Why You Need a Style Guide
Updated: Mar 10, 2020
If you have a multinational corporation, your company probably issues many internal and external communications. Those communications help solidify your company's brand—they tell people what to expect from you. The problem is that many companies use multiple writers and content providers, depending on the document being written. And those writers have to issue documents for a variety of audiences, some of them international. Having a style guide helps develop consistent communications. Even better, style guides cut back on confusion and miscommunication, saving your company valuable dollars.
What is a style guide?
A style guide is a document that sets out the standards and procedures your company follows when it produces content. This includes everything from the type of font used in communications (yes, some of your audience pays attention to that), to the tone you use, to the style of grammar, to the spelling of certain words, to the look of the documents. The idea is that it can be easily referenced, so when a writer has a question he or she can easily find the answer.
Some style guides are short, one-page documents with just the basics. These are fine for smaller companies that don't issue a lot of communications. But large, multinational companies that constantly publish documents likely need a bigger style guide.
Your style guide should be a living document, so as new questions arise, the answers can be added for future writers.
Why do you need a style guide?
It gives your content consistency. Your communications are your company's voice and to be effective, you need those communications to have a consistent voice. If you have a style guide, no matter how many writers you hire your documents will be consistent. And even if you hire new writers—or expand your business—the style guide will be there to ensure the voice and the brand remain consistent.
It cuts down on miscommunications. A style guide addresses important issues in communications before they become a problem.
It solves international problems. If your company issues communications in multiple countries (or in multiple languages) a style guide sorts out what language—and what style of language—you'll use. For example, are you using British English or American English? Does your company use informal or formal language? Are prices given in US dollars or the local currency?
It saves you time and money. There are countless questions that come up when creating content. Think of all the time your writers probably spend searching for answers to those questions. Having one place to go for answers makes things more efficient.
Style guides improve consistency and enhance your company's professionalism. Even better, they save time and money, and cut down on miscommunications. Excellent reasons to make sure your company has a useable style guide.