As a content marketer who is often called upon to write brand content, it’s important for me to understand the voice of the brand I’m writing for, who their audience is, and what actions they want someone to take after consuming a piece of their content. That’s why one of my first requests upon working with a new brand is to gain access to their style guide.
Unfortunately, many brands have not taken the time to develop their own style guide, and instead direct me to take a look at their website, or their CEO’s regular contributed column on a popular website.
This is what you call a missed opportunity.
First, I’m going to have to spend time searching out these sources and reading them (and those are billable hours if it’s a consulting project). Then I’m going to have to follow up with all the questions that are still unanswered for me after reading them (do you use the Oxford comma or not? What is the current brand description? What tense should I be writing this in?).
My final piece will then likely have to go through a couple of rounds of edits to meet your actual internal style, which is locked in the head of your primary proofreader and editor. Now you can never completely avoid edit rounds, but I’ve found that having a well-thought-out style guide can considerably cut down on how extensive those edits end up being.
I know that creating your own style guide can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, so I’ve outlined the steps I take when creating a new brand style guide from scratch. [Read more…] about 6 Steps to Develop a Style Guide to Create Consistency in Your Content Marketing Messaging