If you’re the type of person who talks to their pets (our kind of people!) you’ll know that how you say something matters even more than what you say. And it’s not so different for humans, especially when you’re competing in the saturated marketplace of the digital age. To stand out, you’ll need to be discerning with your vocabulary, have a strategy behind your sentence structure, know when to break the grammar rules we learned at school, and when to lower your voice.
Think of your style guide as a little book of dos and don’ts for navigating everyday interactions with your audience. A good one will streamline your messaging across various channels, bring your brand’s personality to life and increase brand recognition and engagement.
A style guide helps your personality shine
Getting deep into the DNA of a brand gives us writers a thrill that few other things do. You already have it, it’s just about tapping in. The way you answer the phone, your email signature, your handshake (remember those?) give subtle hints to your audience about the type of company they’ve encountered. And whether they choose to make a purchase, click “follow” or store your brand in the back of their mind until they become a billionaire, are all influenced by cultivating a strong and attractive brand.
You’ll stand out from your competitors
This is important because people don’t buy products anymore. They buy into concepts that resonate with their view of the world and that represent some part of their identity. This means that subtleties in language, using “this word, not that word”, and speaking to your audience in their own words are important. When we start creating your style guide, we’ll drill down to find out who you really are as a company. What is the ‘good’ that you do? Who is your ideal customer? What is your brand like when it gets drunk? It all helps.
It defines your audience
A style guide will also help you to get really clear on who you’re talking to. It might sound obvious, but a fundamental of great copywriting is remembering that you’re a human being communicating to another human being. Ever noticed how attempts to sound overly professional ironically comes across as amateur? Audience analysis will ensure you’re striking the right tone with potential customers. It should detail the level of jargon they’re comfortable with, how colloquial the messaging should be, when to use personal pronouns and more.
Your communications will be cohesive
If you’re running a website, social media channels, ad campaigns and a host of offline marketing activities, it’s easy for your messaging to differ, and therefore be diluted. Remember that different spellings of the same words, intricate subtleties in British and US English, and inconsistency in active and passive voice are damaging to your brand.
Giving anyone writing for your brand a guide to follow creates a unified and powerful voice. It should inspire your writers to coax personality out of your communications at every opportunity.
Your content types will make sense
Should you start a TikTok? Certain brands probably shouldn’t! Your style guide should outline which channels, content types and formats make sense for your brand positioning. This means that you can spend more time and money focusing on effective communication that delivers results.
Ultimately, produce higher quality content
A well-thought out style guide is your road map to better content. Keep in mind that search engines are becoming increasingly accurate at identifying high quality, well-written content and will use it in determining your search engine ranking. The team at EdenFrost are experienced copywriters that know the value of a winning style guide, and are only too happy to get started on yours. It’ll be fun, we promise.