9 September 2021

Words & Why: Content Guidelines

If you’re not sure why your brand needs content guidelines, or you’re unclear about the value our content service brings, read on.

What is Content?

A question we get asked all the time is “what is content”?

Content can take on a lot of meanings and it’s become a super popular term. We use content to refer to branded copywriting.

It’s any writing that is ultimately trying to sell something. This can be as obvious as a billboard or as subtle as a web page.

Why Do I Need to Care?

Content infiltrates absolutely everything we do. Because everything involves words. You’d be a fool to think that the words you use to communicate your brand don’t matter.

In fact, the words you use (your content) is the most powerful tool you have.

If all of your competitors also have fast shipping, free delivery, natural ingredients, Australian made icons, 5 star reviews, the best thing ever, then how do you stand out?

Your content.

Content Guidelines

Our main content service is a content guidelines document. This is a manual for how your brand communicates.

The inclusions:

Mission Statement — One sentence that summarises why your brand exists.

About Us — A brief description that details what you do and how you stand out in the market.

Brand Values — Your internal guiding principles that influence external identity and internal culture.

Key Messages — Bite sized lines that demonstrate the best things about your brand.

Tone of Voice — How you sound in communications.

Sample Copy — A sample of how your content would look out in the world. This might be product names, a product description, social caption, taglines or ad copy.

Content guidelines work hand in hand with your brand guidelines, which dictate the rules for your brand’s visuals.

Brand Guidelines = How your brand looks

Content Guidelines = How your brand sounds

Content guidelines are the foundation for every brand. The rulebook for how to communicate. So that anyone can write on behalf of your brand and maintain consistency.

The Importance of Brand Consistency

Consistency is what turns a good brand into a cult brand.

Cult brands look and sound the same at every touchpoint. Whether it’s a shipping email, TV ad, website or Instagram.

When your audience sees that your brand looks and sounds the same everywhere and consistently promises the same thing, that’s when you gain their trust. This is what builds rapport and fosters a dedicated following.

Without content guidelines, your brand will sound mismatched, consumers won’t trust you and it will be impossible for anyone to align themselves with your brand because they can’t be sure who you are.

The Secret Formula to Key Messages

Your key messages are the things about your brand that you want your customers to know.

The formula for this is:

Unique Selling Point + Tone of Voice = Key Message

It’s your unique offerings communicated in a way that will resonate with your audience and make you stand out in the market.

Here are some examples from other brands’ products:

Here are some examples from clients we’ve worked with:

You can see how the copywriting is completely transformed. By investing time, money and effort into your content your offering is totally elevated.

Why Tone of Voice Matters

Tone of voice is hard to talk about. We recognise it when we see it but it’s tricky to describe.

That’s why in our content onboarding sessions we utilise this tool: The Four Dimensions of Tone of Voice.

This is for Uber. They’re not funny. They don’t crack jokes. But they also aren’t without humour.

The casual versus formal tone comes into play with their simple and direct tone of voice. They use conversational language, like talking to a friend, and are really easy to understand. No jargon and no formal language that could be misconstrued.

Obviously Uber is respectful — they have to be by nature of what they do. People are trusting them to supply a safe journey from A to B. You really can’t be too playful with that or you lose trust.

That said, Uber’s sub-brand UberEats is quite different and absolutely cheeky. You can already tell the difference in tone between Uber and UberEats, so you intuitively know the importance of nailing tone.

Uber started very matter of fact but recent campaigns have shown they are more willing to tap into the emotional and inspirational side of copywriting.

You can see how these four dimensions shape how Uber speaks, and we can do the same for your brand.

Summary

Content is essential for every brand. It’s only getting more and more important as everyone is hungry for quality content, often.

Don’t be left behind. Content guidelines are non-negotiable for any brand that wants to stand out and stick around.

Talk to us about content for your brand today.