Check that they take people to the correct page, which contains up-to-date information, in the appropriate official language. Without being a jerk, force people to rephrase answers in their own words if they rely on previously established brand mottos, slogans, or website copy. , record all of the answers on a single set of scales, so you can easily spot patterns. To understand why, however, you need to learn the true purpose of a content style guide, beyond its surface-level definition. You may use "my" in content, page titles and links for proper names (such as My Service Canada Account). That said, it’s our experience that developing your messaging strategy in advance makes developing your content style so much easier, since they build on each other. If the subject of the title, link or label refers to general information, use the indefinite article ("a" or "an") or no article at all. Name the other organization when your content refers to it. A screen capture of Microsoft Word's readability statistics dialog box shows that a sample of text got a Flesch-Kincaid reading level of 5.8. only difference between the above worksheet and the one for tone, These are all of the attributes of your brand’s personality; it’s what people should. Make sure that it meets the reading level you're targeting based on the literacy needs of your audience. The Employment Insurance (EI) program could give you temporary financial help if you lost your job. 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. Try to keep sentences under 20 words. Again, ask clarifying questions and challenge people to go deeper, as appropriate. Dates in this table represent the year, month and day (yyyy-mm-dd). Next, you’ll want to approach your voice and tone. Tone: This is a dynamic element. Expect people to onboard themselves and start using it. A Food Guide Serving is simply a reference amount. Come back to tone pillars when you’re ready to create more organization within the structure of your brand’s tone. Readability tools help you check if content is too wordy or complex. These tools don't always translate idioms and expressions accurately. When a link leads to content available only on internal government networks, write "(accessible only on the Government of Canada network).". However, your content style guide should not be where your full brand messaging strategy lives. This is where the magic happens -- the words on the page prompt participants to share their real feelings. If you’re using our workshop presentation deck, only show one question at a time. Western conference National Hockey League : Avoid formatting cells with textures or colours, because it can make text difficult to read. Functional images add value to the content because they provide more information than can be provided through text alone. For example, if you: use the imperative mood (or command) for the first item of your list, use the same mood for each subsequent list item, start your first item with a noun, start the other list items with nouns, if a list contains more than 7 items, consider breaking it up into categories, introduces or applies to all the list items, emphasizes the common element between all the items, "You must meet all of the following requirements:", "To be eligible, you must meet 1 or more of the following requirements:", arrange your ideas from most to least important to the task, test your order with a representative audience, use the Content Style Guide to ensure you have followed the guidelines, value of each cell relates to the column and row headers, entries in a column don't contain information that could be considered a subhead, value of each cell aligns with the column header that appears directly above it, column and row headers appear in the cells at the top and on the far left of a table, headings and subheadings refer to the title of a table or a section of content that appears on a web page, the column, with the column header that appears directly above it ("Vote 1," "2011 to 2012" ($ millions) and "2012 to 2013" ($ millions)), a row, with the row header that defines it ("Net budgetary authorities" and "Year-to-date expenditures ending December 31"), row are column headers and appear bolded and in grey, column are row headers (except the top-left cell) and appear bolded, turn a complex table into one or more simple tables, convert a table to a list if the data is simple, make complicated information easier to understand, reflect Canada's diverse population as much as possible (including seniors, youth, Indigenous peoples, and people from a wide variety of ethnic origins), illustrate information or data to help people understand it, illustrate concrete things (such as a valid passport, species at risk, standard symbols), convey branding (such as approved logos and campaign graphics), promotional features on a topic page or home page (Government of Canada activities and initiatives), describe the image as if you were describing it to someone over the phone, limit the text to around 140 characters (including spaces), use the text that is embedded in the image only if it provides enough context; otherwise, write different text that includes more, use the null indicator as the alternative text (alt="") if the image doesn't provide any more information than what is already provided in the text on the page, don't use "image of..." or "graphic of..." to describe the image; screen readers do this already, don't have equipment such as speakers or headphones, important action (for example, people running away from an explosion or characters wearing disguises), include links that directly support the topic or task on the current page, link to the original information posted by the authoritative source, don't include links to intranet sites unless the content targets government employees, in which case you should add "(accessible only on the Government of Canada network)", don't bury links that are crucial to completing a task in the middle of a paragraph or at the bottom of the page, use the first words of the target page or its entire title if it's descriptive enough, start with keywords that accurately describe the target page if the page title isn't enough, make sure that all links on the same page use unique descriptive text if they link to different target pages, when more than one link on a web page links to the same destination page, use the same words for the hyperlink, describe any content that must be downloaded, write email addresses in full, in lower case and as active links (contact, the same link text to point to 2 different pages, vague statements such as "click here" or "read more", promotional messaging that might confuse someone