Most marketers, business owners, and professionals understand that there is a need for consistency within the content you are publishing. Consistency in voice and tone should not only apply to your business blog or content offers — it should inform your brand's message, voice, and tone for every piece of content you publish.
More often than not, consistency in a brand's voice and tone is lost within the silos of the organization. Creating a voice and tone style guide for the organization to utilize is a great way to provide a foundation that will ease your content development process.
When you are looking to streamline content or develop a winning content marketing strategy, there are a few elements you must include in your tone and style guide.
Thought leadership: The way in which you would like the general public to view your organization's products and services. This is also a great place to include your editorial mission statement.
Readers’ thoughts: Put yourself into the reader's shoes and define how they might feel when searching for your particular article. Include your best guess as to what their common questions, pain points, and preferred means of consuming content.
Writing tips: This is the place to include any styling tips, examples, priorities, questions, language, and consistency your brand wishes to maintain in these areas.
Questions to ask prior to writing: Why are you writing the piece? How does the piece further business goals? How do you plan to provide further information, learning resources, or related articles?
Why you are writing: Identify why your content marketers, copywriters, and developers are creating content. What goals are you trying to achieve with your content?
Topics: Include your set of pre-established topics to keep your content on-brand, interesting to your target audience, and beneficial to your business goals.
In order to begin, the style guide should have a direction. This can look a bit different between different businesses and industries, but is still imperative to include. Your brand messaging strategy should guide all content marketers, bloggers, social media managers, and anyone creating content for your organization to present your brand message in the appropriate way. Highlight your content niche, and decide how your content topics should be presented to your target audience.
Once you have established your baseline brand messaging you can jump into the criteria for each of your content pieces. This can take many forms depending on what your content is developed to achieve. Some variables include: Where in the sales and marketing funnel will be introduced to the website visitor? How should the content be presented?
With all of the constant changes to SEO, it is a good idea to stick to what your company does best. Create a guide that is well thought out. Includes all of the necessary elements needed to produce the perfect content. Take some time to understand your brand.
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