You should include specific notes on positive and negative voice attributes that will allow your team to adopt the right mental posture with your brand’s content. We use a structured facilitation presentation deck with a set agenda to facilitate our workshops. When it comes to “how the sausage gets made” with your style guide, how you pull together your findings into a single, cohesive style guide will depend on two things: Your personal working style and preferences. How to write an effective content style guide for your brand. This training should also include an overview of the benefits of having a style guide. Enforce your style guide. Instead of fonts and colors -- or even sounds as part of your sonic branding -- you’re working with word choice, phrasing, syntax, formatting, grammar, and punctuation. Ours is a little simpler, and its purpose for the workshop is slightly different -- we’ll explain how in a moment. Period. Those examples have been significantly altered from their original forms for privacy and proprietary reasons. If you build out more than four tone pillars, you’ll create confusion. What if, instead of dressing like a competent professional, you showed up to that presentation or speaking engagement in pajamas? Setting the tone of your visuals from the … Maybe you were at a conference, a professional networking event, or a meeting at work. Simply fill out the form to get your free Content Style Guide Template now. They either want to change the tense of a word or use a different (but similar) one they like better in its place. Someone wants to know where these words came from. 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. So, grab yourself a style guide book (or online subscription), determine what your exceptions are, then document those exceptions in your style guide, along with your external style guide access. Your tone will be situational and should be adapted to accommodate different scenarios. to inform your choices in building the style guide; and. Pro Tip: If you don’t enforce the style guide, your staff will not take the time to learn it. 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. Styleguide Toolbox - Templates, UI Kits, Tools & Generators That said, you really can’t have one without the other. Customisable templates make it easy for people to provide any type of content in the correct format, and style. Our Brand Style Guide template is designed to help you lay the foundation for your brand's logo, fonts, colors, and more. Source. Do not, under any circumstances, give into the urge to create something overly complex for the sake of it. Sadly, you probably won’t catch those discrepancies until someone does something either you, your leadership, or worse, a potential customer or current client doesn’t like. Technically, you could do this afterward if you really need some sort of style guide. I'm sorry.). AP style broke the collective brain of editors all over the country when they announced in 2016 that “internet” should no longer be capitalized; the exception is to pretend that didn’t happen and to always capitalize “Internet.”. Do not define any words for them. Mailchimp. Afterward, have everyone take turns sharing their answers, and why they chose them. Download our FREE brand voice and style guide template. This is our company style guide. For example, one person might say “controversial” is good, and then later, someone else says it’s bad. You don’t need to memorize the style guide in order to effectively understand it and determine your exceptions. However, if you’re panicking about how you’re going to cherry-pick the exceptions you want to document, don’t. Unfortunately, you can’t just go up to people and say, “Hey, I’m smart, I’m passionate, and I totally know what I’m talking about!”, (They’d probably just think you were kind of strange and very pushy.). Use Style Manual when creating Australian Government content. In addition to two slides covering positive and negative voice attributes, and two to four slides defining what we call “tone pillars,” IMPACT content style guides include the following: Messaging overview and a link to the messaging strategy (if applicable); Formatting rules, which covers capitalization for titles, headings, and subheadings, as well as lists; How words are visually emphasized using bold or italics; Brand-specific copywriting preferences or quirks everyone should follow; Exceptions to traditional AP Stylebook rules; Common AP Stylebook rules and login credentials for a client’s AP Stylebook subscription (if available); and. 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. f you’ve already created your brand messaging strategy, you’ll want to tailor your questions to the selected brand messaging style. That said, it’s our experience that developing your messaging strategy in advance makes developing your content style so much easier, since they build on each other. This training should also include an overview of the benefits of having a style guide. What a content style guide is and why your brand needs one. Or Han Solo and Chewbacca. Here’s an example of a tone pillar set, heavily altered for confidentiality purposes: Your tone pillars should not only be a seamless, natural extension of your brand voice, they should also complement each other. There are scores of editors out there who have already done most of the heavy-lifting for you. How “scattered” your results were. Available in print and with an online subscription. But if you hear any of these objections, you cannot cave. Don’t be fooled. It’s kind of like when people look at the HubSpot marketing automation platform and expect it to be their inbound strategy, in addition to being the mechanism by which their strategy is executed. No matter what it looks like, your content style guide should be presented in such a way where the important stuff -- voice and tone attributes, style notes, etc. for them about “controversial” that led to a negative reaction. Creating a content style guide template for the first time can be challenging, and you might find it difficult to provide content writing tips for your website. What’s fun about this is that while the exercises for both were the same in the workshop, the output is quite different for each. They can’t do that either. Given the complexity of their organization and its size, history, and tradition, however, that shouldn’t be a surprise. consistent with it, because someone may form a permanent, irreversible opinion about your brand based on a single piece of content. Learn how we can help you reach your goals -- and to see if we're the right fit for you. . Style guidance for places (addresses, cities, states), academic degrees, names, and acronyms. To use the template, click the File tab in the top left corner of your browser, then select Make a copy from the drop-down menu. They can’t, they have to choose five for each, and you can’t have multiple words tie for a particular spot. 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. You cannot provide your answers, even if prompted. Ask lots of clarifying questions. In Chapter 4, we’ll discuss how you pull that part of your style guide together, but there’s no need to dedicate a part of the workshop to grammar rules and formatting conventions. This editable template contains information on: best practice for web content; a guide to formatting text for the web; correct use of common web terminology; and contains customisable sections so you can add information related to your brand and language. If you’re performing the workshop in person, collect all of the worksheets, but take notes during the discussion period. There’s a big misconception that only writers need or use a content style guide. 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. Of course, you shouldn’t do that. It’s clean, without a lot of stylistic bells and whistles. You may experience some pushback, but that’s okay. Content strategies take many forms, from a 50-page word document to an hour-long PowerPoint presentation. Whether you’re talking about visuals or content, there’s one golden rule when it comes to brand style. Sometimes those changes might be small, like a pivot in certain editorial or style rules. The same holds true for your content’s style. Either they want to be able to select more than five or fewer. In this context, style refers to what your content looks like. If someone agrees to participate, there are some ground rules. -- but if your audience ever believes that about you, it’ll be because you proved it to them time, not because you told them to believe it. Make it only available as a hard copy. Use this free style guide template layout to create a custom brand manual for your startup, small or large company. This is the only exercise where participants will answer from their own perspective, rather than trying to step into the shoes of their personas. We’re not here today to talk about what your message is or to flesh out your talking points. For example, you may want to be perceived as a thought leader in your industry -- who doesn’t these days? In some cases, people create a laundry list of tips, rules, and suggestions for people to follow as they’re crafting content. As you can see in the image above, this is merely an excerpt that links out to a full brand messaging strategy, which is a massive document all by itself. Your content style guide should be as long as it needs to be -- no more, no less. It sets out writing rules that are different from practices adapted to print in order to support the writing principles for Canada.ca. On the other hand, some still suffer from a total disconnect between what they want to say vs. what they’re actually communicating to their audience. 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. Come back to tone pillars when you’re ready to create more organization within the structure of your brand’s tone. Sometimes brands bundle this kind of information together along with visual notes like the ones mentioned above, but sometimes they’re separate. Next, you’ll remind them of the definition for voice and tone ahead of each exercise: Voice: These are all of the attributes of your brand’s personality; it’s what people should always think about your brand as a reflex, without you having to spell it out for them. The style guide features updated direction and new guidance for subjects that weren't around when the last edition was released. “Wait, how is that enough guidance to convey our brand’s voice?”. 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