who is deciding whether to go to the page that is being linked to. Was this niche previously ignored or underserved? Finally, there’s your style. Avoid using nouns that are formed from verbs. If you opt to use our tone pillar model, here are the four key components of a tone pillar: A first-person statement that clearly establishes the theme for the pillar’s recommendations and rules; A subtitle that establishes why this is important -- typically, why your audience desires this style; How you effectively craft this tone in your writing; and. They'll guide you on how to make sure the image is accessible to people using assistive technology. If you’re performing this workshop remotely, record all of the answers on a single set of scales, so you can easily spot patterns. Here's what you can do: Title tag: The page title tag is the blue hyperlinked text you see when a search engine generates a list of results. Reduce confusion by using the following spellings: This rule doesn't apply to content in French. Typically, a style guide will include the following: Basic editorial rules, such as the spelling out of numerals, how and when you capitalize job titles, rules for abbreviations, how times of day should be expressed, etc. Instead, as they go through each exercise, they should focus on providing honest opinions and having healthy discussions. Some non-government web content isn't available in both official languages. (Who can forget the great “Internet vs. internet” shift of 2016?). Do not, under any circumstances, give into the urge to create something overly complex for the sake of it. Consider placing related content under distinct headings and sections. But if you hear any of these objections, you cannot cave. Don't combine styles, like underlining and bold formatting, unless it's part of the hyperlinked text found on a topic page. Or Han Solo and Chewbacca. For example, at IMPACT, we do include a slide with a brand messaging strategy primer within the content style guides we create for clients: An adapted example of a brand messaging slide from an IMPACT content style guide. Earlier in this style guide you will find more information about citations, essay writing and sources. An editorial style guide is a set of editorial rules that ensure brand consistency. The most important thing you can do with your content style guide is to update it when things change. The structure and layout of content components help people find what they need quickly. The Content Style Guide goes into depth on many subjects. If that won’t be the case, you should record the audio of your workshop (not video, it can make people nervous), take lots of notes, and work very closely with the individual who will. -- you’ll have everyone share their answers and the why behind each. Your tone is how you deliver on the promise of your voice. If a cell has no value, explain why in your table's: You may also write one of the following in the cell, as long as it's clear and doesn't create visual noise that would distract your audience: When planning your content, weigh the benefits of using videos with the impact on people who will try to view them using mobile devices. No matter what you say or how compelling your ideas are, your physical presentation of how you showed up would be a complete distraction, sending an entirely different message than what you were intending. 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. You might prefer to rely on your notes exclusively or you may be someone who will want to listen to the audio recording again, before you start pulling your style guide together. What did you want everyone to think of you? identify your highest weeks of insurable income in the shortest period below: return the completed form in person to the, Spanish and Portuguese, write "(Spanish and Portuguese only)", be Canadian or legally able to work in Canada, have lost your job through no fault of your own, be ready, willing and able to work each day but still can't find work, stay in Canada while you're getting EI help, created a list out of the items in the text, replaced complex nouns with verbs and complex verbs with simpler forms, divided a complex table into several simple tables that are more accessible and can be viewed easily on mobile devices, applied the inverted pyramid approach to provide the summary or conclusion first, followed by increasingly detailed information, updated titles to reflect capitalization requirements, used existing subheadings embedded in the original example to create table headers, made sure that the last 3 column headers reflect the unit value of the information in each column, added zeros to provide relevant information in otherwise empty cells, removed empty cells, rows and irrelevant information (underlining) and subheadings (such as those that were not aligned with the column headers). Don't switch from speaking to people to speaking on their behalf. You'll need to have the written proof of those rights. If someone agrees to participate, there are some ground rules. You’ll get the best results when you curate a group with a mix of roles, responsibilities, and experience. Again, your goal is not to walk away with words you’ll plug into a Mad Libs-esque content style guide template. AUDIENCE This guide is intended for manufacturers, content service organizations, and other content creators who have advanced knowledge of both Revit software and Revit model content creation. Follow The Canadian Style's rules for applying italics for the following: Some symbols make web content more difficult to read while others improve readability. Long descriptions explain information that is presented in complex infographics or images. Once you fill out the form, here's what you're going to get: A copy of the How to Create a Content Style guide playbook; Content style guide … , while you’re making larger decisions for your business. What are we afraid our ideal buyers don’t get about our brand right now? They should have their chance to shine. every time they need to write a 900-word blog post, especially if it could have been shortened to the length of a press release and been just as effective in explaining what they needed to know about content style. Encourage those who are shy to share their opinions and don’t let others interrupt them. When writing instructions for completing a task, sometimes you need to insert a link to guide the person to forms or other documents. The techniques described in this guide complement the rules set out in The Canadian Style. It would be difficult for someone using a screen reader or a mobile device to access and understand the information. You can use a readability tool like