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Madison, Wisconsin
Powderkeg Web Design
August 31, 2017

Content Standards: Why and How?

Content Standards: Why and How?

Hello friend, glad you could join us. This is going to be totally rad! Au contraire, perhaps you have noticed something rather odd? Golly gee, there’s no consistency in this intro!


Why Write Content Standards

Did that feel a bit confusing? While this example is a bit extreme, content among pages and marketing channels can easily become disjointed. Remember, your brand is based on the perceptions of your audience. Therefore, it is important that users have a consistent experience when interacting with your organization.

Consistent = Familiar, Efficient, and Trustworthy

Luckily, there is a way to help keep your organization’s voice, tone, and messaging consistent (even across departments). Set rules and guidelines with a content style guide! In case you still need convincing, content standards will help you:

  1. Better connect with your audience.
  2. Strengthen your brand.
  3. Generate quality content.

Sounds useful, right? Let’s get started!



How To Write Them

1) Know your brand. What are your brand attributes? How does your audience define your brand?  If these two answers do not align, analyze how you can improve your brand perception as an organization.

2) Define writing goals and principles. What do you want to accomplish through your content? What principles will ensure these goals are reached? Together, these two items will create a strong foundation for your organization’s content strategy.

3) Develop a brand personality. How will you deliver your content? This will be answered by defining your organization’s voice and tone.

Voice = personality and general style

Tone = attitude and specific to messaging

During this process, use your brand attributes, writing goals, and principles as a guide.

4) Outline grammar and mechanics. Getting back to the basics of writing, you are now ready out outline the grammatical guidelines. Some key areas to consider:

•  Abbreviations
•  Punctuation
•  Numbers

5) Lead by example. It’s always a good idea to include writing samples for common content types. Some examples include:

•  Blog posts
•  Emails
•  Social media



Next Steps

Don’t think the work is done just yet- or ever! Your content standards should be a living document that grows with your organization.

Examples for reference:       MailChimp      •      Opattern      •      EIA      •      18F