Creating a Copy Style Guide For Your Business

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creating a copy style guide for your business

When it comes to building a strong brand, consistency is key. A Copy Style Guide helps you build consistency by creating a rulebook for things like catchphrases, article formatting, brand voice and tone, and favorite emojis. Not to mention how to use your brand name correctly!

The longer I work in marketing and content strategy (10 years now, woo!) the more convinced I become that *every* brand or business owner should have a branded style guide for their copy and written content. They are super helpful for me as a copywriter when I engage with brands. And media partners and influencers love them too! 

What Is a Branded Copy Style Guide?

A Branded Copy Style Guide (or Brand Communications Guide or Brand Copy Guidelines, etc.) is a strategic document that outlines key building blocks of your brand message and provides parameters for optimal usage of your brand “in the wild”. It’s typically a designed PDF or hosted on your website

It strengthens your brand by promoting accuracy & consistency and by acting as a template for anyone who touches your brand, internally or externally. A branded Copy Style Guide helps you:

  • Clarify your message
  • Reinforce your brand values
  • Sharpen and refine your voice
  • Get all employees & partners on the same page when it comes to messaging
  • Unite (or differentiate) the brand look & feel across platforms

All of this results in a digital presence that’s on point and on-brand, every time. 

A Copy Style Guide keeps your digital presence on point and on-brand, every time. 

Keep in mind, some companies will create overarching Brand Guidelines (aka Brand Bible, Brand Style Guide, etc.) which include rules for visual and written aspects in the same document. Visual guidelines may include specs for logo use, and acceptable fonts, colors, and images. A Copy Style Guide can be included within Brand Guidelines or as a standalone document, and focuses more on the messaging and written expression of your brand. 

What Should I Include in My Branded Copy Style Guide?

If you need a brand communications and you’re not sure where to start, I’ve got you covered! The great thing about a style guide for communications is that you can customize it to fit your brand. Some elements it might include are your: 

  • Mission Statement
  • Tagline
  • Key audiences
  • Core Values
  • Brand promise
  • What sets you apart 
  • Description of brand voice and tone
  • We do say/we don’t say 
  • Inspiration word bank
  • Conventions for spelling, punctuation, headlines and emojis!
  • Guidelines for inclusive language relating to gender/race/ability etc.

And so much more. A copywriter can help you determine exactly what needs to be in there based on your pain points, objectives, & how much fun you want to have with it. A guide can be anywhere from a single page to 20 pages or more. In my experience, the sweet spot is 4-6 pages, designed. 

I LOVE working on these high-level, strategy-focused projects…what can I say, it’s the analytical nerd in me. If you’re curious to learn more about what goes into creating a Copy Style Guide, how they can benefit your brand, or if you want some help creating yours, let’s chat!  

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