What is a Style Guide for Writing?
What is the purpose of using a style guide in writing?
Writer's style guides are important for the structure, design, and style of your content to create an optimal and similar user experience across your website. You'll want to create balance by using the same standards for punctuation, capitalization, and company voice.
Developing a strong company voice is an important part of establishing a brand. Like your writing style guide, your company voice should be consistent across the many ways that you communicate with your prospective customers, both on and offline.
What is the value of a company voice?
Your company voice will play an important role in how your brand is perceived and the type of reputation you are able to cultivate. Your voice will help you build relationships with customers and impact their expectations. It can even influence which candidates apply for open positions at your brand.
Communication with prospective customers today is a personal endeavor. People want to know about the humans behind the computer screen that work at the business. They want to know that these individuals are invested in their individual needs. Creating a consistent company voice will help make the entire brand more unified and personal, and it will help to strengthen your relationships with customers.
To develop a company voice, consider the tone and format you want to use when speaking with customers. Some brands might want to take a more formal tone and cast themselves as the trustworthy professionals who are able to help customers. Others might have a more informal voice and want to be viewed as a buddy providing a friend with valuable information. Once you have decided upon a company voice, it should lead your writer's style guide.
Why is it important to follow a style guide?
A writer's style guide will help you create and maintain a consistent voice across your organization. As brands digitally mature, they generally have more than one person doing the various roles in digital communications, including drafting emails, writing on social media, and creating online content. Creating a writer's style guide will help you lay the groundwork for the tone and style that you would like the brand to take. This will include your brand’s opinion on various grammar questions - such as whether or not to capitalize ‘Internet’, use the Oxford comma, or to be mindful of prepositions at the end of sentences. These details of your writer's style guide will create a common voice that is consistent for customers regardless of the representative who reaches out to them.
How do you create a style guide?
A writer's style guide should not only include the finer points of grammar, but it should also touch upon the voice and tone that your content creators should be using as they develop material for your organization. Follow these tips when creating a style guide:
- Work with your marketing managers and main content creators to establish the ground rules for grammar and styling.
- Speak with those leading the organization’s branding efforts to identify the voice that would be most effective for enforcing the intended reputation.
- Communicate the desired voice with those throughout the organization. Some might find it useful to compile an outline of expectations that can easily be emailed to content creators. It can also be helpful to include examples of the types of voice so that writers have a better understanding of how the brand wants to sound.