3 min read
min read
October 5, 2023

How to Create a Writing Style Guide Using AI (Free Template)

How to Create a Writing Style Guide Using AI (Free Template)

Table of contents

Ever wondered how brands manage to create seamless consistency between their social media, website, and marketing material?

Style guides play a major role in the crafting of a solid brand identity and are often the rulebook that sets standards for consistency. Simply put, style guides outline how a brand, organization, or blog communicates with their audience.

As an editor and content producer, I’ve seen all kinds of content style guides. When I’ve written blog articles for different clients, such as foodie blogs and established design engineer businesses, I’ve naturally had to adapt my style. This is where a style guide can help. It’s a fast-track editorial guideline to make sure that any content produced for you — whether by freelancers or in-house staff — meets the same standards, every time. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to craft your own style guide and speed up the process with help from Wordtune.

Writing Style Guide Template

Download the template for free

What is a writing style guide?

A writing style guide identifies several key factors that determine how you write for your brand’s social media, blog, website copy, and more. Some of these factors include your tone of voice, rules for grammar and standardized spellings, how to talk about your brand, and vital do’s and don’ts. 

The purpose of a writing guide is to create standards that establish consistency across all your publishing platforms. This helps ensure your messaging is clear, concise, and achieves what you’ve set out to do — whether that’s converting web traffic, highlighting a product or service, or establishing yourself as an authoritative voice on a specific topic. 

You might work with an in-house team to create blog articles or hire freelance content creators to craft social media posts. A comprehensive style guide clarifies your house styles and makes sure that everything you produce stays consistent and achieves your marketing goals. 

Types of writing style guides

There are many types of writing style guides designed for different purposes, but the most common can be broken down into: academic, editorial, content, technical and developer documentation, and design.

Examples of style guides

Academic - APA, MLA

Editorial - BBC

Content - Mailchimp

Technical - Microsoft, Google

Design - Dubai City

As you can see, each of these style guides are different. Where a design style guide focuses on visual material such as logos, typography, spacing, and imagery, academic guides instead focus on writing and reference formatting. Technical style guides, on the other hand, are aimed at professionals working with technical subjects, like software engineering. Content and editorial style guides are focused towards content marketing or news and other editorial guidelines for publications, respectively.

Create your own writing style guide using AI with these 10 steps

Establishing a thorough style guide can seem like a daunting task. It can feel like a lot to manage as one person. This is where Wordtune’s AI capabilities can support your efforts in establishing and maintaining a consistent style manual. 

Below, we’ll break down how to approach crafting a master reference manual, including establishing a tone of voice, image guidelines, branded language, and more. We’ll also show you how to use Wordtune to make quick work of creating style manuals from scratch.

1. Establish a consistent tone of voice

A consistent voice is essential to a successful brand marketing strategy. Without it, your audience may find it difficult to connect with you. Consistency creates an image of reliability for your brand or organization. Stylistic decisions impact your tone of voice and how potential readers or customers see you. It also establishes the backbone of comprehensive style guides. 

Consider these questions to start defining your tone of voice:

  • How formal is your brand? Do you connect with your readers on a personal, informal level, or are you speaking to business professionals who require a more formal tone?
  • How do you tell your story? Look to creative writing to get some ideas: is your writing emotional or more factual?
  • Are you trying to persuade your readers (e.g. to buy your services) or is your content designed to be neutral or educational? Are you assertive or more passive in your writing style?
  • Are you excited and upbeat or calm and intentional? Define your style using examples of the type of writing you’re looking to achieve. 
  • Clarity and reading level: Depending on your intended audience, consider if using complicated phrases and industry jargon is going to scare them away or appeal to an already-expert readership.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a good idea of the kind of tone you want to convey. Perhaps you’ve settled on a tone that is friendly and casual, or one that is professional and educational. Whatever you’ve decided, Wordtune can help maintain consistency in tone of voice. You can use the “tone” setting to switch between casual and formal. You’ll be able to easily rewrite and receive suggestions directly in the app to make appropriate changes and meet your desired tone. This can be particularly helpful if you need to address several audience personas. In the next section, we’ll take a look at how to identify who your audience is.

2. Identify your different audience personas

Audience personas refer to the different types of people that encounter your content and blog posts. There are many ways to find out who your audience is — or who you want them to be. You may already know who the bulk of your audience is based on your product or service. For example, if you sell school supplies, your audience will include teachers and parents. Your audience could also include school administrators who procure larger wholesale orders. 

You can also collect and use data to get a better insight into your audience segmentation and to identify your ideal customer profile. If you already have a website, analyze your existing web traffic to determine the average demographic of your visitors. You can also utilize surveys and analyze buying behaviors to get a sense of who your customers or readers are and group them accordingly.

