Setting expectations and parameters is always a good idea, especially if you’re starting a content marketing project that you want to see succeed.
The Importance of a Style Guide
A style guide helps a company clarify expectations and distinct branding requirements for various marketing initiatives. It’s a critical tool for developing a uniform brand identity across different mediums and helps companies avoid erroneous branding mishaps.
The Internet is driven by content. All brands want to show content that will add value to their business and is relevant to their audience. That is why it is so important to have good marketing campaigns. Having a user-friendly Web content style guide is key to maintaining consistency across all content and keeping the brand’s integrity. It’s a tool that is meant to help those who create content rather than confusing them. For a style guide to be effective, it should be a living document. As your brand evolves over time, so should your style guide. That will keep your content honest to what your brand is truly trying to communicate.
Creating a Style Guide
Today, outsourced production is becoming more and more popular among marketers. Content outsourcing is a great alternative as it’s results driven, but it can also become very tricky very quickly if expectations are not set and proper guidelines are not followed. Having a style guide when outsourcing content creation will minimize this risk as it should provide clear direction and rules. A basic style guide should include these elements:
- Logo design
- Terms for logo use
- Color schemes
- Web styles (buttons, form elements, iconography, etc.)
- Photography style
- Examples of incorrect use
Grammar and Writing Rules
- Copywriting style and tone guidelines
- Customer service language
- Exceptions to the rules
Tone and Brand Representation
- Brand overview, history, values, mission, and vision
- Brand use and licensing
- Enforcement policy and legal consequences of misuse
If you need some inspiration, find an external guide. The Chicago Manual of Style and The Yahoo! Style Guide are popular choices that can help you answer your content creation questions and get started. Get your content marketing campaign moving with an amazing style guide, and if all that sounds like a hassle, know that we’re happy to give you a hand with your content creation projects. Let’s talk.