6/16/2020 0 Comments
Do you use the Oxford comma? Do you publish ebooks? Or is it eBooks? An editorial style guide resolves these questions.
An editorial style guide is a set of rules that help you communicate with your audience in a manner that is consistent and genuine. It defines your voice and tone, outlines standards for sourcing and attribution, and resolves questions about grammar, spelling, language, and other matters of style where there is more than one right answer. It is an ever-evolving reference for writers, editors, and other content creators—including you.
An editorial style guide is a simple set of rules that ensure clear communication.
"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes a human voice to infuse them with shades of different meaning."
~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The written word can capture what you say, but to communicate effectively, you also need to pay attention to how you say it. How you say something—whether over the phone or in writing—matters even more than the point you are trying to convey.
To keep your audience focused on your message, you need to align your message with your editorial style. Use the wrong tone of voice, litter your copy with spelling errors or grammar mistakes, or select a word that just doesn’t fit with your brand, and you’ll lose your audience.
As a consultant, you want to present yourself as smart, capable, solutions-oriented, and trustworthy. Your business voice and tone, along with word choice, will be quite different from a start-up fashion design company inspired by skateboard style.
Five reasons to adopt an editorial style guide for your consulting practice.
An editorial style guide ensures consistency in tone of voice, style, and formatting. It helps you internalize your brand voice and build credibility. More specifically, an editorial style guide:
1. Establishes a consistent voice and tone. Your voice and tone largely determine how your audience perceives you and your business. It infuses your writing with personality.
2. Defines how you use grammar and language. Every writer has a particular style. Your communications must make consistent use of grammar and language.
3. Outlines a consistent format for your written communications. When your formatting is inconsistent, it can distract your audience from your message.
4. Provides a resource to help you resolve questions of style. Questions of style will continue to arise. Research the issue, resolve it, and document it for future reference.
5. Unifies the voices of multiple writers. Each writer will have a slightly different voice. That can be very powerful, provided that it is consistent with your brand’s voice.
The stronger your brand voice, the more influence you have over how your audience perceives your brand. When you show up consistently across channels and platforms, your audience sees you as reliable, dependable, and trustworthy. An editorial style guide helps you build a strong brand voice that amplifies your message.
The Associated Press Stylebook serves as the foundation of our house style guide. It draws extensively from resources published by the Conscious Style Guide. We believe it’s essential to think critically about language. We choose language that is empowering, inclusive, and respectful. We want our audience to see themselves in our words and to know that they are welcome.
If you’re looking for a style guide that helps you use language that is empowering, inclusive, and respectful, download the Catchline Style Guide. Do you have a style guide? If so, how has it helped you build your brand? If not, how have you kept your writing, voice, and language use consistent? Let us know in the comments.