Editorial Style Guide

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What Is an Editorial Style Guide?

An editorial style guide, also referred to as a writing style guide or content style guide, documents important rules and guiding principles to ensure that a company’s communications are consistent, on-brand, and grammatically correct. A style guide is an essential reference tool that addresses content creation across all mediums and channels, from websites and videos to mobile apps and print collateral. It enables all content creators (marketing team members, partner agencies, and contractors, etc.) to get on the same page by having a common resource for answering any editorial question that may arise.

Examples of What to Include in an Editorial Style Guide

The sections of an editorial style guide can vary greatly, depending on the needs of an organization. But style guides for B2B companies typically include:

  • Basic copy rules for grammar, punctuation, and formatting. For example, specifying the use of the serial comma, when to spell out numbers, or how to format professional titles. An organization’s “house style” often references and builds on the rules from a foundational guide like the Associated Press Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • An alphabetical list of words that define their spelling and treatment, from company product names and branded or trademarked terms to industry terminology and acronyms.
  • The voice and tone for the brand and how best to convey it across mediums.
  • Writing and communication best practices, such as avoiding jargon or passive voice. A style guide often addresses the most common errors or inconsistencies encountered at that company.
  • Web-specific copy guidelines, such as how to treat CTAs or image alt text.

What’s the Difference: Editorial Style Guide vs. Brand Style Guide?

An editorial style guide complements a visual style guide, which establishes a brand’s rules and guidelines for designers, including color palettes, typefaces, logos, icons, images, and document templates used in branded materials. Often, an editorial style guide and a visual style guide are both included as sections of a comprehensive brand style guide.

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