Remember, if you feel compelled to write a novel in order to adequately delve into the nuances of your brand’s personality, please don’t be surprised when no one wants to read it. Come back to tone pillars when you’re ready to create more organization within the structure of your brand’s tone. Meaning, this is how your brand should always (and never) be perceived. IMPACT is digital sales and marketing company focused on empowering business leaders with the education, tools, training and support needed to grow their companies and careers. Of course, as with organizational changes of any kind, that’s easier said than done. It won’t tell you what your messaging should be -- again, that’s an entirely separate process. Ever. Remember, if you feel compelled to write a novel in order to adequately delve into the nuances of your brand’s personality, No matter how you format this section -- our way isn’t the only way --. Download our FREE brand voice and style guide template. You need to have this same kind of situational awareness about your brand. It’s likely that if you’re reading this, you’re probably going to assume this role -- or you’re in charge of the person who will be the facilitator -- so here’s what you need to know: If you are the facilitator, you are not a participant. Additional guidance that’s often used by journalists on media law, social media use, data reporting, etc. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s MailChimp’s content style guide. f you’ve already created your brand messaging strategy, you’ll want to tailor your questions to the selected brand messaging style. Just like your organization, content style guides are not static. Editors Note: This TechWhirl Style Guide Template is one in a series of templates to help readers plan and manage communications and content management activities, resources and deliverables. Two is a nice minimum, because it allows you to create a balance between two tonal qualities that can be scaled or differently weighted, as needed, depending on context. And it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do, it’s clear that you’re completely unprofessional. In fact, we’ve tweaked those word clouds numerous times over the years, sprinkling in and testing different words to ensure we’re creating opportunities for honest discussion and to allow authentic, unfiltered feelings to take center stage. Let it happen. Enforce your style guide. Listen for key phrases (beyond the ones on the page) that stand out to you or ideas where there’s a lot of consensus. Use Style Manual when creating Australian Government content. That’s a great question, but you want to keep them focused on the task at-hand, and you don’t want to accidentally influence their choices by pivoting the discussion to the methodology behind the workshop. After you get to a point where you know they should be accountable, just send the work back and circle what’s not up to style and have them correct it. At IMPACT, we solved this challenge by developing a two-hour content style guide workshop. This is where the magic happens -- the words on the page prompt participants to share their real feelings. (That’s why we typically have our clients go through a messaging strategy workshop first. This is a dynamic element. Internally, you’ll also be able to promote best practices with your team around how your brand should be portrayed and perceived, which means your brand presentation through content will be consistent, no matter who’s doing the typing. Looks easy, right? After your buyer personas, we strongly recommend developing your brand messaging strategy first. They can only use the words presented to them, as-is, but they are encouraged to expand upon their thinking when it’s their turn to share their answers. After you get to a point where you know they should be accountable, just send the work back and circle what’s not up to style and have them correct it. A lot can get lost in translation. We adapted this from a brand personality quiz originally developed by, This manifests itself when one or more people have their. We adapted this from a brand personality quiz originally developed by Big Brand System. No one wants to force people to sit around a conference room table and ask people where the commas should go, so that portion of the style guide will not be hashed out during your content style guide workshop. Starting with the very basics, a useful writing style guide for blog contributors will detail specific, desired formatting information. You’ll also use three worksheets to run the branding exercises, but. Your goal is to create a document that your people will want to bookmark (if it’s online) or keep a hard copy of on their desk, so they can come back to it again and again, because it’s such a valuable resource. However, if you have rigorous rules like, “paragraphs should never exceed X sentences,” or “We only use bullets for lists, never numbers,” you would put them into a content style guide. For example, your social media strategy might detail the type of content you plan to publish, whereas your style guide would explain how that content should look when it’s shared. Establish your brand's promise and key differentiators, Define the voice and tone parameters that will govern your content, Set your brand's style and grammar "rules of the road", Beat your competitors with content that resonates with prospects, © 2021 IMPACT, All Rights Reserved. Additionally, you should take notes as described in the previous point. Create a compelling title page for your brand guidelines. Choose fonts that reflect your unique identity. For example, the five different chapters of bankruptcy or common baseball terminology. (Review Chapter 1 of this guide, if you need a refresher! This is our company style guide. A better definition of a content style guide would be to say it’s a document for your content creators and/or employees breaking down who your brand is, and how that is (and isn’t) expressed through copy, both from the 80,000-foot view and a tactical execution level. You’re not passionate. Yes, the UNC Creative team developed exhaustive brand guidelines about everything -- logo, visuals, typography, stationary, color guidelines, content, etc. In this context, style refers to what your content looks like. If your roll-out strategy is “send the style guide as a link in an email,” expect to be underwhelmed by the number of people who save it to read for later… and then never do. This is the not-so-fun part, but you should send back work that doesn’t adhere to the new style guide. Definitions, as well as usage, spelling, formatting and capitalization standards for words and phrases. Since it is designed for journalists, it’s not only versatile and neutral, it’s always being updated in real-time -- you don't need to wait for new editions -- based on current events. Whether you’re talking about visuals or content, there’s one golden rule when it comes to brand style. We typically see this with new startups, where they’re having these conversations for the first time -- which totally makes sense. Again, ask clarifying questions and challenge people to go deeper, as appropriate. This is where the magic happens -- the words on the page prompt participants to share their real feelings. It sets out writing rules that are different from practices adapted to print in order to support the writing principles for Canada.ca. Even the best writers can use reminders on … What is it that, to this point, our competitors have failed to do? A punctuation guide, covering the use of the Oxford (or “serial”) comma, hyphens following a prefix, apostrophe usage when denoting possession, spacing, in-text quotations, and more. That’s not a knock on the brand. AP style says only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized in article titles and headlines; exceptions vary wildly, but most use some version of title case is adopted as an exception. (If you're still not convinced, the team at GatherContent does a great job of explaining why style guides are so important to ensuring that consistency.). As we’ve talked about already, your content’s style is only one piece of the brand storytelling puzzle. But how do you actually extract the insights you need from the right people to create your content style guide on your own, without having to hire an agency? If you build out more than four tone pillars, you’ll create confusion. However, if you think certain ideas, rules, or preferences about your brand’s style should be “obvious,” you’re opening yourself up to a lot of risk by not discussing them, agreeing to them, and documenting them in a content style guide. Yes, clients hire us to do this for them. However, your content style guide should not be where your full brand messaging strategy lives. Again, your goal is not to walk away with words you’ll plug into a Mad Libs-esque content style guide template. What a content strategy should look like. What you choose will depend on your industry. A simple list of dos and don’ts will work fine as a first draft. Read the directions once more, with the word cloud up on the screen, and then ask if they have any questions. (Who can forget the great “Internet vs. internet” shift of 2016?). Again, you might not run into any of these issues -- that’s also okay. Make it available in an online format. 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