How to build a strong brand voice? The style guide series (Part 1)

In one internet minute, we send over 450,000 tweets. We post more than 45,000 Instagram photos and perform more than 3.5 million searches on Google. In one internet minute, in the US alone, we gorb over 2,5 million gigabytes of data. 

The e-buzz keeps on growing, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get one’s message through. Having a consistent voice across channels and platforms is vital to grab attention and evoke trust. 

Today, content production is scattered across many writers—outside freelancers most of the time. How do you ensure your unique voice remains consistent? Enter style guides.

What is a style guide?

Your style guide is your number one tool for content creation. It’s your source of truth when it comes to editorial disputes. It tells your writers what tone you want to use with your customers and how this tone translates into words.

What’s the difference between a style guide and a grammar book?

Grammar books set out rules on writing, most of which are unambiguous. But there are many cases where grammar books themselves differ in opinion. 

Is ending a sentence with a preposition wrong? Some grammarians say it is; others are more lenient. 

What about starting a sentence with a conjunction? Our 5th-grade teacher would be furious, but the honest answer is: it depends.

Grammar books talk about rules, while style guides talk about options or choices. You need to define which ones to adopt and have your content team stick to them. It’s the only way to make sure a plethora of writers will produce pieces that convey the same brand voice.

Can’t I stick to established style guides like the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style?

We swear by them and keep them on our work desks, too. These reference style guides are a great way to start. They will help you set the foundation: Things like the punctuation style, capitalization, and dates and numbers. 

But to get your unique brand voice through in your writing, you need to add your own guidelines on top of them. Will you allow the use of emojis? What will your humor be like: tongue-in-cheek or deadpan? These are things no reference style guide can decide on your behalf.

What else should I include in my company style guide?

We’ll help you with that. You have a few days to fetch that dusted Chicago Manual off your shelves and have a go at it. Come over next week, when we’ll show you how to compile your brand’s style guide.

 

If you want to know more about localization, check out our recent posts HERE.