To be great at digital marketing, it takes experience, talent, and consistency. The last one, consistency, is often overlooked. However, the best brands are the ones that are able to build a brand voice and identity through the use of multi-campaign marketing initiatives.
In order to build this brand identity, you need baseline documents that outline the parameters associated with your messaging and subsequent marketing campaigns. These documents are often referred to as brand style guides.
With outsourcing and remote employees on the rise, a well-documented style guide has never been more important. A style guide isn’t going to generate any measurable ROI, but it will help ensure that your campaigns are in line with your core messaging.
Style guides should not just be used for over-arching brand requirements. To be most effective, style guides should be built for each particular department or each marketing campaign. This granular approach to creating style guides will ensure that all parties associated with that department or campaign have the same guidelines and expectations.
The elements of an effective brand style guide will depend on the department for which it is created.
For instance, if you’re looking to build out your company’s blog with multiple authors internally and externally, you may want to include elements like word length, internal linking requirements, external linking requirements, language to exclude/include, and examples of previous articles that you’d like replicate the style. These parameters will give the writer a better idea of your expectations for each article, and will decrease the likelihood of revisions for tone and will also help build a consistent brand voice on your company’s blog.
Creating style guides for digital media are also important. Many designers and developers charge by the hour. Thus, requesting revisions for stylistic purposes like color, layout, or language can lead to unnecessary costs. If you’re able to provide your designer or developer with an approved style guide before they begin a project, you’ll be able to avoid any issues with branding or style.
Creatives will also appreciate the structure that style guides provide. It can be very difficult for writers, designers, or developers to match content expectations. That is because the quality of content is inherently subjective.
However, when style guides are given to the creatives, it eliminates a lot of the subjectivity and provides clear parameters that will keep the content in line with the base requirements of your brand.
Style guides are not just important for content creation, they also play a critical role with the promotion of content and other areas of digital marketing.
Your PR team should have a document that outlines outreach language, your social media team should have a document that gives clarity to what can be posted on your brand’s social profiles, and your link building team needs clarity as to the types of websites you want citing your website.
Style guides don’t just outline your brand’s identity, they also provide boundaries to each department and help you maintain control across multiple areas.
Style guides are becoming more and more important with the increasing use of vendors, the global competition, and the ever changing marketing landscape. If your brand isn’t currently using a documented style guide, then you should strongly consider creating one. The rules and parameters outlined in a style guide will help your employees and customers better understand your brand voice and identity.
The infographic below, from CopyPress, goes into further detail as to why style guides are important. Plus it provides some insight into how you can create your own brand style guide.
Download your infographic here (right click and save)
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