Having a style guide is no longer limited to publishing companies. From the renowned New York Times to the even more prominent McDonald’s, style guides were made for a semblance of order. It can focus on many things, such as brand identity or content creation, but their ultimate goal is to ensure that everything is organized and done right.
If you are part of a company that releases content consistently, either in your products or newsletters, not having a strict guideline will only lead to conflicting topics, a collision of the writers’ point of view, a disarray in formatting, and just utter disorder in the long run.
It is never too late! Here are five things to remember when creating that much-needed guideline for your content.
1. Grammar and Punctuation
Ensuring correct grammar is not always the right way to go. You can be 100% sure that your grammar is well sorted out, but there are just so many technicalities when it comes to words and punctuation that you probably have no idea even existed.
It is best to have everyone on the same page, especially if different people handle your company’s content. You can even include the most common mistakes and any specifics that should be pointed out.
For punctuation, this especially includes the use of the serial comma, apostrophes, dashes, quotation marks, and so on. By the way, capitalization is also important.
Your company logo alone does not define what your company stands for. Any e-mail, tweet, or Facebook post from your company represents your mission, vision, and overall character.
To be specific, here is where you point out if you prefer to refer to your company with the acronym (for example, HP) or the entire name (Hewlett–Packard). Having a glossary is not needed but a great help in ensuring uniformity. If you prefer to use “partners” instead of “customers” or have a different term altogether (like Lexcodians for Lexcode, and eQQuis for eQQui), then that should be included.
3. Style and Tone
Your target audience comes first in the way you attempt to form a connection through your content. Just as companies in the legal field follow a specific way of describing the smallest detail, you should also have your own voice that is appropriate to your respective industry.
4. Quality and Professionalism
Sloppy content can kill your credibility in an instant. Being organized with your material will give you a more trustworthy image.
Do everything with consistency because consistency is everything. It all boils down to having the same treatment for your content so that both you and your readers or clients form a sense of recognition and even brand recall.