Consistency is Key: 3 Data-Proven Ways an Editorial Style Guide Can Boost Your Brand and Increase Revenue
by Savannah Lyons, on Aug 31, 2021 10:50:57 AM
Here’s the thing: branding your company is both an art and a science. It’s an art because it should be intuitive, emotionally driven, and exists to connect with your audience. Branding is a science because, in order to create a beautiful brand that’s effective, you need data-proven strategies to support it.
Developing an editorial style guide for your brand is one seamless way to bridge the gap between art and science.
Besides the promising statistics that come out of having an editorial style guide (we’ll get to those momentarily), it’s crucial to have this resource for your employees and any new team members who come on board. It allows you to ensure that your brand is consistent everywhere—from your social media posts to your weekly blog feed. And consistency is key.
Let’s look at three data-backed ways an editorial style can support your brand, grow your audience, and ultimately boost revenue. But first...what even is an editorial style guide?
What is an editorial style guide?
An editorial style guide is established rules and guidelines for the writers of your brand. The same way your color palette and logo have do’s and don'ts, so too should your writing!
What should you include in your editorial style guide?
When it comes to preparing a style guide, here’s a high-level overview of what you should include.
- Establish a baseline. Choose a stylebook—most prefer the Associated Press Stylebook—and let that be the compass for your copy.
- Identify your voice and tone. Your brand’s voice and tone are some of the most important assets in an editorial style guide. It directs your writers on what to say, how to say it, and where to say it. From tense to point of view, there is quite a bit to cover you could cover in this section.
- Specify internal and external language (jargon vs. client-friendly language). Because you’re so close to your product or service, it’s easy for you to slip some industry jargon that may leave your target audience confused. Nip that in the bud by identifying what those terms are and finding a more client-friendly way of saying it. Remember: if you confuse, you lose.
- List formatting guidelines. Besides the fact that you want this consistent for clarity’s sake, you always want it consistent for Google—or SEO’s—sake. The simple truth is that a webpage that’s properly formatted is going to receive more clicks. More clicks mean more leads. More leads? I think you see where I’m going.
Believe it or not, correct writing and grammar aren’t always black and white. Personal preferences can arise when writing copy, and if it ventures away from another one of your writers, you have a case of inconsistency. Using a frame of reference like an editorial style guide allows you to create a baseline for your brand to build upon.
How can an editorial style guide help your business grow?
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: consistency is key. The brain can detect inconsistencies in your brand, which is why it’s so important to have systems in place that prevent them from happening. Excitingly enough, there are even more ways that an editorial style guide can help your business grow—with the facts to prove it.
1. Consistency is memorable.
Customers are attracted to what’s familiar. For your brand, that means key colors, consistent language, and an authentic voice.
Think for a moment about your favorite commercials and what you think of them for. Is the choir singing “Liberty Mutual”? Or the voice of the neighbor who spends all day in his garage for Home Depot?
Rember, language is only the beginning for creating a memorable brand. Remaining consistent with your colors as well has been shown to improve brand recognition by 80%.
Actionable ways to start being consistent today:
- Set your brand guidelines—font style, images, all of it.
- Neatly organize your assets by channel. We like Dropbox.
- Repurpose your content! Not only does this allow you to work smarter instead of harder, it naturally helps reiterate your brand.
2. An authentic strong brand personality builds trust.
How do you build trust for your brand? The answer is two-fold: be transparent, and do what you say you’re going to do. Companies that show empathy and put actions behind their words are those with personalities consumers are more likely to trust. In fact, one survey found that 81% of respondents said it was important for them to purchase from brands that shared their values.
- Spotlight your employees and company culture—people connect with people, not businesses.
- Highlight your charitable work and donations—show the values you care about and why.
- Speak directly to your audience on social media—yes, have a conversation!
3. Trust and consistency boost revenue.
It’s true. The State of Brand Consistency by Lucidpress shows the average increase attributed to presenting the brand consistently, estimated by those organizations with brand consistency issues, is 23%.
Where does this get tricky? Having the same brand identity across all channels. This goes back to the essential nature of a style guide. For ways to be successful and streamlined on all channels, answer these questions:
- Who is your audience? Boomers or Zoomers? These two generations have vastly different vocabularies. It’s imperative that you speak their language wherever it is in their journey that you meet them at.
- What media are you using? Video on TikTokr or long-form content on LinkedIn? Content and context go hand-in-hand when choosing the tone.
- What is your goal? Discussing a new product is going to have a different tone than sharing how-to tips. Think about the tone you would have if verbally sharing and let that help guide your tone.
There are many moving pieces to building a successful brand. An editorial style guide is one way to help do just that.
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