Following this guide's rules and techniques will make it easier for everyone to find, understand and use the government's digital content. Consistently Format Your Content with a Simple Style Guide Once your content has been written, edited and compiled for entry, the next step is to think about how it appears on the page. Then, check the table of contents to make sure you've correctly structured the page title, headings and subheadings. Sadly, you probably won’t catch those discrepancies until someone does something either you, your leadership, or worse, a potential customer or current client doesn’t like. Also, if you’ve already created your brand messaging strategy, you’ll want to tailor your questions to the selected brand messaging style. Ready to Get Serious About Your Brand Style? Available in print and with an online subscription. You can use various tools to do this. For that … Where possible, avoid using jargon, idioms and expressions. Skip to main content +1.866.971.0933. If you’ve been wondering how to make a web page look better, consistently format your text, photos and other design elements with a simple style guide. They can’t, they have to choose five for each, and you can’t have multiple words tie for a particular spot. You might not have any, but here are the most common we’ve seen and how to handle them: Someone wants to change the rules. The Readability Statistics dialog box will appear and show the Flesch-Kincaid grade level. In addition to getting your participants comfortable talking with each other, this will help you establish a baseline about where the brand is now in contrast to where you want to go. But if you hear any of these objections, you cannot cave. Text version below. What Does a Content Style Guide Look Like? 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. 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). Literally. Don't use an abbreviation or acronym unless it's better known to the widest audience than its long-form equivalent. They should grow and evolve along with you and your team. Write: apply Instead of: submit your application, Write: consider Instead of: take into consideration, Write: modify Instead of: make a modification. In this context, style refers to what your content looks like. Write: Do not try to locate the source of carbon monoxide. 4 Brandt et al. Writing content at a reading level above grade 8 can make it difficult for many people to understand or complete their task. A lot can get lost in translation. Use as few words as possible to express an idea. (Psst! We hope this gives you guidance on how to not only spread the word about IWBI and WELL, but also tell your own stories. 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. Dos, don'ts, and critical best practices for rolling it out to your team. Then they go through a content style guide workshop.). Gross. If someone agrees to participate, there are some ground rules. For copywriters, content creators, editors, and digital marketers, an editorial style guide is an invaluable reference for optimizing content and polishing copy. That’s why you want people to feel something about the words that they chose. What's Included in a Content Style Guide? For example, you may want to be perceived as a thought leader in your industry -- who doesn’t these days? Being aware of the impact of your language will help make Prospect.io a better place to work and a better steward of our values in the world. The voice and tone exercises are virtually identical. 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. But obvious best practices like, “Don’t make your content look like a massive word wall; break up your text with headings, lists, etc.,” don’t really belong in a style guide. Style guidelines and references for general fashion, food, religion, sports and business knowledge. Use lower case for a link in a sentence, unless the link contains a proper name. Generally speaking, the good ones include some form of all the following elements: Brand personality traits. Each has a question associated with it. Or Han Solo and Chewbacca. That’s why the choices you make with your content’s style will make or break your ability to get your message out there and believed by the right people. What needs to change about how we’re communicating? EI regular benefits are offered to people who have lost their employment through no fault of their own (for example, because of a shortage of work or because they were employed in seasonal work) and who are ready, willing, and capable of working each day but unable to find work. Its online access allows us to include those login credentials in our style guide, so our staff can access a full set of the rules, beyond the common rules we include as an appendix. Afterwards, screen readers will be able to correctly interpret the data within the table. requirements set out in the related legislated and policy instruments, including: transactional (submit a form or download a report), informational (find out how to collect a benefit or find a phone number), spend a lot of time trying to understand words that contain more than two syllables, read word by word and slowly move their eyes across each line of text, skip over large amounts of information when it contains many multi-syllable words, uncommon terms and long sentences, people who aren't familiar with the subject, specialists who might be scanning the content to decide whether it's relevant to their task, have to go through more steps to access the same amount of information, reflect Canadian writing conventions in English and French, include fully bilingual images, multimedia files and transcripts, or contain equivalent information in both official languages, increase the chances that people will find, read and understand your information from any device, make your information more accessible to people with disabilities, allow people who are reading your information on a small screen to see essential information first, save resources when editing and translating