If you’re wondering what a style guide is or how to implement one in your company, I recommend you browse my last two articles:
Once you’re convinced of the immense value a style guide will bring your company, download your free Style Guide Checklist and start drafting one in your authoring tool of choice (e.g., a Word document).
Develop your style guide overview
At the beginning of your style guide, consider including an overview to explain why you’re implementing a style guide. Writers need to see understand why it’s important to use a style guide in their content development process, especially if it’s a change from their previous process. An overview section is the perfect place to communicate how the style guide supports writers and customers.
The text below is content you can copy and paste into your company style guide when you’re ready to communicate the style guide to writers and stakeholders. Make sure the text works for you—leave out content that doesn’t apply to your company and include what seems most relevant.
How to use this copy/paste content
Blue text indicates where you’ll insert your own information. The italicized text suggests you should include a hyperlink to the information. Feel free to copy and paste the content below for your own company style guide.
Content you can copy/paste
Style Guide Overview
This style guide outlines the writing standards at [Company]. Bookmark this link in your Internet browser for reference as you write. We adhere to the writing standards outlined in the [Microsoft Manual of Style, 4th edition], with a few exceptions, which are outlined in this style guide.
How does a style guide improve content at Company?
- Brand: At [Company], we use specific language when referring to our brand, products, and services to produce communications with a cohesive company “voice.” Our branded communications help customers understand our values and commitment to customer service through every piece of information.
- Consistency: Consistent style, language, and formatting choices help customers understand the visual and language cues that span all documents. Formatting and language inconsistencies cause readers to slow down and can frustrate someone skimming for an answer or learning a new concept. A style guide reinforces dependable and familiar choices in every written piece, which improves understanding as customers read.
- Organization: Each type of document we publish has a predictable structure that is replicated for all documents of that type. When we use predictable structure, customers spend less time trying to understanding variations, and instead, quickly and intuitively find the information they need. This supports efficient learning and a positive customer experience. See the [template repository] for templates you can download and use.
- Efficiency: Each published document includes references, such as hyperlinks to additional resources, tables, or helpful screenshots. When customers have the resource they need at the right time, without navigating away from the original document, they can execute the procedure with efficiency and ease.
- Clarity: This style guide emphasizes clear language and sentence structure. Direct, action-oriented language helps customers understand their role and responsibility within a process. As a result, there is less room for misunderstanding or error. This clear language approach ultimately diminishes the reader’s learning curve and leads to improved performance of the task at hand.
Style Guide Contact Information
For questions or clarification about style guide standards, contact [Contact Name | Contact Email]
Contact me for questions
Through this article series, you learned why you need a company style guide, how to prepare and deliver one in your company, and what language helps writers see the benefits of this change. If you have additional questions or requests for additional content, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to hear about your style guide challenges and successes, so don’t hesitate to reach out.