12 December 2019
Content Styleguide: What it is, Why You Need One and the Top 3 Most Important Inclusions
What is a Content Styleguide?
A content styleguide sets out the guidelines for how your brand comes across in words and in sentiment. It’s your brand’s personality, the way your brand communicates, and why.
Why Do I Need One?
A styleguide is an incredibly valuable asset for your business, as it ensures there is consistency across your whole brand. Remember, consistency breeds trust and quality.
The way your brand uses words to communicate forms its voice and style. If your employees need to emulate that style for social media, emails, advertising, or anything else, it is crucial to have a set of rules to abide by.
A client gets their brand story and thinks, “I love it, now what?”
It also makes your life easier. Can’t think of a caption for your Insta post? Consult the styleguide. Introducing a new employee to the business? Look to the styleguide. Wondering if it’s cool to jokingly reply to a customer complaint? Bring out the styleguide.
How is it Used?
This is a question we get asked all the time. A client gets their brand story and thinks, “I love it, now what?”
It’s important to know when to use what sections where. When it comes to the elements below, these are for internal culture and communication. Sure, you might lift key sentences to use in an ‘About Us’ section or in organic social posts, but ultimately they’re there to shape your brand’s personality internally.
Other aspects of a content styleguide such as Key Messaging is for external communication. Here you can literally take the key messaging examples and post it as [art of a social media ad, or a LinkedIn organic post, or wherever you like. If in doubt, just ask us and we’ll explain how each section is to be used.
Top 3 Most Important Inclusions
1. Mission Statement
The mission statement is a condensed message that clearly explains why the brand exists and what it can do for clients. Here’s an example from a brand story we did for Cell Squared.
2. Brand Story
The brand story is a narrative that epitomises everything your brand represents. Think of it as a long-form version of the mission statement, and not as a history of your business.
A brand story tells your audience who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Discovering who your brand truly is is a journey, and creating the right story is a key part of that.
The values are what your brand holds dear. They drive the communication in an indirect way. Think of them as the reason behind why you do what you do.
Beyond these three inclusions, there are many other aspects of your brand’s content you might want to outline. Mailchimp have their entire content styleguide online, which dives deep into every aspect of their written word style.
A content styleguide might meticulously dictate the rules of written content or convey a general vibe of your brand’s voice, as long as it exists.