An effective content marketing style guide can greatly improve the chances of your content marketing campaign succeeding. A style guide helps develop the necessary structure needed when working with subjective material like content. These guides provide distinct expectations for creatives to follow while also giving brands the opportunity to sustain moderate control over the creative process.
These controlling factors are vital when working on a content marketing campaign because it allows the opportunity for a marketing manager to scale production while keeping the brand messaging consistent.
Content marketing is only going to continue to grow in 2017 and beyond. Brands are creating more and more content every day, and many of these pieces live off and on the brand’s website. The versatility and growth of content are going to create a greater need for campaign-specific style guides. The content you create on social media will be different than the content you create on your blog or in your emails.
Each of these mediums requires a unique set of stylistic rules. It’s important that each campaign or department has their own style guide. This guide should be a living document that is frequently updated to reflect trends in your industry and on the medium for which it is being used.
Style guides are also important when working with freelancers, vendors, or remote employees. Outsourcing and telecommuting are also trending up, especially in creative industries like content marketing. Having a documented style guide is a necessity when working with employees, vendors, or freelancers that are outside the brand.
A style guide can provide a comprehensive overview of the brand, specifically as it relates to the project at hand. An effective style guide will have high-level summaries of the brand voice and identity, as well as campaign level requirements relevant to that department.
For instance, if you’re working with a designer to create an infographic for your brand, you should provide a style guide that clearly outlines your expectations. This could include brand logo requirements, colors to include/exclude, typeface, and other stylistic elements that will make that infographic consistent with other content-based infographics and brand messaging.
Many brands are facing intense competition online. Not just within industries, but competition for the attention and retention of customers. The most successful brands are ones that can leave a lasting impression in their customers’ minds and are easily recognized when they see a logo, read a message, or hear a tune. One of the best ways to accomplish this brand identity is through careful and consistent branding across mediums and campaigns. Brand style guides help companies accomplish this consistency and are critical tools for content marketers.
Style guides do require time and commitment. Because brands, technology, and consumer trends are always changing, you must make your style guides living documents. Constantly iterate your style guides based on external and internal factors. For other tips on how you can create your own style guide, check out the infographic below created by CopyPress on the importance of style guides.