Keep Your Brand’s Presence Consistent by Developing Writing Guidelines
An effective content marketing strategy always involves a lot of planning and cross-team collaborating.
As a business, you need to create content that builds brand familiarity. In other words, your current and future customers need to easily identify your content with you, whether it’s text, an image or a video.
Inconsistency gives off the impression that your company is still amateur. Every interaction that a customer has with your brand should showcase consistency by employing the brand values you stand for.
Creating consistent style (that all of your departments stick to), and a consistent level of copywriting, is essential for a strong foundation for your company.
Here’s how to create writing guidelines, and what you may want to include in yours, to boost your content marketing results.
Get to the Point
People have long since lost the patience to sift through mounds of information to find what they are looking for. Your content strategy should reflect that trend.
Your writing guidelines should emphasize the need for factual, useful, and/or actionable content.
Focus on the message you want to convey and avoid adding information that adds nothing substantial to the discussion. Rambling on and on will get your readers to leave, with a slight chance of returning.
If you cannot understand how to get your point across, use examples.
Ask and Answer Questions
Here’s one of the most useful and practical tips of the whole article: Encourage your writers and contributors to ask and answer questions in their content.
Over the years of writing and editing, I have found a few powerful benefits of building your content strategy around a question-answer model:
- Researching niche questions may give you lots of content ideas as question-type queries are easier to relate to than mere keywords.
- Optimizing for popular questions may boost your organic search visibility, because Google is looking for answers to feature in featured snippets and “People Also Ask” boxes
- Questions make content structuring so much easier. I always recommend marking those questions as H2/H3 subheadings. Curatti prefers H3 or H4. This makes content hierarchy clearer and helps readers navigate content so much easier.
Therefore I always encourage to start any content creation process with question research and optimization.
Talk to Your Audience
Understanding the pulse and tone of your audience is an essential part of writing guidelines for any business.
Most business writing is informal to cater to the layman. If your target customer is likely to need help, the best way to help them is to explain things clearly:
- give lots of definitions
- avoid complicated terms
- stick to short sentences and paragraphs
- use one and two-syllable words
It is also worth creating some reference resources for your writers and contributors to access when they are working on your content. This includes:
- A niche glossary of terms (here’s a good example of one)
- A niche FAQ (Google offers a good example)
- A writing checklist for them to follow specific formatting steps (here’s the one I am using)
It is recommended to keep the readability score of your content at around 60-70 (based on the Flesch reading ease test). It is also important because readability is deemed to be one of the SEO factors, so making your content readable may also improve your rankings.
You can run the test online or use the Yoast plugin to test your writers’ score as they write:
Writing guidelines for legal brands, however, tend to be scholarly and professional.
The main writing trick is finding the level of comfort that resonates with your readers while positioning your brand as a knowledge hub.
You can help your writing team to better understand your audience by allowing them access to your web analytics. Finteza is a powerful solution here offering a separate section for your audience demographics:
… as well as detailed insights into what makes your audience click:
It may also be worth integrating Google Analytics with your WordPress blog for your writers and contributors to see some key stats every time the login.
Edit Your Work
A good writer is not always characterized by what they write. Instead, what you take out of your final product defines your writing skills. Good editing can make or break your work.
When writing, most people tend to ramble on whatever comes to mind, intending to break it down later.
Editing is not something that can come naturally. It takes time, effort, patience, and a lot of toughness.
Grammarly is a great help here. I always encourage all of my writers to have it installed. In-build Google Docs’ Grammar Check is pretty solid too. It is able to catch both simple mistypes and stylistic errors. There are many more solid Grammar check tools out there, many of each can be integrated into your WordPress blog:
Employing the proper writing guidelines for your brand can be tricky.
You want to maintain individuality while adhering to writing guidelines.
The fear of staying consistent should not result in stagnation. If you feel like your brand’s writing guidelines do not reflect the values of your brand anymore, consider an upheaval.
Likewise, if you feel your standards are limiting your writers and marketers, set up a meeting with them to discuss possible changes.
Do not become complacent once you find the proper tone for your brand. Keep upgrading and bettering your content.
Your writing guidelines should encourage your writers to brainstorm, collaborate and experiment.
It is worth exploring some content collaboration platforms for your writers to update and motivate one another. ContentCal is a nice option here: It allows you to keep all notes, plans and ideas for your whole team to access and contribute their feedback:
You want to maintain the uniqueness of your brand, without falling short on quality and the tone of your work. The best way to understand the pulse of your audience is by approaching your writing through the eyes of your readers.
- Does your content reflect the tone of your brand?
- Can a layman understand your content?
- Is the information on your brand clear to anyone who has stumbled across your page for the first time?
If you have answered no to any of these questions, it is time to address your brand’s writing guidelines.
Employing informative writing guidelines is important for maintaining the proper tone and content format of your brand. It also keeps the quality of your brand-owned content consistently high.
Featured image: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_hyrons‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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