The purpose of a style guide is to provide everyone who contributes to your document a set of rules for capitalization, grammar, punctuation – and most importantly – consistency. With a standard guide in place, you can feel confident your document is free of typos and other mistakes.
However, the important thing to remember is that the style guide should be treated as a living document. New people should be trained on it so they know how to properly use it for their own work without issuing any contradictions or errors. It’s important for everyone to have their own style guide because otherwise there would be no consistency anywhere and you would likely deal with frustration all throughout your document’s production process..
In order to provide the best support and maintain a consistent document, you should, at least, read through your own style guide once in a while to check if there are any errors in it or if it is no longer relevant. If a style isn’t consistent, you have to find another way around it by making an alternate version of your document. The purpose of having different versions is so that everyone can have some kind of consistency so they don’t have to constantly fight against contradictions and errors.
Why a style guide is important to your brand?
Having a brand that has a consistent style guide is extremely important, especially if it’s the first impression which everyone gets when looking at your brand:
1- There is no way you are going to convince someone to pick your product/service if they notice there are inconsistencies between all of the different versions of your document.
2- If you have a consistent style guide, you always keep yourself in check and remember that it’s your brand which you’re working on. So if you really want to make sure the brand is properly set up, you have to make sure that all the different text versions you’re producing adhere to its standards.
3- All your new employees will be trained on this style guide and it’s also going to help them fully understand how your product/service works.
4- It will make things much easier for your customers as they will be able to find what they’re looking for even though they’re not familiar with your language.
5- It’s always good to have some kind of consistency from all over the place in order to maintain credibility and trust.
What are the benefits of having a style guide to your business.
Now that you have an understanding of what a style guide is and why it is important lets take a look at the top 9 benefits of having a style guide.
1. Provides a standard for how content should be used.
Standards for how content should be used are great because they help define the uniqueness of your brand and clearly define who you are as a business.
2. Provides a flexible standard for how content should be used.
Having a style guide that is flexible means that you can easily add or change things even though you might not have the manpower to make any changes. Having this kind of flexibility helps with getting things done quickly and getting products out faster as well.
3. Provides consistency across the board which will have customers recognize your brand more easily.
Providing consistency across your brand will allow your customers to quickly recognize it. Having a style guide will help you stand out from all the other companies who are producing similar products/services.
4. Provides consistency and clearly defined brand presence in all your marketing materials.
Having a consistent style guide within each marketing piece helps get your message across much easier as well as ensure that you are always putting forth a similar message across all of your marketing materials.
5. Provides a clear tone of voice for your brand in all your supporting materials.
Having the same voice across all of these supporting materials makes it easier for everyone to understand each other without having to go through each person. It also helps support the greater picture. Your brand, like everything else, has its own voice that needs to be heard and you can do this through consistency within your supporting materials.
6. Helps unify your employees by helping them speak the same language and think in the same way.
Helping your employees speak the same language and think in the same way is a great way to unify them and also help them understand what they are doing. It helps everyone work better together and provides some kind of structure for your organization.
7. Helps keep everyone on the same page by allowing for easy interpretation of concepts or ideas.
When there is a style guide in place, it allows everyone to have an easier time interpreting concepts and ideas because they are all going through the same style guide. This helps everyone work together in a better way.
8. Helps standardize the writing process across your business.
Having a standardized writing process across your business will help make your brand more consistent and give it a sense of uniformity throughout all of its marketing materials which will, in turn, help get your message across better and much easier as well.
9. Help keep everyone accountable for their work by holding writers to particular standards.
Being able to hold writers accountable for their work simply means that it helps them understand what they need to do. It’s very easy to fall into a routine without doing anything and writing is a very easy way to get into that routine. When you have an up-to-date style guide, it helps hold writers accountable for their work which is critical if you want everyone to be willing to do the same thing all the time.
Style guide template
Below is a basic structure of how you should have your style guide set up:
This section is for explaining what the purpose of the document is, who wrote it, and why they wrote it. You can also include a list of all the major people associated with your business as well as the major areas in which they work. Once you have all of those things figured out, you can go on and put together your style guide.
2. How to use this style guide
This section is for laying out what you want the reader to know about this style guide as well as what they can expect from it. You have to make sure that everyone understands exactly what the purpose of the style guide is and how they can use it. It’s very important that everyone has an idea of what they are getting themselves into.
3. Rules & Guidelines
This section is for laying out all of your rules and guidelines throughout this style guide. It should include all of the details about how to use this style guide so that it is very easy for everyone to follow.
This section is for laying out all of the examples you can find in this style guide as well as explaining in detail what they are for and why they are included here. While your key areas are covered in detail throughout this style guide, you need to make sure that your examples are easy enough for everyone to understand, which is why they need their own sections here.
This section is for thanking people for the work, time, and effort that they put into this style guide. You should also include any other acknowledgements of importance throughout your style guide.
This section is for explaining that this style guide is not a rule book and that if you don’t like the way it works, you are free to make your own rules which would also be covered in the next section called “Tips & Tricks”.
7. Tips & Tricks
This section is for helping people out with some helpful tips and tricks that you want to pass along. You can list out all of those things here so you can help guide others on how to use this style guide the way that you want them to.
8. Informative Resources
This section is for linking out to the most relevant information within your resource library so that people who are interested in learning more about anything covered in this style guide will be able to find it easily.
This section is for information about what you used to create this particular style guide in case anyone ever wants to know that. This would help them better understand your style guide and can also help them better understand your brand and exactly how you want things to be done, which is the biggest thing about this style guide.
By using the tips and tricks you found on this article, hopefully you can use your style guide to its full potential and get the most out of it. Style guides are of supreme importance to any large organization and it’s good to know how they work and how you can use them for your organization. I hope you enjoyed this guide, however, if there’s anything that I can do further please don’t hesitate to let me know.