The best writing is clear and impactful, and it connects to the reader. By using the copy guidelines below for your NMSU marketing materials, you can reach your audience more effectively while bringing NMSU’s personality to life.

Before You Write

Consider the following elements before you begin writing.


  • Why are you writing this document? To inform, instruct, persuade?
  • Early in the process, see the “big picture” — the organization, content and overall function of the document.


  • Who is this document for? Students, alumni, staff, donors, community members? Is it a combination?
  • What do they know? What do they need to know? How will the document be used?

Voice and Tone

The voice of NMSU communications should be consistent, always reflecting the personality of our brand. Our words should come across like a firm handshake: confident, direct and friendly. Treat the readers with respect and show you care. As a community of problem solvers, we are all about discovery. We should demonstrate our expertise while remaining accessible.

Tone is flexible. It generally depends on your audience and the message you need to convey. Copy telling potential students about the benefits of an NMSU education would carry a different tone than a paragraph that aims to inspire Aggie alumni to give back to their university. Always be mindful of the emotive affect of your writing. Use language that evokes appropriate emotion for your content.

Achieve Clarity

The following tips can make your writing easier to understand.

  • Use uncomplicated words and simple sentence structure.
  • Choose unambiguous language.
  • Speak in the active voice.
  • Be liberal with nouns and verbs. Be conservative with adjectives and adverbs.
  • Aim for precise nouns and vivid verbs.
  • Select words that complement your chosen photos or images.
  • Refer to the university style manual for guidance on grammar, usage and university names.
  • Avoid buzzwords and jargon.

The Final Edits

Proper editing is crucial to an effective document. We recommend that at least one other person review your writing, even if that person doesn’t consider himself or herself an “editor.”

Copyediting is a more detailed review. Examine closely the spelling, punctuation, grammar, consistency (in usage, formatting and style), accuracy and completeness. Use a single space between sentences.

Fact check: Verity all data in the document. Call phone numbers and test website addresses.

Proofread. This is the final review, performed just before publication. Changes should be minor and should focus on glaring mistakes.

Resources: Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation and NMSU Style

Refer to the documents below — the full NMSU Style Guide and the shorter document links below it — for questions about how to refer to names of university people, buildings and events. Also find answers to questions about punctuation, spelling and grammar questions, plus a handy list of abbreviations. Unless otherwise noted in the NMSU style manual, NMSU follows the Associated Press Stylebook.

Copy Samples


Discovering the cosmos

Body copy:

Josh Medina '16

Aerospace Engineering Major

I’m launching an out-of-this world career. I’m enhancing my skill set and gaining real-world experience through internships. I work alongside faculty mentors who motivate me and guide me on my NMSU experience. I’ve forged lasting friendships through student clubs and organizations. And when I graduate, I know I’ll be ready for what lies ahead – or up in the sky. What will you discover?



Let Us Help You

Achieve Your Goal

Body copy:

New Mexico State University’s caring community has many ways to support you on your educational journey. We recognize that while many students aspire to similar goals, they often have different starting points. With that in mind, we have programs that can help you earn the degree you want. In the Aggie Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program, our five campuses work together to navigate you toward a bachelor’s degree — even if you initially don’t meet admission requirements to the university. Together, we can help you discover your pathway.