Three in a Series of Four
Style Guide Creation and Updating: Timing Matters
We have identified how a Content Style Guide is unique, but it’s also important to identify when you need to create a Content Style Guide and how often you should update it. Obviously the best time to create a Content Style Guide is at the early stages of considering content for your website.
However, for most companies this is not practical as their website is already filled with content from various sources and of varied quality. Many companies use the launch of a new product, restructuring of staff (such as a new Marketing Director) or the refresh or overhaul of a website as a time to get organized and create a Content Style Guide.
No matter when you decide to create a Content Style Guide, it’s essential to make it a priority and put someone in charge of the document and the process, preferably someone who is empowered to make decisions without consulting half the company. Those responsible for creating the Style Guide need to look at all the content on the site and think about the way they want that content gathered and displayed and then document those guidelines, giving specific examples of the standard way of doing something and any exceptions to the rule.
For example, if you are a resort and you want all your bar hours, locations and specialties listed on one page, clearly indicate how you want the Bar names displayed (bold, all caps, italics) how the hours will be listed (are you spelling out the days of the week or using abbreviations) and how you want the specialties listed (as bulleted items or in paragraph format).
It’s necessary to work on a Style Guide when developing any new content initiative as that is when questions arise, needs change and standards are most easily developed and enforced. Then, as things settle down, remember to update the Style Guide at least quarterly. Don’t let it become a “dusty” document; it should be a living/working document that guides those responsible for updating the content on your site.
Joey Hall – VP Content Marketing
If you would like to learn more about how to create a digital Style Guide for your organization, please call us at 864.241.0779 or email [email protected].