Writers Write creates and shares writing resources. In this post, we tell you how to create a style guide for your company in 10 steps.
Last week, we wrote about what you should include in your company’s style guide. This week we’re looking at how you should do it.
Every company should have a style guide to ensure that business language is presented in a consistent manner. Well written, error-free business documents that follow a consistent style send a message to the business community: professionalism. This can only enhance the company’s image and credibility.
How does a company create a style guide?
Create A Style Guide For Your Company In 10 Steps
- Select a person or a team from your organisation to compile the guide. In a large organisation, a team with a leader would be better suited for the project. Ensure that the person leading the project is familiar with the rules of grammar and spelling.
- Evaluate the organisation’s writing. Access documents like brochures, proposals, web pages, and letters. Check for common errors and compile a list.
- Consult style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style, APA Publication Manual and Strunk & White’s Elements of Style for grammar and spelling conventions.
- Consider your community. The business community, legal systems and your readership will also determine the content of the style guide. For example, South African businesses have to write in language that is easy to understand because of the diversity of the population. Communications and marketing messages have to comply with the Consumer Protection Act.
- Inform your employees. It is important that people in the organisation understand the purpose of the style guide. Keep people informed about the progress of the guide.
- Ask for feedback. The organisation’s intranet is a useful tool to use for the development and commitment to the style guide.Heads of department, secretaries and personal assistants should receive a draft copy of the style guide to review. Ask these people to provide feedback.
- Ensure that the style guide follows the style guide. A style guide that has spelling errors and inconsistent language usage will lack credibility amongst its users.
- Get an expert to assess your guide. Ask a company like Writers Write to check your Style Guide.
- Provide easy access to the style guide. After all parties have reviewed and approved the style guide, save the style guide electronically so that it is easily accessed by users.
- Update when needed. Language conventions and trends change, especially in business writing. Review the completed style guide on a regular basis to ensure that the contents are current.
by Ulrike Hill
Ulrike is a ghost writer, writing consultant, and the author of two books. She facilitates creative and business writing courses for Writers Write and lecturers at Varsity College. Follow Ulrike on Twitter and Facebook and visit her LinkedIn profile.