How to create a content marketing style guide

Enhance your Brand Engagement with a Content Marketing Style Guide


It’s easy to forget that marketing is a multi-level process that incorporates elements like research and advertisement. To ensure that this process goes smoothly, it’s important to have a step-by-step guide that tracks the specifics of your campaigns. This is exactly where a content marketing style guide comes in.

Style guides are crucial to promote a continuous brand experience for your customers, allowing them to recognise your products by a mere glance. It allows your audience to experience the same underlying traits that are consistently synonymous with your brand.

A content marketing style guide is a fixed set of standards that ensure unchanging company branding. These guides reference factors like grammar, tone, colors, and visuals, among others.

This document ensures that everything associated with the brand has to follow a fixed structure. But is it as easy to make as it seems? This blog will discuss the importance of a style guide for your brand and provide tips to create an efficient guide.

How does a content marketing style guide help your business?

Putting out a well-defined marketing style guide makes it easier for your team to create consistent content. All things considered, one question remains: Is it worth creating a marketing style guide for your brand?

Here’s how a marketing style guide helps your organization:

  • Speaks to the audience through your brand, influencing their decision to interact with your brand.
  • Provides a consistent experience for your customers, helping them stay loyal.
  • incorporates the best practices present in the industry with brand-specific alterations.
  • Enhances the overall content you release for the audience while also providing a reliable way to document your approach.

How can you create your own content marketing style guide?

Perhaps the most critical part of your entire process, a marketing style guide can make or break your campaign. As a result, brands often bring experienced professionals on board to create an effective guide.

Here are some ways in which you can create your own content marketing style guide:

1.Define your target audience

As the market becomes more diverse, your buyer personas are bound to change and become complex. It is not possible to market to multiple groups at once with this inconsistency.

So, you need to accurately define your target audience before you begin with your content. To achieve this, you can study groups based on specific criteria and conduct some light research to get an idea of their spending habits. You can go also deeper and analyze studies on individual personas.

For instance, Nike specializes in sports apparel and accessories. Due to their durability and quality, the brand knows that individuals with disposable income can afford their products, allowing them to market their products with the promise of motivation, specifically targeting young and aspiring athletes.

2.Stick to an objective

Now that your target audience is clear, it is time to find out how well you know your brand. It is important to remember that your brand may not always fit the vision you had for it initially.

In fact, the audience’s perception of your brand creates a set brand identity. You can ask some basic questions to clearly define an objective for your company:

  • What is the brand’s purpose?
  • What does my product have to stand out among a sea of competitors?
  • Does my brand stand for anything?
  • Who are my competitors? What do they offer that I lack?

If you answered these questions with minimal hesitation, congratulations! You have a clear and concise idea of your brand’s purpose. The audience is believed to relate more to brands that feel authentic while dishing out their content.

An excellent example of this would be Mailchimp’s style guide. The guide is specially curated for the employees, and has well-defined objectives that the company aims to achieve.

content marketing style guide example mailchimp

3.Rely on research backed up by credible sources

The internet has a sea of information, but that does not mean that all information is a hundred percent accurate. You must ensure that your research is backed up by reputable sources.

On the other hand, relying on multiple sources might prove counterproductive since you may appear confused. Choose a widely credited source to support your structure.

For instance, you can use universally accepted sources like Oxford for all your grammar and spell-check needs.

3.Decide on your voice and tone

The audience’s perception of your brand will depend significantly on your tone and voice. It will also depend on your audience’s needs and how your brand can deliver.

The voice can be casual, formal or encompass a variety of slang if your products are targeted toward the younger demographic of the population.

Furthermore, your brand voice is instrumental for the audience to associate your brand with a personality. An excellent example to understand the concept of tone would be Skype. You are probably familiar with the video calling app, and its reach worldwide.

Skype aims to incorporate a casual and friendly tone in its style guide by allowing readers to view it like a comic strip. The company uses hand drawn figures to make the document interesting and ensure that it does not appear like a word-heavy document.

The guide also aims to promote Skype’s user-friendliness with scribbled words that provide a more personal touch. Their tone and voice guidelines are set in stone, with the brand emphasizing on a solid blue speech bubble with white text for all primary keywords.

