Detailing your article requirements will help deliver great content when working with new writers
Creating a content style guide template is a must for businesses that work with external writers. A style guide template for web content writers should be no longer than four pages, clear, concise and easy to understand. Creating a content style guide template for the first time can be challenging, and you might find it difficult to provide content writing tips for your website. Once you have a first draft, however, you can go back and edit or add to the guide as new issues arise.
Existing Style Guides
When creating a simple content style guide template, it’s helpful to start by looking at existing standard style guides, for example APA or Chicago. Not only will this give you an authoritative resource to which you can direct your writers, but you then also have a platform to work with and alter as you wish.
A simple content style guide template should specify any keywords or topics that writers must include, as well as any topics or phrases they should avoid. For example, you might want your writers to avoid topics that might be perceived as controversial and potentially affect the reputation of your business.
An important part of any style guide template for web content writers is the datability of the writing. Evergreen content – content that will still be relevant and useful in the future – is more appropriate if you want your business to be an authority and resource in a certain field. If you deal with current events or news items, however, you will want your writers to include information that places the articles within a certain time period.
When creating a content style guide, you need to specify the number of words you expect in each article or web page. In addition to this, it’s helpful to draw writers’ attention to the length of paragraphs. Do you want essay-style posts, or short, snappy paragraphs that are easily scannable and quick to read?
As writers will be producing content that represents your business in the online community, the tone and style embodied by the writing will influence readers’ perceptions of your business and its reputation. Therefore, your style guide template for web content writers should give details of your website’s target audience and clarify the appropriate tone.
If possible, refer to examples of other publications that use a similar tone or approach to the one you are hoping to achieve. You also need to specify whether you want your web content to be impartial, in which case writers should avoid referring to specific products or people in a favorable manner.
If you want your writers to source pictures for your posts, you need to include image guidelines in your style guide. The information should include acceptable sources, and any particular images writers should avoid. Writers will sometimes perform basic image manipulation but anything more than this is beyond their remit and not relevant to a style guide template for web content writers.
Links and Sources
Include a policy on linking to other websites, specifying blacklisted websites that writers shouldn’t use as resources. If you insert links into your content, a simple content style guide should also contain details about whether you want links to other pages or to select partners’ websites on your own website.
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions you set your writers don’t have to be included in the content writing tips for your website. If you have detailed terms and conditions, you can put them in a separate document, however, if your terms and conditions only consist of a few statements, you can include them in your style guide template. For instance, you might want to specify that all work is made for hire, and state deadlines if writers are uploading their own work on a regular basis.
Introductions and Training
Having spent time and effort creating a content style guide template, you want your writers to read it. The most effective way of ensuring your writers understand your style guide is to have a meeting in person or using video conferencing to talk them through the guide and clarify any questions.
A simple content style guide template will be different for each organization, depending on your needs, the content you want to produce and your target audience. Using these building blocks, however, you can help writers produce the content you’re looking for and ensure your online presence is consistent and professional.