Your editorial style guide is crucial to the communications side of your business. When it comes to implementing your editorial style guide, it’s crucial that everyone adheres to the style guide, your communications are consistent, and you know everyone is on the same page.
Creating your editorial style guide (sometimes called a language guide) is necessary for any business. However, it’s not something you should do to tick a box in your communications toolkit. Your editorial style guide is something your business needs to revisit and update to ensure it remains relevant.
If you’ve created your editorial style guide (or yours has been lying dormant for a while), here is how you can implement it within your organisation.
I’ve created my editorial style guide; now what?
So, you’ve created your editorial style guide – congratulations! However, it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve made and are happy with your language guide, it’s time to implement it. This is the most crucial step. Ensuring your team follow your style guide is vital for success. You wouldn’t cook a complicated meal without following the recipe, so why would you create a comprehensive editorial style guide and not follow it?
Implementing your editorial style guide is essential for consistent communications across your business and all its touch points. Read on for some tips on how to get everyone on board.
Getting your team on board
If you’ve written the language guide, you might wonder why others aren’t finding it as easy to follow as you are. We’ll give you a hint – it’s easier for you because you wrote it!
When creating and implementing your editorial style guide, Oraco’s Communications Director Jessica Humphreys says, “If you have a small team, it’s best to keep your document to a few pages. However, if you’re part of a large multinational business, for example, the risks and stakes are higher, and there are far more people involved. In this instance, you’re likely to benefit from a more detailed guide.”
When it comes to getting the rest of your team on board with consistent communication and writing styles, here are some tips on how to approach it.
Social media and marketing teams
Your social media and marketing teams will be one of the leading groups using your editorial style guide. As communications specialists, your social media and marketing teams are generally the first line of defence (so to speak) when portraying your tone of voice.
They are the direct link between your business and your target market and interact with them across various platforms. While you may not realise it, your tone of voice extends to how you talk to customers – it’s not just about the copy you put out to market! If your brand’s tone of voice is quite formal, you don’t want your social media team to interact with your customers using slang or casual language.
The social media and marketing teams will constantly use your editorial style guide, so you must ensure they understand all aspects.
Copywriters are the second central team that will use the editorial style guide. They will need as much detail as possible to ensure that the tone of voice is correct and that all copy adheres to company standards. It can also tell them how to write across varying platforms and to different audiences.
Discussing the language guide with the copywriting team can clarify any questions and ensure everyone is on the same page with spelling, grammar, and language technicalities.
Reception and administration team
Although not the primary users of the editorial style guide, reception and administration staff play a significant role in implementing this – probably more than they realise! They often deal with internal and external stakeholders and communicate extensively via email and other online channels. Teaching them how to implement the business’ editorial style guide means your communication channels will become more streamlined and cohesive.
Lastly, sales and customer service teams have a significant role in dealing with external parties. This team often tries to convince customers to buy your product or service. Although they are trying to sell something, there’s nothing worse than being bombarded by someone with a salesperson persona. For this reason, they must familiarise themselves with the editorial style guide for all written communication with customers. This should be something they refer to regularly.
Speaking to your audiences
When you created an editorial style guide, you would have (or should have!) done so with your customer avatars in mind. Your customer avatars (also known as buyer personas) are a semi-fictional, research-based representation of your target customer.
“Why are these personas important to factor into my language guide?” we hear you ask. Well, put it this way – would you speak to your grandma the same way you talk to your 16-year-old cousin? Probably not. While you may only target one of these two audiences, you should write your language guide with them in mind. Think of how you can best communicate with them and make this abundantly clear in your style guide.
Ensuring the teams within your business have a solid understanding of these avatars will make it a lot easier to implement your editorial style guide.
Haven’t created your customer avatars? Click here to download our free customer avatar template.
How often should you update your editorial style guide?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – your editorial style guide isn’t something you should ‘set and forget’. The world is constantly changing, meaning language trends are evolving. More importantly, inclusivity and diversity are something more and more businesses are trying to build into their companies. As the world progresses, your language guide needs to update so you’re not excluding any minority groups.
Want to learn more? Check out our blog on inclusive writing.
When it comes time to implement your editorial style guide, there are various considerations. Your primary consideration should be the business teams dealing with any form of company communication. Whether they send one email a month or interact with customers daily, following the language guide means that all brand communication is streamlined and cohesive.
Are you ready to implement your editorial style guide? Or perhaps you haven’t written yours yet. Wherever your business is at, the team at Oraco are here to help! Send us a DM or get in touch with us today to learn more about creating and implementing your editorial style guide.