Magazine and Style Guides and Why They Work
Did you know that the current number of employed business owners in the US is greater than 700,000? Additionally, the industry that pays business owners the most in the US is the retail industry. Business owners are also highly likely to work in companies that are private as opposed to public ones.
If you’re one of the many business owners in the US, you might feel stressed about how to brand your business so that it’s professional and successful. Fortunately, magazine and style guides can help.
In this article, we’ll review what magazine and style guides are and why they work.
Finally, you can use these guides to help you make your content better than ever. As a result, your business branding will be more successful and professional than ever. Read on to learn more.
What Magazine and Style Guides Are
If you’re asking yourself the question, “What is a style guide?”, we’ll answer that question here. A style guide—whether it’s being used for a magazine or other publication, an editor, or a business—is a document that helps a company guide, reference, and define its style.
Do you have documents in your company that you use to guide your visual branding? For example, that demonstrates to people creating content for your company your brand’s colors and logo.
Your company’s visual branding documents might also go into how to use your various images and marques. For example, they might show content creators what clearances and minimum sizes to use.
A style guide is similar—except that, instead of providing guidance for which images to use and how to use images, you’re providing writers with guidance on how to write for your brand.
The people who use a style guide, in a business context, usually include those who are in communications or marketing roles. Bloggers, for example, might use a style guide to understand how to better write articles for your business.
But anyone using a form of communication and representing your business should use a style guide. For example, if there’s someone on your sales team who sends an email to a prospect, they should follow your style guide.
As for a magazine-style guide, this is a style guide that magazines provide to their writers and editors.
The Importance of a Style Guide
If you’re wondering why you need a style guide, we’ll go into that here. For one thing, the purpose of a style guide is that the writing your business produces will be consistent. Whether it’s a blog post, an email, or web copy, your writing will feel consistent.
By making the writing consistent, you’ll be reinforcing the brand of your business in a way that’s thought-out and specific.
Inconsistencies cause problems like distracting the person reading the content or making it seem like your company is a little careless. But with a style guide, your company will come off as professional.
Every single word your company produces will be punctuated properly, considered, and thoughtful. Additionally, it will make it easier for your writers and anyone else doing your business’s communications to do their job.
Why Style Guides Work
There are various reasons style guides work. First of all, they make it possible for you to identify or decide what your business’s written style is, which is an important part of demonstrating to your customers what your brand is—as well as your company’s mission and personality.
This will be powerful in terms of branding because it will further reflect, along with other branding choices such as your logo, colors, and font use, what your brand is. Whether it’s corporate, casual, or a mix, this will help represent it.
You Can Engage With Your Customers Better
Another reason style guides work is that they make it possible for you to engage with customers better. This is because when you’re developing your style guide, you’re thinking about what type of writing style will most likely be effective for your customers to read.
For example, say you run a business that serves lawyers. In this case, your style guide would likely say to include professional language and capitalize certain legal terms.
Additionally, it might include certain punctuation or grammatical practices that are more common in the legal industry. As a result of aiming your style toward your audience, you’ll engage with your customers better.
You Can Make Your Company Jargon Consistent
Something that can make a company look unprofessional is having company jargon that isn’t constantly spelled the same way. For example, if you have a product that has a hyphen in its name, and you sometimes spell it out that way but other times you don’t, this will look bad to customers.
However, by creating a style guide, you can easily make any company-wide jargon consistent. Additionally, if there are any industry jargon terms that are inconsistent, you can choose one way to go with these.
This is relevant when it comes to more than spelling. Sometimes, there are different ways to refer to different terms.
For example, when referring to an organization, some in your industry might use an abbreviation while others might use the entire name of the organization. Choose one of these to make these terms consistent, too.
You Can Provide Guidance to New Hires (And Contractors)
When a company brings on new hires who create content, it can be easy for them to create content that doesn’t match up with the company brand. This can be especially the case when it comes to written content, which can be challenging to make consistent.
Fortunately, with a style guide, you won’t have to deal with this problem as much. While new hires might have a few questions here or there, they’ll have a good idea about which terms, grammar, and style to use.
As a result, you won’t have to spend as much time reviewing their writing before they send off any communications.
The same goes for contractors. If you have a team of contractors creating content for your company, it will be much easier for them to write high-quality content for you from the start if you have a style guide.
You Can Draw Inspiration From the Best
Another reason style guides work is that it’s possible to base them on older, tried-and-true style guides. For example, many companies and magazines will use style guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associate Press handbook.
You could potentially choose one of these and simply follow it. But if you want to have a style that’s more specific to your company, you can also use one of these as a starting point.
Whatever you end up doing, by drawing inspiration from a handbook that’s already established, you’ll have a professional style for your business. Additionally, it will be a little less work to put your style guide together!
You Can Choose the Right Language
Even though it might seem like there’s an easy answer here, choosing the right language for all your content can actually be tricky if you don’t have a style guide. This is because, when it comes to English, there are a variety of versions you can use.
If your company only caters to American clients, this is less of a worry. However, if you cater to various clients, you need to decide which version of English you’ll be using.
Your English style might vary by client. For example, for Australian clients, you might use Australian English. It’s important to note, however, that there are some organizations that use a combination of English types.
For example, an international company that operates in Europe and the US might use both UK and US English in different situations. With a style guide, you can make it clear to your company which language you’re using.
A company might also operate in a second language, such as Spanish. In this case, it must make clear which dialect of the second language it’s using.
It’s also important to note any language that could potentially be misconstrued or seen as offensive or awkward when using a second language. This and more relating to the second language could also be included in the style guide.
Want Help Putting Together a Style Guide?
Now that you’ve learned what magazine and style guides are and why they work, you might want help putting together a style guide for your business. In this case, you should look no further than 46Mile. We’re experts when it comes to style guides.
We also offer a variety of marketing services. These marketing services include web development, digital media, traditional media, and more. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today.