Style guides – Does your blog need one?

This blog will discuss what style guides are, and whether your company needs one. Put plainly, a style guide is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents. They contain a set of stylistic guidelines intended to improve communication, and enforce best practice in terms of language composition, spelling, punctuation, capitalisation, and typography.

Depending on your company sector, a style guide may also have information about technical terminology, ethical issues, compliance, and how best to use images etc. Generally style guides are written to apply to every document or text a business produces – be it online content and blogs, marketing materials, emails, reports, or internal communications.

Obviously, compiling such a guide isn’t a small task. While an extensive style guide can massively benefit both internal and external communications, not every business can invest the time and resources necessary to compile it. However, in order to get the most from your content marketing strategy, why not compile a smaller, more dedicated style guide for your company blog...

Your company blog is a highly effective marketing tool. It can help to build trust with your customers by bringing a more human interface to your business, and can be used as a platform in which you can share important information or updates about your company with potential customers.

If you’re committed to blogging frequently, you can create high quality content that will improve search rankings, get social media shares, and generate some great inbound links to your website. With a style guide in place to implement uniformity, you can make sure that your blog is consistent and as effective as it can possibly be!

A small, concise and simple style guide can really help you to save time. Should the contributors of the blog ever have any questions about preferred style, you’ll instantly be able to point them to the guide. This will be really useful should you ever have new recruits, or should the blogging responsibilities move from one employee to another.

To write a style guide, you should already have strong ideas about your brand’s voice, and how you want it to be communicated to you customer base. You should already have a rough idea of the various rules that all of your company representatives should bear in mind when communicating your brand.

We recommend getting suggestions from all of your staff, or at least the staff that have involvement in writing content for your website. You should let your style guide to develop and grow over time, and let everyone know that your style guide is an open document that can be updated by everyone.

If you’re unsure where to start, many companies and publications have made their style guides publicly available online. The most popular and widely style guide is probably the Guardian and Observer style guide. It might be useful to read through their guidelines and consider which ones are applicable to your business, and your sector.

All businesses could stand to benefit from more efficient communication, so these guidelines are arguably an excellent point of reference for everyone. If you would like any tips on how you should start compiling your style guide, or if you need some more tips on creating your brand voice, please get in touch! I am available on twitter at @isd_eimile and I’d love to hear from you!

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