your text, improve task completion and cuts costs by, for example, reducing enquiries, guide your audience to the information they need to complete their task, place supporting and relevant details toward the end of the text, start with the most important idea, step or information, add details and tasks in order of importance, keep all task related content in the centre of the page, use links to direct people to key information and tasks, include information for audiences who want to learn more or have more knowledge of the topic or service, but only if it makes sense, add links only if they relate to content that supports completion of the task on the web page (for example, laws or publications), active voice instead of the passive voice, positive form instead of the negative form, explain it using simple, familiar words or give an example to help non-specialists understand, breaking long sentences into shorter ones, presenting a series of more than 2 ideas or words as a vertical list, using a short form for a long title instead of repeating it, place periods at the end of any bulleted items and headings (remove the periods before publishing), when Word has finished checking the text, it will ask whether you want to check the rest of the content, navigation content (home, theme and topic pages), aim for no higher than grade 8, all other content intended for general audiences, aim for grade 8 or lower, content intended for experts, determine the appropriate grade level and apply it across all content for this audience, ask colleagues who aren't familiar with the subject to review the text for clarity and logic, work with your communications team to set up usability testing for your content, shorten words, sentences or paragraphs, but keep words of 3 or more syllables if they're well known, replace technical jargon with terms that people will understand, remove details that people don't need to complete the task, replace secondary references to a program with "program" rather than using its full name or abbreviation, create numbered or bulleted lists for key tasks, describing Canada's stance on a topic relative to another named jurisdiction (country, province, territory city, etc. Note: For style questions not covered here, please reference the full Michigan Ross MarCom Style Guidelines, or contact us at michiganrosspr@umich.edu.This document is consistently updated. So, grab yourself a style guide book (or online subscription), determine what your exceptions are, then document those exceptions in your style guide, along with your external style guide access. Don't combine styles, like underlining and bold formatting, unless it's part of the hyperlinked text found on a topic page. Don't use contractions when there is a critical difference between two things, for example, between doing and not doing something. 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. Since it is designed for journalists, it’s not only versatile and neutral, it’s always being updated in real-time -- you don't need to wait for new editions -- based on current events. When it comes to your content style guide, the two most important things you can do is make it easy for people to learn and access your style guide, and be consistent with your enforcement of it. Omit background information and messages that welcome people to your program or site. Set Rules for Language and Tone. No matter how you format this section -- our way isn’t the only way -- your goal is to create a moment where the brand comes to life, as if it were a person, and speaks directly to your team to say, “This is who we are, and this is who we aren’t. The context will make it clear that the things they "must" do are requirements under the act. It has lots of different sections to sink your teeth into, including writing about people, pointers for email newsletters, writing for accessibility, and more. Using the titles of reports, brochures, publications or programs as the web page title can make it difficult for people to find your content, even if it relates to their task. But this content piece we’re focusing on in this guide is what we want you to see differently. However, if you’re panicking about how you’re going to cherry-pick the exceptions you want to document, don’t. to walk-through it with your writers and marketers, so you can ensure they understand it, and you can address any questions or concerns that may come out of that discussion. ), explaining Canada's role with respect to a topic or issue, institution will be contacting the person, person needs to contact the institution by phone, mail or online process, role of the institution in a process is relevant to the task. The Modern Language Association Stylebook (MLA)The preferred style guide for academics in the liberal arts (and the nemesis of most college students). Let them know, however, that they don’t have to rank the words. To gather the intelligence you’ll need to inform your choices in building the style guide; and. And we’re now going to teach you how to facilitate it on your own! A tone pillar groups together tactical copywriting and content creation instructions under a larger tonal “theme,” which ties directly back to the story of your brand that you’re trying to convey. Announce updates. When it comes to “how the sausage gets made” with your style guide, how you pull together your findings into a single, cohesive style guide will depend on two things: Your personal working style and preferences. If your content contains a lot of abbreviations and acronyms, rethink its structure. For example: Use some negative contractions of auxiliary verbs. Your communications team can help determine whether it's appropriate to communicate with audiences in other languages, in addition to Canada's official languages. Mistakes in grammar or formatting are bad for your content. Even the best writers can use reminders on … They're easier to scan than the full form. 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2020 impact content style guide