Anytime you have more than one person writing content for your company or brand, you will need content guidelines. Let’s face it, everybody types and thinks differently, so the content of each individual will be just that… individual.
Content guidelines spell out the rules people should follow when they create content for your organization. These are partly instructions and partly advice. It will inform everything they need to know about how to be consistent when it comes to creating content for your company.
The branding of a company is arguably the most important aspect when it comes to recognizing and remembering. There may be a specific way you talk about the company, products or services, you may have a tagline you want in every piece of writing, you may even have logos or key messages you need to be integrated into every piece of content. Making sure each writer knows the brand well is super important for this reason.
Good content guidelines will always talk about a target audience, who your brand is aimed at and how to advertise in a way to get their attention.
Therefore, making sure all your writers know who you are trying to resonate with is key. Give them tips in the guidelines of how to attract the specific audience and list details of how to create content that will relate to them.
Do's and Don’ts
This may seem like an obvious one, but it is just as important. Giving a list of do’s and don’ts will give your writers a clear message on how you want your content to be.
Do you want your full company name written down every time it is mentioned, or do you want it shortened? Do you want a tagline on every piece? Do you want sophisticated words or simple to read? There are several questions your writers will have that they will need clear and consistent answers to, so a do’s and don’ts section would save a tremendous amount of time.
A style guide also sets the rules for more practical matters of writing, such as rules of capitalizing the headings, tone of writing- relatable and fun, or authoritative and educational.
You can also include rules about your preferences for font, colors, media style, whether you want your content to be bright, colorful, eye-catching, or minimalist, conservative.
The style guide is the more fun section of the content guideline, it is where you get to express your own and your brands’ uniqueness.
A couple of extra things to think about when making a content guideline are things like:
- Graphic style examples: Give examples of the types of photos and images you want in your content.
- Email signature formatting: Would you like any emails signed with signatures or names?
- Brand mission and vision statement: How you would like your brand to be represented and the overall message.
- Sample ads: Give examples of brochures and collateral material.
- Internal storage: Have one specific place all thoughts, ideas and images can be stored.
Overall, content guidelines are imperative when it comes to owning a company. Writing great content clearly, in plain English, and optimised for the web helps people understand and find the information they need quickly and easily. These rules will play a critical role in making sure everyone is working to the same standard.