Keep in mind that each of the types of people you identify will have slightly different needs, questions, or information that they’re looking for. It’s important to consider how to speak to each of these in a way that is appropriate and inclusive. Creating outlines for the different types of language, tone, and topics to be used when speaking to each reader or audience persona makes sure that your content is well-received by your intended audience. 

For example, one audience persona might be focused on small business owners. In this case, you’ll want to make sure your language is geared towards professionals within your specific niche. 

Think about who they are and what information they are looking for. For example:

  • They are looking for advice that is actionable 
  • They are time-poor, so you don’t want to spend too much time getting to the point
  • As business owners, they are already familiar with common terms and phrases in their niche. You want to ensure that you don’t “talk down” to them. 

You may find that you have more than one type of person who benefits from your content. Make sure to define all of your personas and the differences between them to make the most of your style guidelines and marketing efforts.

3. Ensure inclusive language is used

Inclusive language, also known as equity language, is a benchmark standard for today’s content. It is important to avoid words or phrases that are biased, including slang, unnecessary jargon, or discriminatory language against specific groups of people. Inclusive language aims to remove words or phrases that discriminate against race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and ability. 

Providing a guideline for inclusive language in your style guide supports writers, editors, and anyone else within your organization to craft content aligned with your values. 

For example, it’s considered good practice to avoid gendered terms in favor of neutral alternatives, like “flight attendant” instead of “stewardess” and “fire fighter” instead of “fireman.”

4. Include branded words and phrases

Establish how you talk about your brand or organization from the outset by defining certain branded words and phrases. Branded words and phrases provide a consistent way to refer to your organization, product, or services, and should be included in your style guide. Examples of branded words and phrases include company name, product names, and service names. 

5. Set grammar rules

Set recommendations for grammar usage that cover elements like capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and verb tenses. Wordtune can help to ensure that your voice is consistent and provide rewrite suggestions to simplify your language, too. It can also help to manage grammar inconsistencies by picking up any errors or suggesting alternatives. You’ll find “Editor’s Suggestions” in the panel to easily review and approve or reject suggestions.

6. Decide on common practices 

Specify how to handle common practices like formatting, quotation marks, specific phrasing, and more. Providing these basic rules ensures consistency in how your content is presented. For instance, your style guide could specify that a company name should always be written with the first letter of each word capitalized (e.g., AI21 Labs) and product names with all words capitalized (e.g., Wordtune). Or, the guide could state that you should always use active voice in your writing.

7. Define preferred styles for each piece of content

Running an Instagram account, writing for your company blog, and crafting bespoke LinkedIn pieces all require a different approach. By defining preferred styles for different platforms and content channels, you can maintain consistency while still tailoring your content type to the appropriate readership. For example, content for Instagram is usually friendly, informal, and playful. It’s a great place to showcase yourself to potential customers. On the other hand, LinkedIn content is aimed at business professionals, meaning it will be more formal and authoritative. Usually, you’re speaking to your peers in the industry and it’s a good idea to adjust your writing accordingly. 

8. Provide examples of how visuals complement written content

Visuals add flair and interest to your content. Many readers’ attention spans wane when faced with a wall of text. By adding in images, illustrations, infographics, etc., you can break up the text, illustrate your point, and keep your audience interested for longer. 

However, without rules for how to handle visuals as part of your content, you could end up with awkward stock photos, inconsistent quality, and missing captions. Creating guidelines for how to handle visuals can elevate your blog experience. A style guide for visual assets should include elements like guidelines for image formats, sizes, resolutions, and how to source images, as well as recommendations for colors, fonts, logos, and other visual elements.

9. Craft a "Do Not Mention" list

Want to avoid mentioning a competitor’s name? Are there certain topics that are best avoided, such as politics? By crafting a “Do Not Mention” list you’ll establish immediately what is and isn’t acceptable to talk about. Getting your whole team on board and aware of any hard rules can minimize complications down the line. 

Establishing a list of topics, words, or competitors to avoid can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and has an understanding of the expectations and boundaries of discussion. 

10. Include examples in your style guide

Examples illustrate your points and clarify what you’re asking of your team and how to do it in practice. For instance, if part of your content production includes email campaigns, you could include a section on how to write emails that are clear and concise. To illustrate this in practice, include a sample email so that everyone can see how it should be done.

Consider using Wordtune’s suggestion feature to help you illustrate different aspects of writing — from rewriting sentences for clarity to providing jokes to create a more casual tone. 

Conclusion

It’s vital to establish a consistent tone of voice and identity for your blog, business, or website with a comprehensive style guide. Wordtune can help the process of crafting and maintaining a consistent style by picking up simple mistakes, switching seamlessly between tones, making writing suggestions, and much more. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll be able to establish a solid foundation for your new style guide with ease.

Share This Article:

Looking for
Fresh content?

Thank you!
Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.