How To Create a Content Style Guide With Examples From Brands You Know

How To Create a Content Style Guide (With Examples From Brands You Know)

Creating a content style guide can be daunting, especially when starting from scratch. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A content style guide can help your business create consistent and on-brand messaging across all channels and platforms, no matter who creates the content. This blog post discusses what a content style guide is, why having one is essential, and the elements to include in your guide. We also provide examples from well-known brands so you can have a comprehensive and practical understanding of how to do it.

What Is a Content Style Guide?

A content style guide is a set of rules and guidelines for creating and curating content that reflects a consistent brand image. It outlines the dos and don’ts of content creation, from the tone of voice to the formatting and images used.

A style guide is designed to help ensure that every piece of content you create aligns with your company’s voice, mission, and overall brand identity. It should include guidelines for writing content, using visuals, formatting text, and source images, and communicating consistently across all platforms.

By following the guide, your team can quickly and easily produce engaging, high-quality content with confidence in company messaging that is cohesive and on-brand, so you can increase engagement and reach the right audience.

Content style guides also serve as great tools for companies and other teams who work with external and outsourced writers and other content creators. Well-done style guides help both freelancers and other creatives understand a business’ brand standards and requirements. This, in turn, allows for a shared starting point for everyone and ensures content consistency among all products, platforms, and creators.

5 Things That Do Not Make a Great Content Style Guide

Creating a great content style guide is essential for any organization that wants consistency and quality in its content. It should provide clear guidance on topics such as tone, voice, formatting, grammar rules, and more. A good content style guide should also be regularly updated with new information to keep up with changing trends and guidelines. Below are five things to avoid in creating a great content style guide.

1. Lack of Clear Structure

A great content style guide should have a clear and logical structure so readers can easily find the information they want. This structure will be easy to navigate and use the guide effectively.

2. No Defined Tone or Voice

A defined tone or voice is essential for any content style guide to ensure compatibility across all content created by an organization. Without this guidance, content may become inconsistent and lack cohesion.

3. Too Many Rules

Having too many rules can make a content style guide harder to understand and follow, which defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. It’s important to keep rules concise and focused on key topics only while also allowing some flexibility for creativity when necessary.

4. Not Updating Regularly

A content style guide must be updated regularly with new information as trends change or new guidelines appear. Otherwise, it will become quickly outdated and ineffective at guiding content creation within an organization.

5. No Accessibility Considerations

Making sure that your content style guide gives thought to accessibility considerations is vital for ensuring everyone has equal access to your content regardless of ability or disability status — something that is becoming increasingly important in today’s digital landscape. Without this consideration, content may not be accessible to all interested parties.

Why Is a Style Guide Important?

1. Consistency

A content style guide helps ensure exacting style across all your content, making it easier to create and deliver a consistent brand experience to your customers. By having a coherent voice and style, you can maintain a strong brand identity, no matter what platform or channel you use to deliver your message.

2. Communication

A style guide is an excellent tool for facilitating communication between different departments and teams when creating content. With a content style guide in place, everyone is on the same page regarding spelling, punctuation, and other details specific to your company.

3. Professionalism

A content style guide creates a more professional image of your business. A guide allows customers and potential clients to recognize your brand as trustworthy and reliable.

4. Collaboration

Creating content often involves collaboration with other teams, freelancers, and agencies. A content style guide makes this process smoother, as everyone involved in the project will know what style to adhere to when creating content.

5. Efficiency

A content style guide saves you time and money in the long run. You won’t have to constantly check and correct mistakes due to a lack of clarity on how to craft them properly. Having a content style guide will give everyone involved in the project a clear understanding of the rules.

How To Create Your Content Style Guide

Creating your content style guide doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. In fact, with the right approach and guidelines, you can easily create a helpful and practical guide that will ensure your content is harmonious across all platforms. Here are some steps to help you get started.

1. Define Your Brand Voice and Tone

The first step in creating a content style guide is to define your brand voice and tone. This includes deciding how you want to communicate with your audience, what kind of language you’ll use, and what topics you’ll cover. This is important because it helps you create consistency in your content and keeps your messaging on track.

2. Determine the Usage Rules

Once you have a clear idea of your brand voice and tone, you can determine the rules for usage in your content. These could include grammar and punctuation rules, formatting guidelines, and even language preferences — for example, British or American English. This part of the process is about establishing standards so that your content looks the same no matter who is writing it.

3. Identify Your Writing Style

After defining your voice and tone, you should identify your writing style. This includes the type of writing you want to use, such as technical, journalism, marketing, or casual. You should also define the structure of your content, such as lists, paragraphs, and headings.

4. Set up an Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar can help you stay organized and ensure your content gets published on time. An editorial calendar also provides a way to track your content’s progress and ensure it’s in line with your brand voice and tone. You can create an editorial calendar using a spreadsheet or project management software, depending on the size of your team.

5. Set Standards for Visuals

Visuals are essential to any content style guide. You should set standards for the type of visuals you want to use, such as photography, infographics, and video. You should also define rules for the size, quality, and placement of visuals in your content.

6. Create a Style Guide Template

The final step in creating your own content style guide is to create a template. This should include all the information you have gathered on your brand’s voice, tone, writing style, grammar and punctuation rules, and visual standards. All contributors can then use this template to ensure uniformity in your content.

What To Include in Your Content Style Guide

There are a few fundamental aspects to a solid content style guide. They include:

  • Tone of voice. The tone of voice should reflect your brand’s personality. It should be clear, concise, and consistent across your content.
  • Writing conventions. These refer to grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and other writing-related matters.
  • Formatting standards. Formatting standards include font type and size, colors, spacing, margins, and other elements related to the look and feel of your content.
  • Images and graphics standards. Images and graphics standards involve deciding the types of images you’ll use in your content and how to do it properly.
  • Social media guidelines. These ensure your posts stay on-brand and align with your content style guide.

Example Content Style Guides From Top Brands

1. Hubspot

The content style guide by Hubspot is comprehensive and well-organized. It covers voice, grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and formatting. The guide also includes tips for writing for different channels, such as social media, email, and blog posts. Furthermore, it guides how to write headlines and titles that draw readers.

2. Intuit

Intuit’s content style guide focuses on creating clear, concise, and consistent communication across all platforms. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the audience before crafting messages or stories that resonate with them. The guide also contains guidelines on how to use language effectively when addressing customers or employees so they can understand the message quickly and easily.

3. Mailchimp

Mailchimp’s content style guide is designed to help marketers create effective campaigns consistent with their brand’s identity and values while ensuring clarity in communication across all channels, including emails, web pages, and social media posts. It covers topics such as tone of voice, word choice and grammar usage, and guidelines for using visuals in campaigns like images or videos to make them more engaging for audiences.

4. Monzo

Monzo’s content style guide focuses on creating a consistent and recognizable tone of voice that is friendly, informal, and conversational. It provides guidelines for writing content in different formats, such as emails, blog posts, and social media posts. The guide also covers topics such as using language effectively to engage readers and tips for making content more understandable so readers can quickly find the information they need.

Try It Out Today

Creating a content style guide is essential for any company looking to create uniform, high-quality content. By developing a content style guide, you can ensure your brand’s messaging is cohesive and recognizable across different platforms and channels. A content style guide should include grammar and punctuation rules, formatting guidelines, and branding elements. It should also address topics like tone of voice and audience engagement.

By following these steps, you can make sure that your content is up to the standards you’ve set for your brand. For professional help in creating excellent content style guides, contact us today. One of our content strategists will help you with answers, offer you direction, and get you started with your journey to result-oriented content guides.

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