What is a content style guide? and how to create it?

What is a content style guide And how to create it (Complete Process)

Maintaining consistency in your content is very difficult. After all, we are talking about a wide array of content marketing tools here. How to sound similar in your blogs, images, and also your podcasts? – Especially when every avenue of your content is being handled by a different person (sometimes also by freelancers, where you have no control). 

Also, the non-consistency in the content gives you a feel of incompleteness and dissatisfaction. Any content would look amazing individually, but when you start posting them to bring users to your websites or platforms, you’ll feel somewhere the engagement is at loss. This delays your content distribution and can take an absurd amount of time to resolve. You can cut down all this inconvenience and extra work by simply creating a content style guide. It can also help you increase your revenue generation by 33%. 

So, what is a Content Style Guide & why is it important? 

A content style guide is a document containing do’s and don’ts of developing different types of content for your brand. 

It is highly centralized to your content marketing strategy and aligns what types of content you will be creating and when. It guides your content creators, including content writers, copywriters, graphic designers, motion graphic designers, whitepaper writers, and others on how your branding content should look like, sound like and have a great impact on your business.

Another aspect of the content style guide is to use it as an overall branding guide. Depending on how many commonalities you can find between your marketing content and branding content, you must make the decision best for you. 

Why your brand needs a style guide? 

It is simple – a company needs consistency in their overall brand communication. It helps you make your own identity in the market and guides you step-by-step in content building procedure to result as homogeneity in your overall internet presence. This reason alone makes it very important for companies to have a content style guide for their organization’s end-to-end content operations.  

Some other benefits of using a content style guide are: 

It helps you to maintain consistency in your message, tone, and voice. 

Guide your in-house and off-shore team on how to create content for different audiences and different platforms. 

Brand recognition becomes easy.  

Helps you scale up your content creation.

How to Write a Content Style Guide? 

You can ala’ carte the available style guides

There is style and there is information. A style is used to gain consistency, recognition, and impactful delivery of content; whereas, the information is always going to be unique. Thus, there is no barrier as such that you can’t use the already available content style guide. You can make changes to it as per your convenience, industry, and company needs. Or you can also create one yourself. 

Know your content marketing motives

Define your content development goals by aligning them well with your overall business goals. Jotting down your content goals will help you stay at bay and eliminate the risk of going wrong at any time. 

This keeps you honest and makes your content style guide more dynamic and result-oriented.  

What tone and voice should your content have? 

Nobody said content style guide development would be easy. How do you want your audience to perceive your content? Is your text suiting the image that you’re wishing to use? Is your tone right? 

The goal is to find the voice and tone that coincides with your brand image. 

What is included in a brand style guide?

Something as small as a comma and bullets is also considered a crucial part of your content style guide. Talk about these things with the team and find out what works best for you. Keep consistency in your overall work, think about all the avenues. 

Address specific types of content

Not everything will be in your control. With some experience, we can say, a lot of times you have to let some rules slide. There are different types of content development opportunities and you might just have to go with the flow for better outreach and have to switch between your tone and voice. 

Still, we suggest you outline best practices for different types of content that you create for keeping some amount of consistency. Small document include simple things like word count, type of images to be used, should there be short paragraphs or long ones, and what will be the tone of different pieces of content. 

Document your rules for graphics

To create amazing content for the brand, it can be difficult to control your design team when they want to spur creativity in everything. But there are still some design elements in which consistency is highly recommended. Like logo placement, choice of images, and visual design elements, your content style guideline should draw some control over all these factors to maintain consistency and also save the design team a lot of time. 

Content Marketing Style Guide

Similarly, draft guidelines for images and visual content that is going on your blogs too. This will help you avoid certain types of images. 

These 6 rules will help you in maintaining consistency in your brand content. 

How do you write a content style guide? (With examples)

Now that we are sure you have a good idea about how your content guide should be like, there are some brands you can look for content style guides. It will expose you to different intents of content and how it should be. Hopefully, this will answer the 1000 questions that are going on in your mind right now. 

1.  Mozilla’s Guide for Firefox

  • Easy to understand vocabulary
  • Parenthetical explanations
  • Subjective tone.

2.  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Easy questions making it easy for people to start communicating. 
  • Simple language and very clear with the brand content mission. 

3.  Mailchimp

  • Avoids major language-related offensive faux-pas. 
  • Well defined guidelines to make content development easy for their creators. 

4. Spotify

  • Gives just the right amount of flexibility and scope for content creators to show their creativity. 
  • Well-aligned with their content marketing strategy. 

5. Atlassian

  • Easy to navigate content guide that makes it extremely easy to understand the dos and don’ts of content creation. 

Final words

Now that you know what a content style guide is and what a good content style guide looks like, we are sure you can create one for your brand and start building consistency in all content avenues. 

Some of the things that will help you greatly in content style guide creation are: 

  • It should be very easily available to your content creators. It can be a doc, PDF, or a web page or shared folder. You just have to make sure it is not anywhere hidden
  • Use the content style guide as a reference while giving feedback to your content creators. A tabular content guide is thus very much recommended as it makes cross-checking easy. 
  • Make it very simple. The language or the words used in your content style guide should be very simple and comprehensive to all the content creators. Break down the rules into important information to save their and your own time. 

A content style guide is a simple yet effective way to ensure a huge impact on your audience and get a lasting effect. Also, it helps you in gaining brand recognition across all channels. 

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