Include abbreviations that your audience uses in your metadata (for example, in the description field) to help search engines find your page more easily. Description metadata field: The description metatdata is the content you see under the blue hyperlinked text in search results. Avoid references to gender whenever possible. To make your content accessible, consider how assistive technologies work and how some writing practices may impact people's ability to read or understand text. The purpose of these rules is to make web content easy to find, easy to understand and easy to use for everyone, including people who have physical or cognitive disabilities. This is non-negotiable, because you have to put yourself in the mindset of your personas in order to effectively complete the workshop. (For instance, “Lyrical” from the tone word cloud has sparked many a lively debate with our clients.). Make sure links are descriptive so that person will understand what they'll get when they click on them. A thorough, well-thought-out style guide puts your readers first. You could probably put all of these items into a single document, but no one will want to use it. Don’t do that. Write: apply Instead of: submit your application, Write: consider Instead of: take into consideration, Write: modify Instead of: make a modification. A simple list of dos and don’ts will work fine as a first draft. Active: We may ask you to provide proof of citizenship. In publishing and media companies, use of a style guide is the norm. Use second person("you") when speaking to or about thâ¦ A content style guide is a documented set of guidelines and rules that break down your brand personality, and how it is (and isn’t) expressed through your content. They can’t do that either. Principles. The person responsible for official languages in your institution can help answer questions about your obligations and about exceptions. When people scan web pages, they tend to start in the top left hand corner and scan to the right and down. This free, 12-page content style guide template will arm you and your team with one of the most powerful -- and overlooked -- content marketing tools. This first part is optional but, depending on the group, having everyone take two minutes to write down their expectations for the workshop can be a fun way to kick things off. A link must describe the content a person will find once they click on it. Here's what you can do: Title tag: The page title tag is the blue hyperlinked text you see when a search engine generates a list of results. (You can read the full guide without giving us your email -- keep scrolling!). It may be more information than you need. Fill in the easy stuff first, like your messaging strategy (if you have one) and buyer personas. Additionally, it’s fairly common with established brands who are pivoting from outbound to inbound marketing for the first time, and they’re not used to having these discussions. A descriptive page title is important because search engines often display the title without the context that the rest of the page provides. Marketing Copy: First reference: University of Michigan Ross School of Business Second reference: Michigan Ross Additional references: Michigan Ross, or Ross This worksheet will help you set the DARCI for any project. Looks easy, right? If you remember nothing else from this section, remember those two things. So, keep that in mind as we go through the remaining exercises.”. The 3 Essential Parts of a Content Style Guide. So, who should be involved in your content style guide workshop? Following this guide's rules and techniques will make it easier for everyone to find, understand and use the government's digital content. No matter what it looks like, your content style guide should be presented in such a way where the important stuff -- voice and tone attributes, style notes, etc. Your content style guide should be as long as it needs to be -- no more, no less. Canadian Women, 43. Most search engines identify relevant search results based on: They display the page title as a link on the results page. That’s why you want people to feel something about the words that they chose. Brand messaging and content style go together like peas and carrots. Instead, you are trying to get them to explain the why behind the words they chose. Also, if you’ve already created your brand messaging strategy, you’ll want to tailor your questions to the selected brand messaging style. login credentials for a client’s AP Stylebook subscription (if available); and, At IMPACT, we solved this challenge by developing a. . Period. Positive: You may claim a child born in 1972 or earlier as a dependent, if he or she has a mental or physical disability. If a cell has no value, explain why in your table's: You may also write one of the following in the cell, as long as it's clear and doesn't create visual noise that would distract your audience: When planning your content, weigh the benefits of using videos with the impact on people who will try to view them using mobile devices. When you're writing alternative text for a functional image: Decorative images don't require additional information to make them accessible or visible to search engines. Sometimes, your content targets people who have in-depth knowledge of a subject. This exercise creates an opportunity for the group to see that they don’t always have shared definitions of the same words; something that’s critical for the voice and tone exercises. If you opt to use our tone pillar model, here are the four key components of a tone pillar: A first-person statement that clearly establishes the theme for the pillar’s recommendations and rules; A subtitle that establishes why this is important -- typically, why your audience desires this style; How you effectively craft this tone in your writing; and. We also provide advice on how to follow