Why Editorial Guidelines are Crucial
Visual elements of a website are an important part of user experience, but the words on the page make an even bigger impact. Websites are fundamentally text-based, and your content, tone, and messaging need to be carefully considered to have the best impact with your audience.
The need for consistency across brand messaging is exactly why we here at Creative create editorial guidelines for businesses. They create a framework that, when followed, allows for content to sound like it’s all coming from the same place—no matter what platform it’s on or who is writing the content.
What is typically included in a set of editorial guidelines?
Branding guidelines for copy can include a lot of different elements, depending on where your brand is concentrated and how you communicate most. Most packages, however, typically include: tone specifications (friendly, serious, or somewhere in between), style and grammar schema (AP? Chicago? MLA? Pick one.), and any specific business or industry-related copy needs (like important legal phrases to say or avoid).
If I’m the only one writing copy for my company, do I still need writing guidelines?
Absolutely. Even if you’re the only one writing copy, it’s very easy to have one’s voice and tone move and sway over time—we call it “message creep.” Think of it this way: Even when it’s just you, there are still actually two people writing your copy: Present You and Future You. Having editorial guidelines keeps those two writers in line as well.
How do editorial guidelines relate to overall branding strategy?
Writing tone, copywriting style, and common talking points—all part of an editorial strategy—are some of the most important parts of a brand. For example, your users only see your logo once or twice, but they read your copy repeatedly and for much longer. Getting that message tight and consistent is crucial.