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Writers, commit to a style in 3 steps

Copywriters, content marketers, copyeditors. Why is it so important to commit to a style, in any of these professions?

All these positions are responsible for maintaining a consistent brand style. This means that our readership should always sense the same tone of voice throughout our content, whether it comes from multiple writers or just one.

"If content is king, consistency is queen." = An unknown author's edit to Bill Gates' 1996 article Content Is King.

Even if numerous stakeholders weigh in on our work, it is our job to bring tone back to base. Consistency builds trust. Trust helps undecided prospects lean into their preference for your brand.

This why you should commit to one style. Now, how do you go about this on the daily?

Make a style guide.

You might choose to use one of the existing Chicago, AP, APA, or MLA style guides. Most brands adopt one, then document exceptions for certain words or punctuation uses. This should be limited to brand-specific words such as "co-working" vs "coworking" in the case of a communal office building.

A rule might be to never use the word "co-working" at all, as is the case for WeWork, which only defines itself as shared or flexible office space except for SEO purposes. Weigh up exceptions that might protect your brand's definition.

Is this style guide just for you, or your personal brand? You still need to find your voice.

Broadcast your style guide.

Sounds like we repeated a tip? We didn't. You would be surprised how many well-established companies spend months or years perfecting a style guide, then neglect to share it far and wide. Every person at the company needs to know your tone of voice and look-and-feel. They need to know how you talk about your brand.

Run regular sessions to share style updates with the wider team; integrate the style guide into onboarding programming. Moreover, if your team consists of more than one writer, delegate a go-to person for style questions from other teams. This needn't be the most senior person on the team, it can be a valued position of responsibility that you give to a writer who thrives in cross-team collaboration

A person with yellow shirt sleeves types on a computer with a coffee in front of the screen.

Programme your own autocorrect

In an ideal world, you'd have a professional editor to check everything you write. In reality, you should personalise your own autocorrect.

You don't need special coding experience to personalise an autocorrector: online and add-on grammar correctors allow users to turn grammar rules on and off. For you, this might be deactivating passive voice correction when doing technical writing, or adding in phrases that your company uses but dictionaries don't, like "to Uber somewhere".

And that's how to get started! Commit to one style and stick to it with these 3 easy steps. Want to learn more about adopting a style? Try the blogs linked below.



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