them. If youâre the head of marketing and frustrated that the tone of voice in your companyâs external documents is at odds with your brand, a style guide can help. Surround a long sentence with shorter ones because it helps people understand the long sentence. It's also public-facing, but much more comprehensive. She also works closely with in-house contributors and IMPACT partners as an editor, content strategist, and sounding board, to help them bring their own stories to life. But this content piece we’re focusing on in this guide is what we want you to see differently. A casual and conversational tone is acceptable and appropriate; overly informal language, slang, jargon, and disparaging or heavily opinionated comments are not. Expect people to onboard themselves and start using it. If the subject of the title, link or label refers to general information, use the indefinite article ("a" or "an") or no article at all. They'll also ensure that your image meets the Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification. This is the not-so-fun part, but you should send back work that doesn’t adhere to the new style guide. Here's Why to Avoid "Marketese" Only, Reaching Out: A Guide to Communicating With Aboriginal Seniors, Resources of the Language Portal of Canada, Skills in Canada: First Results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Study: Literacy and numeracy among off-reserve First Nations people and MÃ©tis, Study: University graduates with lower levels of literacy and numeracy skills, The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing, Use pair writing to collaborate with subject matter experts. Remove unnecessary commas to make web content easier to read: Hyphens and dashes have different uses. (And they’re often the same mistakes, over and over.). An existing style guide will answer the majority of your content creators' questions. Your tone is how you deliver on the promise of your voice. Before you jump in, there are two important strategic activities we consider mandatory prerequisites: You absolutely must have complete buyer personas before you build your content style guide. Afterward, have everyone take turns sharing their answers, and why they chose them. Use as few words as possible to express an idea. Content Style Guide. Name the other organization when your content refers to it. And we’re now going to teach you how to facilitate it on your own! -- but if your audience ever believes that about you, it’ll be because you proved it to them time, not because you told them to believe it. Write: The act strengthens the Government of Canada's commitment toâ¦ Instead of: The EEA strengthens the Government of Canada's commitment toâ¦. That’s when you’ll want to go through the content style guide workshop exercise covered in this guide, to determine if there are any changes that need to be made to your voice and tone. The template we use at IMPACT for content style guides looks quite long, but it’s still simple and designed to be easy to use. Available in print and with an online subscription -- although the latter is geared in pricing toward institutions, such as universities. In fact, going back the example from our friends in North Carolina, their voice and writing guide is really short: Their messaging strategy is simple, so it makes sense to have it featured here. Ask lots of clarifying questions. We’ve created a pool of questions for each of the, Example Questions for Big Fish, Small Pond, Example Questions for Reframing the Market. “Wait, how is that enough guidance to convey our brand’s voice?”. A web page containing a heading with a question mark. In a passive sentence, it may not be clear who or what is doing the action. (Who can forget the great “Internet vs. internet” shift of 2016?). he tools in your content toolbox may not seem terribly exciting or fun at first. Has your group has chosen a lot of the same words for the same reasons? They can’t do that either. Whether it’s via email, Slack, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, training, or company meeting, let people know when things change and why. Include only the information people need to complete the task. Sadly, the content component of a brand’s style is often rushed through, if not completely overlooked, as a result. Note: For style questions not covered here, please reference the full Michigan Ross MarCom Style Guidelines, or contact us at email@example.com.This document is consistently updated. No one wants to force people to sit around a conference room table and ask people where the commas should go, so that portion of the style guide will not be hashed out during your content style guide workshop. Don't use "I" or "my" statements. Having clear and consistently formatted headings helps your web team produce the web pages more quickly and with fewer errors. Ideas delivered with clarity move people to take action. So, how do you organize all of it, if you shouldn’t put it in a single document? Each perspective can be monitored using the following 4 components: Figure 2 is a bar chart. What if, instead of dressing like a competent professional, you showed up to that presentation or speaking engagement in pajamas? Structuring headings clearly helps establish the authority of one heading over another. Dos, don'ts, and critical best practices for rolling it out to your team. Write: To draft a high-quality source document: Instead of: To draft a high-quality source document: Take a look at the section on capitalization and punctuation rules that apply to lists. When a link leads to content available only on internal government networks, write "(accessible only on the Government of Canada network).". You could therefore use the table as the long description for this image. Don't switch from speaking to people to speaking on their behalf. Text in a link gets some context from the web page's