Flesch-Kincaid to check the reading level of your English content. Do not use Comic Sans or Impact fonts; Use coloured fonts carefully. Use decorative images only to provide visual context for the following templates: Don't place meaningful text, such as campaign or program titles, in decorative images. See how this rule applies to content in French. Instead of: Get more information about eligibility on the website. Writing in plain language doesn't mean over-simplifying or leaving out critical information. #INBOUND17 1 Your Vision. No one wants to force people to sit around a conference room table and ask people where the commas should go, so that portion of the style guide will not be hashed out during your content style guide workshop. Available in print and with an online subscription. To your participants, it’s obvious -- you’re getting their ideas about what their brand’s voice and tone should be. Gross. You don’t need to memorize the style guide in order to effectively understand it and determine your exceptions. This tool is available as part of Microsoft Word. Use the name of a specific institution in situations when the: Don't include references to your website on your website. We use a structured facilitation presentation deck with a set agenda to facilitate our workshops. In that case. Participants will have five minutes to complete the worksheet below on their own, based on the following instructions: “On the worksheet in front of you, you will see a set of four scales. Check the reading level of your text. Work with your web team to determine the best way to include the long description information. (“Don't use big words!”), Basic editorial rules -- grammar, spelling, etc. Make sure your images add value to your content. That’s a great question, but you want to keep them focused on the task at-hand, and you don’t want to accidentally influence their choices by pivoting the discussion to the methodology behind the workshop. You can do this by: Write: We received your request for funding and approved it. What Does IMPACT Include in a Content Style Guide? If you already have a style guide, we can follow that, or we can build you a n authoritative style guide for your content that enhances the readability, comprehension , and impression of your content. Description metadata field: The description metatdata is the content you see under the blue hyperlinked text in search results. One type of benefits that the EI program offers is regular benefits. They must also be present literally and figuratively for the duration of the workshop, so all they’ll need are their brains, a pen/pencil, and a notepad. All restricted or controlled drugs need an import permit from Health Canada. Use bold for emphasis, but use it sparingly: the more you use it, the less effective it is. Writing for the Web: Principles and Guidelines, Rental of machinery office furniture and fixtures, Other professional services not elsewhere specified. When done, you can either have everyone share their answers, or you can have everyone save them until the end. After you get to a point where you know they should be accountable, just send the work back and circle what’s not up to style and have them correct it. Or Han Solo and Chewbacca. In an active sentence, the subject does the action. Additionally, you can have as few or as many tone pillars as you’d like. Again, it’s going to depend on who you ask. Formatting (such as bold, italics and underlining) and complex punctuation can be distracting and make reading difficult for many people. How to write an effective content style guide for your brand. Remove unnecessary commas to make web content easier to read: Hyphens and dashes have different uses. We adapted this from a brand personality quiz originally developed by, This manifests itself when one or more people have their. Use the null indicator as the alternative text (alt=""). They can be vague. Mistakes in grammar or formatting are bad for your content. To succeed financially, how should we appear to our shareholders? In this context, style refers to what your content looks like. You’re the business owner, founder, or CEO of a new brand -- or a brand making a pivot -- and you need your team on the same page about how your brand should be perceived. To help make sure your page ranks high in search results, use page titles that: When you post a publication online, you must adapt it for the web. Additionally, you should take notes as described in the previous point. Through these two exercises, participants will choose positive and negative attributes for their brand’s voice and tone, based on the needs and preferences of their buyer personas. They generally contain too much information for people to understand when they're scanning. ... use the Content Style Guide to ensure you have followed the guidelines; They can’t, they have to choose five for each, and you can’t have multiple words tie for a particular spot. Wrong. The Associated Press Stylebook (AP style)The standard for many newspapers and magazines. When you select Find (or press Control + F), a small window will display all the headings in your document. 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. But first, how will you run the exercise? Write: Learn about savings plans that can help you save enough money to retire. So, while you may choose to keep your style confidential -- for example, stored on a company intranet or in an invitation-only Google Drive account shared by your team -- take note of how everything is segmented. Write numbers as numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, etc. Moreover, they’re also impossible to keep updated; you’ll never have any version control, and your job will be harder. Not everyone reads at the same level or understands content in the same way. For example, you can write: Place only one idea in each bulleted item. What Does a Content Style Guide Look Like? Either they want to be able to select more than five or fewer. Legal and technical terms and "government-speak" confuse most people. Sometimes brands bundle this kind of information together along with visual notes like the ones mentioned above, but sometimes they’re separate. Sometimes, your content targets people who have in-depth knowledge of a subject. Basic editorial rules -- grammar, spelling, etc. This exercise creates an opportunity for the group to see that they don’t always have shared definitions of the same words; something that’s critical for the voice and tone exercises. We typically see this with new startups, where they’re having these conversations for the first time -- which totally makes sense. They must also be present literally and figuratively for the duration of the workshop, so all they’ll need are their brains, a pen/pencil, and a notepad. Let it happen. Additional guidance that’s often used by journalists on media law, social media use, data reporting, etc. This free, 12-page content style guide template will arm you and your team with one of the most powerful -- and overlooked -- content marketing tools. Avoid listing only keywords, because search engines might ignore these. The sentence is clear and direct. An editorial style guide is a set of guidelines for the writers and editors on your team. They also help ensure that people don't need to look at many pages with the same name to find the information they need. That said, it’s our experience that developing your messaging strategy in advance makes developing your content style so much easier, since they build on each other. 