How To Build An Editorial Style Guide For Your Brand In 2021

7 mins read

Every brand needs a marketing strategy to build brand awareness and convert them into potential prospects and consumers. Knowing this, you might have hired several writers and marketers to develop a marketing strategy.

The problem however, arises when your writers find it hard to maintain tonal consistency and meet brand standards.

Therefore, having an editorial style guide that your writers and marketers can follow to avoid unnecessary irregularities becomes crucial, especially if you have a large team. A style guide won’t just help your current employees but also the ones you’ll be hiring in the future. A style guide is therefore a necessity for producing content that reflects your brand’s messaging, voice and tone.

Editorial Style Guides can also outline your brand’s visual and thematic language, formatting procedures, grammar rules, and so on. It’s easier for your writers to make content that meets your standards and reinforces your brand identity if they have an editorial style guide.

 

What an Editorial Style Guide Consists Of

Let us look at the components you must include in your style guide 

  • Grammar and Spelling: Avoid Grammatical and Spelling Errors by using tools like Grammarly.
  • Links and Resources: Provide high-quality links and resources to avoid confusing your readers.
  • Media and Images: Give sources of the media and images you use in your content.
  • Brand Messaging: Drive home your brand messaging by incorporating it into your content.
  • Voice and Tone: Maintain a consistent voice and tone that reflects your brand values.
  • Sentence Structure and Formatting: Structure and Format your content depending on the medium you’re writing it for.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when building your own editorial style guides.

 

  1. Build your Style Guide on top of an existing one

Source: CoSchedule

Building your Style Guide over existing ones available on the internet is a great place to start. You could use them as the foundation of your guide. And then build on top of it according to your needs.

Guides such as the AP or MLA already have rules on structure, formatting, and grammar. Use them as a reference when building your style guide and incorporate additional elements.

 

  1. Establish your Brand’s Voice, Tone, and Message

Source: Hubify

Sit down with your team and establish what the message of your brand is. Your readers should immediately associate themselves with your brand whenever they discover something in your niche. Once you have figured out what it is, you need to convey it to your readers in the right voice and tone.

Your voice is the personality of your brand. You could choose to convey a rigid/serious personality like Apple or something that is playful/humorous like Netflix. Stick to your voice to maintain consistency. Your tone is the deviation from your brand voice depending on the situation. 

 

  1. Define Standards Of Performance and Formatting Principles

Source: Twitter Business

Having a defined set of performance can be extremely helpful to your writers and editors. It will help them while determining the calibre of your content. By setting objective standards you’ll improve content quality and weed out the stuff that misses the mark. A few objective examples include relevancy of your keywords, grammar, actionability, etc.

Formatting helps you to create content that flows smoothly and doesn’t confuse the reader. The most basic formatting principles include the proper use of headers, subheaders, bullet points, bold and italic text.

Use italicised text for technical/special terms while use bold text to draw your reader’s attention

 

  1. Set a distinct Visual and Design Language

Source: Shopify Partners

Your style guide must mention the visual language of your brand. It is to ensure that the visuals your writers share in your content maintain consistency with each other. Also, be sure to convey your image size requirements and provide sources if you’re using third party images to make it look professional.

Your brand’s design language depends on three things:

  • Colour Palette: Use a colour palette that compliments your brand logo. It should invoke the right emotions in your readers.
  • Logo: Mention where your logo needs to be placed on your website, advertisements and social media posts.
  • Font: Tell your writers the fonts your brand regularly uses for your headers, subheaders and text.

 

  1. Write down the Best Practices for various Content Types

Source: CoreDna

Your style guide must include the practices your brand follows while creating content of various types. You obviously can’t apply blog-writing principles for producing video content. They’re inherently different mediums.

Be sure to mention the Voice, Tense and Point of View to be used in your content. 

  • Voice: Write your content in Active Voice rather than passive voice as it has a contemporary tone and is standard among bloggers and marketers.
  • Tense: You can offer your content in the Past/Present/Future tense. Pick one and stick to it.
  • Point of View: Your content can either be written in first person(I) or second person(You). You can also choose to serve content in an informal/formal way.

 

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