4.Put Your best creative foot forward

Before making a guide, remember that you do not want to make it tedious to read., Infuse the guide with a dash of your creativity with elements like visualization of data and illustrations to make it more engaging.

Visual content is believed to be better retained by an average viewer. Hence, the more images and infographics you add to your guide, the better.

You can add witty comparisons and enhance the overall quality of your guide. After all, this guide is the holy grail for the marketing department and should be prepared as such.

For example, Ollo, a mental health tech startup, has infused its style guide with a perfect combination of text and images. It catches your attention with its vibrant colors and every page in the style guide introduces you to the brand identity using attractive images.

content style guide handbook

5.Generate excitement for the release

If you successfully complete all these steps, pat yourself on the back!  You have created an efficient marketing style guide. Unfortunately, your work is still not over. You might ask, what could possibly be remaining?

The release, of course! In fact, it is not enough to give this much-coveted document a bland release. It is important to take inspiration from the numerous campaigns that your company has launched and incorporate the same for your style guide.

Firstly, create a buzz around the release of this document. You can either use a short and dedicated promotional campaign for the launch or keep it low-key but noticeable by involving every employee in the process.

Using this strategy gives your style guide a more personal touch, and makes people feel included. Ultimately, highly engaged teams produce better output and display greater profitability.  Put together a successful campaign, and your style guide will be the talk of the office!

What are some useful resources to create a style guide?

Historically, there have been some standard formats used for creating style guides. Even so, it is important to remember that the rules in these guides aren’t set in stone. You can devise your own way of structuring your style guide.

What these pre-existing guides do is provide you with an idea of how to get started. Some of the most popular books utilized are as follows:

  • The Associated Press Stylebook has a set of rules to prepare a style guide for news media. Most importantly, this book is known for containing commonly accepted journalistic standards for usage, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style is filled with writing standards employed in commercial and academic publishing.
  • The Modern Language Association Style Manual has widely accepted guidelines for formatting and citation, especially relevant in scholarly writing and manuscripts.
  • The Elements of Style was written in 1918 and emphasized the relevance of clarity and simplicity. Later, the guide was revised by EB White to make it more relevant to current standards.

Make a stellar guide today!

A marketing guide allows you to be liberal with your content while still covering all the relevant points. You can create one and keep updating it as trends change, and your company evolves.

Try making your own marketing style guide now that you are aware of all the elements it contains. After all, the content you put out reflects the overall image of your brand.

However, content marketing can be tricky. But with the advent of dedicated organizations like WrittenlyHub, digital marketing is no longer away from your hands. Connect with us to build your brand’s presence in the market through careful brainstorming and detailed analytics!

So, get out there and use our insights to create a stellar guide now!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I create a content guide?

A content guide is primarily concerned with the elements you use for your writing. As a result, you can create one by defining your brand parameters, like the font, language and tone you want your content to follow.

2. Why have a content marketing style guide?

A content style guide allows you to have a uniform structure throughout all the content that your brand releases. Moreover, it also offers the following additional benefits:

  • It allows you to communicate with your audience by putting them first. Their needs and feedback can further allow you to enhance the quality of your content and speak to them.
  • A well-put guide lets you filter out the best practices in the industry and incorporate them.
  • It gives your brand consistency, allowing people to recognize your content immediately.

3. How do you write a style guide?

To ensure that you create an effective style guide, you must first decide how you want your brand to be perceived. Based on that, you can set the tone and the graphics that will be synonymous with your brand. Further, the same consistency should be followed when you market your brand to your target audience.

4. What is a content marketing plan?

A content marketing plan outlines your strategy for creating, publishing, and managing content to achieve specific business and marketing goals. It identifies target audiences, content types, distribution channels, and key performance indicators. Essentially, it’s your roadmap for how content will be used to engage customers and drive growth.

5. What is the difference between a brand guide and a style guide?

A brand guide dictates how a brand presents itself to the world – its personality, tone, core values, and visual identity (logos, color schemes). A style guide is more specific to content creation, focusing on the standards for writing style, tone, and formatting to maintain consistency in communications.

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