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. A lot of work goes into facilitating a content style guide workshop, but you'll walk away with invaluable intelligence about your brand. On the other hand, some still suffer from a total disconnect between what they want to say vs. what they’re actually communicating to their audience. Your brand’s style has two components -- visuals and content: The style conventions established in the visual and content style bubbles are how you tell the story of your brand. It’s how you deliver on the promise of your voice. People fundamentally do not like being told what to think about anything -- especially about brands. Put another way, your style is the packaging and polish you put on your strategic messages, not the strategic messages themselves. For you, the facilitator, that’s still true, but there’s a little more to it. Of course, the heart of your content will be written text. What is it that, to this point, our competitors have failed to do? The information in it came from a data table. If the link leads to content only available in: Write: Find out how to renew your French passport while abroad in Canada (French only). Style: Finally, there’s your style. In some cases, a Food Guide Serving may be close to what you eat, such as an apple. Skip to main content +1.866.971.0933. A PowerPoint style guide is a way you can make sure presentations are organized and consistent with the company’s overall message. You’ll let them know afterward. Make it only available as a hard copy. There is no right way to synthesize the data, so do it in a way that makes the most sense for you. Write: If you plan to travel to or transit through the United States, find out about the rules you need to follow from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Whether it’s via email, Slack, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, training, or company meeting, let people know when things change and why. Avoid complex and compound sentences. 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. Instead, you need to be clear, concise, and direct in your content style definition and direction. think about your brand as a reflex, without you having to spell it out for them. Style guidance for places (addresses, cities, states), academic degrees, names, and acronyms. Your industry, audience, and brand preferences will inform what … Then they go through a content style guide workshop.). Make sure you comply with the minimum colour contrast rules (1.4.3) from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Still, MailChimp nails it by including a little section called “TL;DR” -- a cheeky bit of internet shorthand that means, “too long; didn’t read,” for those unfamiliar. We hope this gives you guidance on how to not only spread the word about IWBI and WELL, but also tell your own stories. Include abbreviations that your audience uses in your metadata (for example, in the description field) to help search engines find your page more easily. We’ve created a pool of questions for each of the four brand messaging styles to help you get your conversation going: What makes us better than our competitors? They're easier to scan than long, complex words. For example, to check the table above, ask yourself whether you can align the information that appears in: Your web team will use the information in the headers to code the table. While that’s true, that doesn’t give you any sort of structure that will guarantee the results you’re looking for. Free Content Style Guide Template IMPACT is digital sales and marketing company focused on empowering business leaders with the education, tools, training and support needed to grow their companies and careers. Please take the time to review the entire document. Each column and row of a table must have a header that describes the information in that column or row. you vs. we: As a very general rule, posts should be directed toward you, not we. As much as that sounds like a bummer, it makes sense -- the tools in your content toolbox may not seem terribly exciting or fun at first. To make information useful to the widest possible audience: The following table is complex and poorly designed. Instead of: There are 15 CCCs across Canada. The rules in this guide reflect how people read and use web content. Don't repeat the name of a form or document in the steps to accomplish a task if the name isn't descriptive. Make sure that the content is accessible, clear and adapted to the widest audience. And it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do, it’s clear that you’re completely unprofessional. Instead of: Any type of investment will be taken into consideration. It creates a recognizable, engaging voice and personality that readers can form a more personal connection with. And we’re now going to teach you how to facilitate it on your own! Start your content with the most important information, and be direct. -- can be easily understood and quickly digested. In addition to two slides covering positive and negative voice attributes, and two to four slides defining what we call “tone pillars,” IMPACT content style guides include the following: Messaging overview and a link to the messaging strategy (if applicable); (If you’re looking for a shortcut, our content style guide template has an appendix with common AP style rules, which will make it easier for you to pull out your exceptions, if you have any.). (For instance, “Lyrical” from the tone word cloud has sparked many a lively debate with our clients.). Source: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Note: Includes all tenures. see the example I attached to this document. Don't duplicate information provided on another organization's website. 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.

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