The Importance of Style Guides in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Having a well-defined style guide is an essential part of any content marketing strategy - but one that is all too often overlooked by marketers and business owners.

Used correctly, a style guide helps ensure consistency in your branding and messaging, builds trust with your customers, and helps establish a uniform voice across all channels. It can also help streamline the workflow for content creation by laying out clear guidelines for everyone involved in content production. In this article, we'll discuss why having a style guide is important, and how you can create one.

What Is A Style Guide In Content Marketing?

A style guide is a document that outlines the standards and conventions for written materials, visuals, and other elements associated with your content marketing strategy. It serves as a reference point for everyone in your organization to ensure that brand messaging is consistent across all channels, from blog posts and emails to social media and more.

Style guides provide rules for grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, formatting, and other aspects of written content - as well as guidelines for colour palettes, fonts, logos, imagery, and other visuals. They also often include instructions on how to handle branding in different situations, such as when publishing guest posts or responding to comments on social media.

Key Fact

88% of all consumers say that authenticity is one of the most important factors in choosing a brand - but by ensuring that your style guidelines are consistent and reliable, you can build trust and demonstrate authenticity; both of which are crucial to building a loyal, long-term audience.

 

Why Is A Style Guide Important For Content Marketing?

So, just why do you need a style guide for your content marketing, and how can this help to improve your business? There are a number of advantages to a good style guide, and these include:

It Allows You To Create A Consistent Brand

Brand consistency is one of the most important principles of content marketing. Having a style guide helps ensure that your message is consistent across all channels and platforms and that your branding remains recognizable no matter where it appears.

This will help to ensure that customers can easily recognize your business, build trust in your brand, and encourage loyalty.

It Ensures Accuracy And Quality Of Your Content

Having a style guide also helps ensure the accuracy and quality of all content associated with your brand. By laying out clear rules for grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, and other elements of the writing process, it's easier to ensure that all content is of a high standard.

It Saves You Time And Money

Having a style guide can also help to streamline the workflow for content creation, as everyone involved in the process will have easy access to instructions and guidelines. This means fewer errors, less time spent on proofreading and editing, and ultimately lower costs for content production.

Key Fact

Using a signature colour can increase brand recognition by a whopping 80% - make sure that your style guide includes a section on colour palettes and other visual elements that should be used to create consistency across all content.

 

How To Create A Style Guide For Content Marketing

Creating a style guide doesn't have to be a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1.  Know Your Brand's Voice And Tone

The first step is to decide what voice and tone will best represent your brand. Are you more formal or informal? Professional or fun? Serious or light-hearted? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you create a style guide that reflects your brand's personality.

2.  Outline Rules For Writing

Once you've established your brand's voice and tone, you can move on to outlining the rules for written content. This includes outlines for grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, formatting, and other aspects of the writing process. You can also introduce your writers to tools such as Grammarly and Readable, both of which can boost quality by checking for errors and typos.

3.  Decide On Visual Guidelines

The next step is to decide on visual guidelines for your content marketing. This includes things like logos, fonts, colour palettes, imagery, and more.

4.  Create Guidelines For Social Media And Other Channels

Take time to create guidelines for social media and other channels you're using to promote your content. This includes things like how to respond to comments and feedback, how to handle guest posts or sponsored content, and more. 

5.  Establish A Process For Reviews And Updates

Establish a process for reviewing and updating your style guide as needed. This will ensure that the document stays up-to-date so that it can continue to serve its purpose of providing consistent brand messaging across all channels.

Opt for easy-to-use platforms such as Slack and Trello to stay in touch with the team, and make it super easy to create updates and share needed information across writers and editors.

6.  Bring Your Companies Values and Ethos To Life

Your style guide is a reflection of your brand, so be sure to include your company's values and ethos. Make sure to add any company catchphrases or slogans that should be used in the content, and add personal touches to showcase your unique identity and voice - this can really help to bring your brand to life.

7.  Invite Contributions and Feedback

Ultimately, your writing and editing teams are the ones who will be using the style guide on a daily basis, so it's important to get their contributions and feedback. Ask them for their opinion on the voice, tone, visual elements, and other aspects of the document.

8.  Make Sure Everyone Is Aware Of The Guide

Once you have your style guide created, make sure everyone involved in the content creation process is aware of it. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all content adheres to the same standards.

9.  Create A Living Document

Once your style guide is established, make sure to keep it up to date. As your company grows and changes, so too will your style guide. Make sure you review the document regularly and update it as necessary.

Case Study

When Lara started her copywriting business, she found herself surrounded by smart, intelligent and talented writers, all of whom were great at their craft - and all of whom had vastly unique styles and tones of writing. While each writer was skilled, this lack of consistency caused issues for Lara when it came to keeping the content she produced for her clients in line with their brand.

So, Lara decided to create a style guide that would help determine a set of rules and guidelines for all of her writers to follow. This included everything from grammar and punctuation rules to best practices for formatting and visual elements. She also included her company values, as well as any slogans or catchphrases that she wanted to be used in the content.

These guidelines allowed her writers to produce content for each client with a consistent voice and tone, while still allowing for some creativity and individualism in their writing styles. As a result, Lara was able to consistently deliver high-quality content that successfully adhered to each client's brand.

 

Final Thoughts

Having a consistent style guide is essential for any successful content marketing strategy. It helps ensure accuracy, quality, and consistency across all channels, saves time and money on production costs, and reinforces your brand's identity and values. So take the time to create a style guide that reflects your brand, and watch as it helps you build a successful content marketing strategy.

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