A easy way to make your written message matter is to be consistent, both in the message content and its style. Why?
> It makes your messaging more effective, and
> it shows that you’re professional.
Tell me more …
Inconsistency in spelling, terms used, tense, abbreviation forms, or any other aspect of a text is distracting to the reader. It makes them stop, even for a split-second, to think about what’s wrong.
But you don’t want your audience to be distracted from what you’re saying. It’s like them being interrupted while you’re talking to them! You want to engage them with your message and keep them engaged.
Inconsistency also detracts from your professional image. If you can’t get your own writing looking schmick, how can potential customers or clients believe that your business actually IS schmick?
A style guide is the answer.
What’s a style guide?
It’s a simple Word or PDF document that records all the decisions you make about your organisation’s preferred ways of styling your communications.
For example: the headings in this post use sentence case, which has a capital on the first word but not the others. That’s my personal style preference. But for your business’s communications, you might like them all capitalised .
I’m an Australian business owner, so I use Australian spelling and word usage. But maybe you deal with a lot of customers in the USA, so you prefer -ize and -or spellings to -ise and -our.
I’ve chosen this font (‘Poppins’) for my web text. You might prefer Arial or Calibri or Times New Roman or something else.
Compiling a style guide is a service I offer as a professional editor. I work with you to identify or choose all the style elements you’d like for your communications. It would usually include your branding elements, too.
Then I compile them all into one document that you can provide to all your employees (or contractors, or whoever is relevant). Once your style guide is developed and in place, your written communication will begin to look consistent, cohesive and connected.
Even the smallest organisation will benefit from having all its style preferences captured in one place for any staff member to follow in any written text they send out.
Instant professionalism and maximum engagement! And a personalised style sheet doesn’t even take much time or money to establish.
But it can certainly #makeyourmessagematter!