Writing Descriptions for Merlin & COVE 

This section demonstrates best practices for writing short and long descriptions for COVE video and Merlin content objects. Overall, you should use a promotional approach in writing these descriptions because they will appear outside the context of your site. Your descriptions should make viewers want to continue exploring your content.

 

Short Description Examples and Best Practices

 Examples:
  • “NewsNite reporter Jody Miller writes about Akron's combined-sewer overflow issue.”
  • “Byron Will's passion for music is embodied in his handmade harpsichords.”

Do:

Don't:

  • Limit the text to 90 characters, including spaces. Exceeding the 90 character limit will result in the system automatically flagging your object.
  • Get to the core of the story.
  • Write it as a phrase or sentence.
  • Don’t provide just a list of key words or names.
  • Avoid repeating the title/headline.
  • Don’t exceed 90 characters, including spaces. Otherwise, the system will flag it.

 

Long Description Examples and Best Practices

Examples:
  • “Cities nationwide are grappling with how to comply with federal clean-water regulations that will require costly overhauls of their sewer systems. Akron is one of those cities. NewsNite reporter Jody Miller writes about the issue.”
  • “Meet Byron Will who has been infatuated with the harpsichord for over 30 years. After making the switch from climatology major to music major in college, he has never looked back. Byron shares with Art Beat his handmade harpsichords as well as a lesson on the history of the instrument.”

Do:

Don't:

  • Limit the text to 400-characters, including spaces. Exceeding the 400 character limit will result in the system automatically flagging your object.
  • Include keywords and pertinent vocabulary to enhance SEO.
  • Start with a compelling topic sentence about the person, issue, location, recipe, musician etc.
  • Close by describing the asset and using action verbs: “watch this documentary,” “quiz yourself,” “read more about x.”  
  • For web features, such as essays, blogs, recipes, consider engaging the audience directly, “Have you ever wondered why X happens? Find out more with this article on the myths and realities of Z.”
  • Don’t repeat the short description verbatim because both descriptions may surface on the frontend.
  • Don’t use just the film/series summary. Describe the specific feature and why a user should click.
  • Don’t repeat descriptions across COVE or Merlin objects.
  • Don’t only explain panelists’ or interview subjects’ biographies/affiliations. What do they have to say that’s newsworthy?
  • Don’t repeat the first paragraph of an article/blog. (This provides little context of what and why a user should click.)
  • Don’t exceed 400-characters, including spaces. Otherwise, the system will flag it.