Media theorist Marshall McLuhan is famous for saying, among other things, that “The medium is the message”. Essentially, that means that the type of medium you choose to communicate a message itself affects the message.
So what message does a reader or listener take away when the medium is delivered in a careless, sloppy or inconsistent manner? The impression left is likely to be that you – the writer or content creator – are yourself a careless, sloppy or inconsistent thinker, making your message questionable.
That’s part of the thinking behind the need for style guides. Basically, a style guide spells out how your organisation or publication will present the words, numbers and other textual and visual elements of your message. It’s a roadmap for delivering information in a careful, neat and consistent way.
Look, for example, at the AP Stylebook. Long described as “the journalist’s bible”, the AP Stylebook helps eliminate a lot of potentially time-consuming questions for reporters, editors and copywriters. Rather than having to decide each time whether it’s ‘e-mail’ or ‘email’, ‘No. 1’ or ‘number-one’, or ