If you work with contractors, contributors, or any other creatives to produce content for a blog, then you need to be using a style guide. Many content managers don’t use or even understand how important an effective style guide is. However, when done properly, style guides can provide the specifications and parameters needed to ensure a consistent and uniform brand voice. These guides are especially important to bloggers that work with outside content creators. A well-documented resource helps bloggers maintain control as they scale and expand content creation.
So why are style guides so important?
For one thing, a style guide is a way for you to strategically think about your blog’s voice and identity. Many bloggers are good at creating uniform content alone, but it is often difficult for that same blogger to articulate what exactly sets that blog apart. Physically writing down your blog’s identity into a style guide is a great exercise to help better understand your blog’s unique voice.
A style guide also helps you work with contractors or remote creatives. The gig-economy is growing rapidly and will continue to do so into 2017. This trend means that content managers and bloggers are increasingly using vendors or outside creatives to supplement content creation. By outsourcing content, you’re giving up control and allowing other creatives to impact the blog’s voice. A style guide can help you salvage some control of that voice and provide your outside creatives with distinct rules and expectations. In fact, because content is subjective, many creatives prefer to have more structure and guidelines when creating content as it helps eliminate the need for stylistic revisions.
Additionally, style guides are important when working with different mediums. Many brands communicate with users through blogs, social media, and email. To excel on each platform, you have to create different styles of content. What you post on Twitter or Pinterest might be drastically different than what you say on your blog or in an email. It’s important that you create unique style guides for each platform. By creating these guidelines and parameters across each platform, you minimize the chance of suffering a communication catastrophe. Also, as you strategically build these style guides for each medium, you’ll be able to help build a cohesive brand message and identity that extends across every digital medium.
Creating brand style guides are vital to the success of growing blogs. As you start to expand and scale content creation on your blog and other platforms, keep in mind the importance of effective style guides. Learn more about style guides by checking out the infographic below and reading CopyPress’ whitepaper on the importance of style guides.