentheses: customer lifetime value (CLV)
Use all caps, but no periods, in longer abbreviations when the individual letters are pronounced: ABC, CEO, CIA, FBI.
For plurals, use lowercase -s.
Avoid most acronyms and abbreviations in headlines.
Avoid asterisks (*) whenever possible. They distract readers. Otherwise, place asterisks at the ends of sentences, following the ending punctuation.
Don’t use more than one asterisk per sentence. For many legal disclaimers, use superscript numbers and endnotes.
Sentence case will be the primary capitalization style. It will be used for sales decks, email subject lines, web page headings and subheadings, etc.
The following is an example of sentence case capitalization: Kount is trust and safety technology
We will avoid using colons with any copy formatted in sentence case.
- Getting started with trust and safety
- Trust and safety: How to get started
There are three exceptions to sentence case usage. In these three instances, we’ll use title case instead:
- Titles for webinars
- Titles and subtitles for blog articles
- Titles and subtitles for ebooks, guides, and other long-form content pieces
The following is an example of title case capitalization: Top 9 Benefits of Fraud Detection Technology
We use the Oxford or serial comma. The Oxford comma precedes the last item in a list. For example: cats, dog, and ducks
Contractions should be used sparingly. Contractions are not used in all regions or languages. Therefore, their use can cause confusion with international or English as a second language (ESL) readers. We want to create a user-friendly experience for everyone interacting with our brand.
Avoid regional contractions like ain’t, shan’t, y’all, and mustn’t.
If contractions are used, they should be limited to the most common occurrences.
Include spaces on either side of an em-dash.
- signal abrupt change
- as one option to set off a series within a phrase
- before attribution to an author or composer in some formats
- after datelines
- to start lists
The use of emojis is primarily limited to email subject lines and social media posts.
Use exclamation marks sparingly.
Headlines should clearly and accurately describe the content that follows.
For blog articles and webpages, headlines should be optimized for search.
Blog articles: Keyword relevancy and placement is the primary concern. Try to include the most relevant keyword as close as possible to the beginning of the headline. Use the remainder of the copy to answer the searcher’s question.
Webpages: Wording should first focus on conversions and what is needed to connect with the reader. Keyword consideration (while necessary) should be secondary.
Blog and web headlines should not exceed 60 characters.
Hyphens create compound modifiers.
Don’t include a space on either side of a hyphen.
Don’t use hyphens to join -ly adverbs and adjectives or participles.
Don’t use hyphens for common prefixes: re-, pre-, non-, anti-, multi-, bi, etc.
Use suspended hyphens when modifiers end with the same word: 18- to 35-year-olds, fraud- and trust-related signals.
For links within a block of content (blog articles, emails, etc.), use descriptive, search optimized anchor text. Avoid using actions or location words. Set contextual expectations about what’s behind a link.
- Learn more about chargeback management.
- Click here
- Learn more
When we spell out a universal resource locator, use lowercase, even if it refers to a product name: kount.com. Omit the scheme/protocol (http, https) and www.
Don’t include links in headlines or subheads.
For links with buttons, we favor the following:
- Call to action buttons should feature action-oriented text. Try to replace generic verbs (“submit” or “enter”) with more engaging options (“get”, “reserve”, “try”).
- Combine action words with text specific to the offer: “Reserve Your Seat”, “Download the Guide”, “Try Kount Today”.
- Create a sense of urgency. Use words like “now” and “today”.
For all links, anchor text should be between 8 and 50 characters. Short anchor text is harder to see and is harder to select on a mobile device.
Don’t include punctuation in anchor text.
Lists are easy to skim and can help guide readers through an article.
In a numbered list, include one step or action per number.
Avoid stacking lists within lists.
Don’t start a point with a conjunction (and, but, or).
- Detect fraud
- Prevent unauthorized transactions
- Manage chargebacks
- Detect fraud
- Prevent unauthorized transactions
- And manage chargebacks
End each item in the list with punctuation only if it’s a complete sentence. Don’t end items in a list with commas or semicolons.
- Detect fraud.
- Prevent unauthorized transactions.
- Manage chargebacks.
- Detect fraud,
- Prevent unauthorized transactions,
- And manage chargebacks.
Keep items in lists parallel. Write all points in the same tense. If one point begins with a verb, all points should begin with verbs. If one point is a sentence fragment, all points can be sentence fragments. And if one point has ending punctuation, all points should have ending punctuation.
- User-friendly dashboard
- Customizable reports
- On-demand support team
- User-friendly dashboard.
- Reports that can be customized
- Contact our on-demand support team.
Each page on our website (blog articles, landing pages, etc.) will have a meta description. A meta description is the short explainer text that appears below a headline in search results.
There are three key components of a good meta description:
- Explanation: The meta description should clearly and accurately describe the page’s content.
- Keywords: Meta descriptions help Google understand what the page is about. Keywords help ensure we appear for the correct search results.
- CTA: We want to entice readers to click on our page from the list of available options. Encourage action — click here, learn how, find out, etc.
The length of a meta description should be between 140 and 160 characters.
Spell out one through nine, and use numerals for figures over 10, including 1 million, 2 billion, etc.
Spell out fractions with a hyphen: one-third, three-fourths, etc.
Use numerals for percentages and ratios: 10%.
