In your blog, consistency in formatting is just as important as information accuracy if you want to establish yourself as a knowledgeable, prepared leader in your industry.
How’s your content marketing going? Maybe readers are lapping up every word, or maybe they’re only intrigued for about 30 seconds. You can tweak tons of factors to boost interest in your content, and consistency in formatting and brand voice are two that many companies overlook.
But it might be time to give consistency a second glance. Readers expect it of you, and it can bring in up to 23% more revenue. Let’s consider the difference consistency makes and how you can achieve it.
Why does consistency matter?
Consistent formatting in your content is vital because:
- It boosts your credibility. A cohesive style tells readers your company cares about the details.
- It keeps readers focused on the message. Inconsistency is distracting. When writing and editing are done well, readers aren’t thinking about the text on the page, only the ideas it conveys.
- It builds trust. Your audience will encounter your brand about seven times before they take action to buy. A company voice or personality that’s consistent across all your content draws them in by creating a sense of comfort and familiarity. It makes your audience feel they know your company and what to expect from it.
The easiest and best way to drive consistency across all your content is to devise a style guide.
How does a style guide help with consistency in formatting and voice?
A style guide gives writers and editors guidelines to follow so everyone is on the same page. It outlines both the technical aspects of writing and voice traits. Everyone enjoys a streamlined work process when questions about content writing are answered before they’re asked.
A style guide also keeps your organization fresh and modern. If your writers are still typing two spaces after a period or capitalizing “internet,” readers may wonder whether your company is outdated in other ways, too.
Finally, a style guide shows audiences they matter by ensuring all your content speaks to them in their own language. When marketing to business executives, you’ll want to write short, direct content at a college reading level, not 2,000-word litanies with a flowing, poetic tone. If you’re selling products for babies, your content should speak authoritatively to reassure parents, but keep things simple — they haven’t slept in months.
With a style guide, the shy guy with the literature background, the funny grandma who used to write for the local paper and the recent college graduate kicking off an editing career can all win over your target audience.
How often should I update my style guide?
Not to dodge the question, but how often you update your style depends on your industry. Some industries evolve faster than others, but a good standard is to review it at least once a year. Here are a few more times to give it another look:
- When your company undergoes big changes, like expanding to a new market.
- When the surrounding culture changes. For example, AP Style recently updated its style guide to capitalize Black when referring to race.
- When the style guide it’s based on changes, such as if your guide is modeled after AP Style.
Consistency in formatting, brand voice and tone can help your company tower above the rest and achieve its business goals. A regularly updated style guide is the blueprint for well-built, consistent content that earns readers’ trust.
There are many components to a strong content marketing program that captivates your audience. Consistency in formatting and voice are two crucial pieces that are, unfortunately, often overlooked. By giving these factors adequate attention and working to achieve a solid foundation for your content, you will see reader engagement (and revenue) increase.
If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our e-book 100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.
This e-book will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.