A content style guide is a document that outlines certain aspects of any content that is produced for and by your brand. This is especially important for brands of integrity who want to show their values through their content. It’s what draws your audience in and builds their confidence in you as your relationship with them grows.
Branding is all about creating content that reveals who your company is at its core and magnetizes your target market to you. Once your audience identifies with you, you want them to be able to rely on you to be the same brand at every touch point.
Content style guides are one of the most important documents for new brands and those going through a rebranding. The time investment into creating a content style guide will save you an exponential amount of time as you move forward. You can use this document as an internal guide for your marketing team, for freelancers you work with, and even as a reminder for yourself.
What should be included in a Content Style Guide?
Your content style guide should be a living document that anyone on your team can read through to find how your brand approaches content. As everything will be recorded in one place, it will help to keep everyone who is creating content for you on the same page. This is especially important if you have remote team members or work with freelancers.
Your Content Style Guide should include things like:
- Brand Voice and Tone – This is the personality of your brand. Your tone might be something like ‘flirty and fun’ if you’re an underwear brand or ‘intelligent and straightforward’ if you’re an education provider. Any content should be centered on these guidelines. It should also include word preferences and words that should be avoided.
- Brand Words and Terms – These are special words and terms that belong solely to your brand. An example would be a fundraising site using the word ‘Donorbase’, instead of ‘database for donors.’ This keeps your writing unique but keeps the consistency your audience can follow.
- Brand Style Rules – Content rules will tell you how your content should look. Things like grammar rules, paragraph rules, spelling preferences, and word choice will be included in this section.
- Conscious Language Guide – It’s especially important for brands of integrity and non-profits to use conscious language. This means you are aware of the biases that often are used unconsciously in language and you are working to consciously shift away from using harmful language. An example would be ensuring that you include an option for non-binary in any sex-related form questions.
Speak to Your Audience Powerfully
Having a strong, consistent brand voice and tone will help your audience align with your brand message easily and learn to rely on you to deliver that same message at every point. Before you write your brand content style guide, it’s important to consult your brand values. These values should inform your tone, voice, and every word that you write, especially if you’re a brand of integrity.
If your company is an eco-conscious brand, it’s vitally important that you educate your company about being conscious across the board. If your non-profit supports women entrepreneurs in Uganda, it’s vitally important that you use not only women-positive language but gender-positive language. This goes beyond just positioning your brand to represent a certain ideal but actually living what your values are.
And customers love brands that live their values.
Ready to tap into your brand power by creating a brand content style guide? I’d love to help you speak your values from the heart, at every touchpoint. Send me a message to chat about how Copy by Kristen can help your brand communicate authentically.