Don’t begin a sentence with a numeral — even if it’s over 10.
Use a.m. and p.m.
For percentages 1% and above, round to the nearest whole number. For example, use 75% instead of 74.9%.
For percentages below 1%, round to the nearest hundredth (second digit after the decimal). Also, include a zero before the decimal. For example, use 0.19% instead of .2%.
Ideally, percent is associated with a specific number. Percentage is used to refer to a general relationship.
A large percentage of the people voted, but only 20% of the votes counted.
We use the percent symbol (%) with numerals.
Similes and metaphors
Avoid similes, metaphors, clichés, and any other phrases that have alternate meanings. These are not easily understood by all readers.
- Fraudsters and opportunistic customers
- Effective and accurate strategy
- Bad actors
- Silver bullet
Only capitalize formal titles when they are used immediately before one or more names: Pope Francis, President Roosevelt.
Capitalize and abbreviate formal titles that precede a name: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., Sen.
Separate long titles from names with a comma: John Doe, senior content manager at Acme.
- CEO Brad Wiskirchen
- Brad Wiskirchen, chief executive officer at Kount
- Brad Wiskirchen, Chief Executive Officer at Kount
Mentions of protected brand names should include the appropriate trademark symbols (™ or ®).
Only use the registered trademark symbol if it can be formatted as superscript. If it can’t be superscript, leave it off.
Only include the trademark symbol on the first mention of the brand’s name. Any subsequent mentions on the same page or resource would not have the symbol.
Do not make the brand name possessive if the trademark symbol is included. For example, use “the office for Google®” instead of “Google’s® office”.
Both Kount and Midigator have registered trademarks.
Mentions of Kount or Midigator products (Command, DisputeFlow, etc.) do not need to have the trademark symbol.
This list outlines the words and phrases we should and shouldn’t use as we talk about Kount. This resource will grow and change over time.
Words to avoid
There are several commonly used phrases that we will try to avoid.
- Bad actors
Account takeover (ATO)
The plural form is “account takeover attacks.” Avoid “ATOs” and “account takeovers.”
Buy now, pay later (BNPL)
Include the comma when written out.
Buy now, pay later is not a proper noun.
The plural form is: Buy now, pay later options; BNPL options
Clients vs. Customers
A customer is someone who buys something. A client is a person or company that receives services from a professional person or organization.
Kount has clients. Our clients have customers.
E-commerce vs Ecommerce
The reference to “electronic” has become intuitive. Just as we use email instead of e-mail, we use ecommerce, ebook, etc.
When starting a sentence, use Ecommerce, Ebook, etc.
Kount, an Equifax company
Use of the phrase “Kount, an Equifax company” should be avoided. The relationship can be explained with more context.
- Kount was acquired by Equifax…
- The partnership between Kount and Equifax…
- As a part of Equifax…
Pre-Authorization and Post-Authorization
There’s no guarantee that a reader understands the authorization process. Therefore, using pre- and post-authorization as a way to explain our solutions means the value might be missed.
Instead, we can try to explain with words and phrases they probably would understand.
- Before the purchase…
- After the purchase…
- Before the transaction is finalized…
- As the transaction is processed…
- After the transaction has been processed…
Search Engine Optimization
In simple terms, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving our site to increase its visibility when people search online for services related to what Kount offers.
The better visibility our pages have in search results, the more likely we are to attract prospects.
Kount writers don’t need to be SEO experts. However, there are some basic things that anyone can do to help improve outcomes.
Choose your keywords.
- Choose a primary keyword for the page. Primary keywords should only have one corresponding page on our site.
- Consider the potential funnel stage for the keyword. For example, “how to prevent fraud” is top of funnel. A phrase like, “fraud prevention software” is lower in the funnel. Typically, we want bottom of funnel keywords to be on feature pages or landing pages designed to convert leads. Bottom of funnel keywords are usually less successful in a blog article.
- Gather supporting keywords that go along with your primary keyword. For example, if your primary keyword is “account takeover fraud”, then a secondary keyword might be “account protection.”
Use your keywords.
Try to use your keywords in the following places in your blog articles (the optimization process is different for landing pages).
- Add your primary keyword to the page headline (H1). Try to get your keyword as close to the beginning of the headline as possible.
- Try to use your primary keyword in the first paragraph of the article — preferably the first sentence.
- Use your primary keyword in at least one subheading (H2) if it is natural.
- Try to use supporting keywords in other subheadings (H2) if it is natural.
- Use your primary keyword and as many supporting keywords as possible throughout the article.
- Try to use your primary keyword in the last paragraph of the article.
- Add your primary keyword to the page title (the content that appears in search results).
- Add the primary keyword to the meta description.
Use our core keywords.
We can boost the authority of pages by linking to them from other places on our site. You don’t need to physically link to pages yourself — our website technology can handle that for you. All you need to do is use other keywords naturally in the content.
Think about other keywords that are related to the services Kount offers. For example:
- Account takeover
- Friendly fraud
Meet or exceed performance metrics.
In addition to meeting our keyword targets, there are other important SEO metrics to keep in mind.
We also want to meet or exceed our targets for word count and readability.
Each page has different targets. However, word count is typically 1,000 words or more. And readability is usually 50-60.
For most projects, our web developer will create a new page and put it in draft mode. SEO metric targets will be added to the page draft.