Are Style Guides old hat in a digital world?

style guide old hatIn one of my previous posts I talked about the importance of Style Guides when preparing print documents but is a Style Guide still useful when it comes to the online world and digital communications?

The short answer is Yes – of course!

However, for those that need more explanation, a typical style sheet is a summary of the decisions you have made about how your company express dates, numbers, currency and spelling and so on.

The key here is consistency

Of course it is permissible to have an over-arching Style Guide for all corporate and marketing communications, while also having a different Style Guide or Style Sheet for all your social media – as long as it is consistent and reflects your over-all brand.

Looking professional is important, whether you are writing a business document, a marketing brochure or a blog post. People judge by appearances and you want your audience to focus on what you are saying, rather than getting sidetracked by how many different ways you have written a certain word.

Even in the shortest tweet or text message, you can create confusion by using inconsistent abbreviations or writing styles. Amongst all the confusion the core message of your communication could be lost. You may even upset people if they misinterpret your ‘lingo’. There is a common held belief that all those above 40 still think LOL means Lots of Love. While you are unlikely to use this in your corporate blog, you can see where things could unravel.

Communication is still central to your writing, whether that writing is on a digital platform or in print. A blog or tweet is still representing your company and supporting the overall brand.

Keeping your message clear and unambiguous should be your aim, so that what you are communicating comes across clearly. Check your spelling and grammar, and ensure consistency in how you use words, phrases and abbreviations.

Collating all of this information in a Style Guide makes more sense than trying to remember all the decisions you have made before.

In most companies there is generally a team or a few people involved in updating and contributing to the corporate blog or Twitter. Several people may be writing blog posts or updating the Twitter feed. Keeping your style consistent is a lot easier to do if you have it written down in a central document that everyone can access.

If you would like a Style Guide for your organisation but don’t know where to start, please contact me for further information. Alternatively, why not read my post on Style Guides.

“There is a common held
belief that all those above
40 still think LOL means
Lots of Love”

 

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