Having a content style guide helps you speak to your prospective customers and ensures content is optimized for SEO.
When starting your content marketing program, you need to establish specific content rules, both on a macro and micro level. Simply put, you need to have a content style guide. Things like financial and business objectives start at the macro level, while tone, personality or bullet points are more on the micro level.
If you implement a content style guide for your business, then you are going to be able to communicate with one voice to your target audience.
How to create a content style guide?
There are multiple ways you can create a style guide. You can do it in-house or outsourced to a trusted partner.
Tempesta Media offers a content style guide, also known as a Voice ProfileTM, for its customers as part of its subscription program. Using Tempesta Media, companies can cut their time down by over 95%. With Tempesta Media, you end up spending roughly 5 to 10 minutes filling out a questionnaire. The rest of it is done for you.
If you’re going to create a content style guide on your own, you want to focus on a couple of specific areas:
Personality, tone and voice
One of the main principles of content marketing is to keep your readers engaged. Your content needs to show your brand’s personality in a tone that will connect to your customers.
These include the level of readability that you want to target. Content sentence and paragraph structure are some factors that can affect the readability of your content. A good metric for readability is the Flesch Reading Ease score.
The overall look of your content gives your readers a glance if your article is easy to read. It’s important to use subheaders and bullet points to make content more digestible. An introduction paragraph is important, too.
This is more along the lines of traditional editing where you are defining which method you’re going to apply to all content.
Many companies use the AP style. Tempesta Media uses this style guide as the default option because it closely aligns well with content marketing. Other companies opt to use MLA or other style guide versions, and some even use modified versions.
What happens if you don’t implement a content style guide?
Unfortunately, many companies that are rushing their content marketing program fail to implement a content style guide. When this happens, you end up getting inconsistency in how you present your voice to your prospective buyers and existing customers. The negative impact is worse when you have a team of multiple writers creating content for your organization.
In the short term, it may not have an immediate, negative impact. However, in the mid and long term, it could be an issue.
It also may negatively affect your SEO because content style guides incorporate SEO best practices. For example, if you’re using subheaders, you want to be able to use HTML title tags such as:
- <h2> </h2> – This usually highlights the title
- <h3> </h3> – This reflects the main points of the topic
- <h4> </h4> – This serves as supporting ideas to <h3>
If you don’t have those in place, the search engines are likely to ignore or de-emphasize your subheaders. As a result, your content may not rank as well.
We strongly recommend that content marketers establish a clear and concise style guide for the company. If necessary, you should have one for every persona that is going to be represented within the content marketing campaign. Having a content style guide in place will help you to speak in one voice to your prospective and existing customers while enhancing your SEO.
If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our ebook 100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.
This ebook 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.