content. Listen for key phrases (beyond the ones on the page) that stand out to you or ideas where there’s a lot of consensus. In their eyes, if it’s “too short,” it’s probably not enough and/or must be a disservice to the nuances of their brand. However, if you have rigorous rules like, “paragraphs should never exceed X sentences,” or “We only use bullets for lists, never numbers,” you would put them into a content style guide. Jargon: bench warrant (an order by a judge to arrest someone who didn't show up in court or comply with certain conditions), Idiom: to hire a helping hand (meaning to hire an employee), Expression: attack your least favourite task first (meaning do your least favourite task first). Helpful Hint: If your brand has a documented set of core values that also should influence how your content is positioned, consider adding it as a reference in your style guide. An overview of content style guide basics; and. Make sure you comply with the minimum colour contrast rules (1.4.3) from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. When done, you can either have everyone share their answers, or you can have everyone save them until the end. If you’re performing the workshop in person, collect all of the worksheets, but take notes during the discussion period. Use lower case for a link in a sentence, unless the link contains a proper name. Plus, you’ll run the risk of people tossing your style guide to the side in frustration, because you’re giving them way too much to consider. They'll guide you on how to make sure the image is accessible to people using assistive technology. Of course, as with organizational changes of any kind, that’s easier said than done. What Kind of Pushback Will You See in These Exercises? The Employment Insurance (EI) program could give you temporary financial help if you lost your job. Period.”. Be sure to select related links carefully. So, while you may choose to keep your style confidential -- for example, stored on a company intranet or in an invitation-only Google Drive account shared by your team -- take note of how everything is segmented. As web and language trends evolve, we'll update this guide to meet the changing needs of our audiences. What’s fun about this is that while the exercises for both were the same in the workshop, the output is quite different for each. A lot can get lost in translation. Use most positive contractions of auxiliary verbs. If you plan to have it available in print, that’s fine, too. Either they want to be able to select more than five or fewer. Use these styles for capitalization and punctuation of content in text, links and applications. Yes, clients hire us to do this for them. (“I’m going to put together a draft, and it will be shared with X, Y, and Z for feedback.”). eBook vs. ebook) and other common terms (e.g. Your industry, audience, and brand preferences will inform what â¦ The Associated Press Stylebook (AP style)The standard for many newspapers and magazines. Think of this section on voice as table-setting. Formatting (such as bold, italics and underlining) and complex punctuation can be distracting and make reading difficult for many people. The titles of publications are usually not written in plain language, short enough or descriptive enough. Encourage those who are shy to share their opinions and don’t let others interrupt them. It requires a long description. Voice: These are all of the attributes of your brand’s personality; it’s what people should think about your brand as a reflex, without you having to spell it out for them. That’s a bad thing. ITC â not the â¦ No problem, save time by asking subsequent participants (usually starting with the third participant) only to explain their answers for the words that were either unique to them or if they chose the same word as someone else, but for which they had an opposite reaction.For example, one person might say “controversial” is good, and then later, someone else says it’s bad. But the purpose of this guide is to teach you how to create your content style guide 100% on your own, without having to hire an agency. Going back again to that old adage of, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” your messaging strategy is the WHAT and your content style is the HOW. Please take the time to review the entire document. This article is for organizations outside of the publishing industry who can benefit from the introduction of a style guide.A style guide is a reference point that sets standards for writing documents within your organization. A content style guide is a d ocumented set of guidelines and rules that break down your b rand personality , and how it is (and isnât) e xpressed through your content . Generally speaking, the good ones include some form of all the following elements: Brand personality traits. ), Make reviewing the style guide an official onboarding step for new staff members; especially freelance writers. Readability tools help you check if content is too wordy or complex. The first few times, send content back, and kindly let the writer know what needs to be changed and why. Or Han Solo and Chewbacca. How to write an effective content style guide for your brand. . Make sure that the content is accessible, clear and adapted to the widest audience. Honestly, people post about it on our Facebook â¦ The page title, headings and subheadings help people find information on the screen easily. The techniques described in this guide complement the rules set out in The Canadian Style. Listen for key phrases (beyond the ones on the page) that stand out to you or ideas where there’s a lot of consensus. If you already have a style guide, we can follow that, or we can build you a n authoritative style guide for your content that enhances the readability, comprehension , and impression of your content.
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