To Avoid Content Chaos
A blog style guide, sometimes referred to as content marketing guidelines or editorial policy, is a set of writing standards designed to keep all communication consistent within a specific document, multiple documents, or an entire organization. In this post, we’ll explain why you need a blog style guide and how to create one.
Why do you need a style guide?
Consistency in style and tone not only projects professionalism, but allows both your writers and readers to focus on content instead of formatting.
A blog style guide can also settle disputes between multiple editors (e.g. whether to use the Oxford comma). Even if you are the only writer of your blog, a style guide can help you remain consistent with your own formatting, something loyal readers will notice and appreciate. If you outsource any copywriting, having a guide is an absolute must.
Things to keep in mind when creating a blog style guide:
Not everyone needs to know all of your guidelines. Keep your own editorial process in mind when creating your blog style guide. For example, if the author does not actually format the post, then create two separate style guides: one for design/formatting and one for writing/editorial.
Keep it simple, especially if you are trying to attract writers to blog for you. Unlike printed documents, blogs are intended to be less formal with a focus on allowing the personalities of individual bloggers to come through. Therefore, avoid creating a guide that is too suffocating.
If you have an editor that proofreads all the posts before publishing, then do not include minor grammar preferences in the style guide for contributing writers.
Every blog’s needs are different, but here is a sample of what you might want to include in your blog style guide:
- Editorial process for your blog – info about deadlines, editors, editorial calendar, etc
- Blog Topics – what topics your blog does and does not cover
- Title Guidelines – length, format, keywords …
- Body Guidelines – lead and closing, voice, length, headings
- General grammar and punctuation
- Use of keywords and SEO optimization
- Images – selection criteria, attribution, formatting
- How to reference your company’s products or services – educational vs. sales
- Any special codes used for common features – callouts, call-to-action, quotes
- Guidelines for links – anchor text, quantity, quality, type
- Categories and Tags
- Instructions for posting – featured images, SEO plug-ins, scheduling
- How to handle comments – on the blog and social media
What do you include in your blog style guide?
How can we help?
Launching a website and need help writing and styling content? Or, are you tweaking landing pages to improve sales conversion?
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