5 Times Your Business Could've Really Used A Content Style Guide

Content Style Guides are nothing new in the publishing industry. Many companies will pass editors and writers a style guide before partaking in any project. These guides are also all the rage in large corporate marketing departments. However, it seems that many small-to-midsize businesses neglect this simple yet powerful document. 

Here are five times your business could've really used a content style guide (and why you need one now):

1. When You Hired That New Writer

Remember when you hired that new team member to write for your business? What a relief...or so you thought... how many hours of training did it take until the writer reflected your tone properly (if at all) in blogs, articles, or e-books? How many back and forth e-mails or revisions?A good style guide will encourage creativity without compromising the brand's voice. Plus, it will save marketing teams, managers, and editors loads of headaches and wasted time.

2. Before You Hired That New Writer  

On second thought, you probably could've used that content style guide before hiring that writer. The written sample you, most likely, requested from the writer pre-hire could've been accompanied by the guide. Not only would the sample then reveal the quality of writing, but it might have showcased the writer's ability to follow instructions and understand your brand's tone. Using the guide to screen these qualities beforehand can help find the best fit for your team. 

3. When You or Your Team Spent Precious Time Finding Just the Right Font

Each company has a special way of doing things. Along with unique procedures and processes comes specific word processing platforms and content management systems (CMS). You know what that means  ... lots and LOTS of fonts, formats, and colors. Having a content style guide to outline the fonts, sizes, formats, and colors of texts per each word processing/CMS platform is a huge time saver. Five minutes spent finding the perfect font for a brochure or web page may not seem like a big deal at the time, but when that five minutes is happening over and over again, it really adds up. Content style guides improve workflow by setting brand standards across all platforms. This omits the need for repetitive questions, and proofing and editing obvious inconsistencies. This will give time back to editors, writers, and content managers for more challenging revisions.

4. When Your Project Got Denied Approval After Spending Time Finding Just the "Right" Font

You've just logged into designing software or application to design your next Instagram post - that's due in 5 minutes. You set the background, add a mind-blowing inspirational quote, and give it one last look-over. You press that publish button. Five minutes later, someone points out that something just doesn't "look right". After a few "second" opinions, you finally put your finger on it - it doesn't match your brand. The colors are not complementary to each other, it doesn't reflect your brand's voice, and the font doesn't match the inspirational tone. Laying out the content guidelines - including colors, fonts, and tones - for social media posts before this moment could've saved you lots of time spent analyzing, comparing, scrapping, and re-doing your posts.

5. The Time You Spent Reading This Post

That's another 5 minutes you won't get back. If you had a content style guide for your brand, you may have never bothered to read this post. But, I'm grateful you did. If you've made it this far down the page, I think we both know you can't afford another second without a style guide.

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