Achieving content consistency is vital for any content team. But no matter how well you’ve defined your tone of voice, it’s easy to lose control of your brand when you have large numbers of writers creating copy.
That’s why you need a style guide – a set of guidelines that help writers make the right content decisions, time after time, helping create the branding consistency you need, now and in years to come.
Usually taking the form of an A-Z reference document, a style guide is a useful resource that writers can refer to when writing for your brand.
As an experienced writer and editor, I can create a style guide for your organisation.
My content style guide service helps you:
• Put tone of voice into practice.
With a content style guide, you can give writers the practical info they need to write in your specific brand tone.
• Save time and money in future.
When copywriters have a style guide to turn to, they’re less likely to need to ask you questions – and their copy is less likely to need revisions, which could save money too.
• Meet your organisation’s goals.
An effective style guide helps copywriters to write in a voice that’s best suited to the target reader – helping drive sales, engagement, donations or investment.
You probably won’t want anything as detailed as these – but they’re a good insight into how helpful a style guide can me for a serious content team.
Your style guide will probably focus on issues that are important to you. These might include:
• Brand tone. Do you want writers to use short, snappy sentences and paragraphs – or vary the pace? Are you a minimalist brand – or is a dash of creative chaos OK by you? A summary of your views on tone of voice should appear here.
• Styles of English. In a global business, do you use UK or US spellings? Are there any exceptions to the general rule – such as use of the Oxford comma?
• Industry terms. Are there words that are always spelt the same way in your industry – or ugly phrases that you never want to use?
• Hyphenations. Do you take a progressive approach to hyphenation, using one-word nouns like “mashup” and “breakup” – or are you a bit more traditional, preferring hyphenated forms instead?
• Abbreviations. Do your readers know their ASOS from their ASCII? What abbreviations do your readers understand, and which should be spelt out at first mention?
• Basic grammar rules. Not everyone who writes for your business will be an experienced writer. Do you want to include some basic grammar rules for them to stick to – or assume that writers don’t need to be mollycoddled this far?
• Old-school grammar rules. Do you enforce once-popular rules such as ‘don’t split infinitives’ or ‘never begin a sentence with “And”’? (Most people think these two have died a death, but in a highly conservative market, you might not.)
• References and citations. In reports and white papers, references matter: they give you credibility and reinforce your expertise. But do you have a consistent way to present references, so your readers can read up on a subject further if they need to? A style guide helps nail these down.
Each one of these decisions might seem small in themselves – but taken together, they create a set of guidance that is vital to achieving consistency. And consistency, as all marketers know, plays a vital role in building a brand.
So if you don’t have a style guide, and you believe in clear communication, you know what to do. Get in touch – and start work on your style guide today.Get in touch about a style guide