Brands often have style guides that focus on the look and feel of the design of their content. It’s equally important to have a style guide that articulates the look and feel of the words you use. Such a style guide would include a set of standards for your brand’s written content. Those standards might include how you define your brand voice as well as specifics like when to use a hyphen (e.g. non-stick/nonstick) or whether you use serial commas. We’ll cover the nitty-gritty details of how to create your own style guide and what to include in our forthcoming May blog posts. Before that, let’s talk rationale. Why does your brand need a style guide?
A style guide helps you communicate consistent messaging to your customers. You might have many people creating content for your brand. Each one of them will have their own way with words. However, you want your content to have your brand’s way with words. Documenting that way will provide your writers with guideposts so that your content sounds, looks, and feels like it’s coming from your brand. This not only makes your brand more legible to customers, but also makes your brand more recognizable because people will associate your brand with a specific style.
2. Builds Trust
This point follows from the first. Inconsistency is distracting for the reader, and it’s damaging to your brand. When your copy is all over the place with a seeming lack of orderliness, it portrays a lack of attention to detail and unprofessionalism that calls to question your very ability to deliver on the products and services you offer.
3. Saves Time
Style guides save time because they’re a helpful resource to answer questions about writing and formatting for your content. Everyone knows exactly where to go to find out whether you spell out numerals or use the numbers in your product descriptions, and you don’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over (and over) again. Plus, it’s a great on-boarding tool for bringing new members onto your team, especially when it includes information about your brand voice.
4. Preserves Institutional Knowledge
When your style guide resides in one person’s head and they leave your organization or business, the style guide leaves with them. Having a documented style guide not only offers a single source of truth for questions, but it means you’ll always have answers to style questions, even when your style guru is out of the office.
A style guide makes it easier for anyone in your company to communicate your brand to your audience in a consistent manner. Check back with us each Wednesday this month for info on how to create a style guide for your content marketing, email, SEO and social media.
Filament can help you create on-brand content that tells your story and connects with customers. Learn more about Filament.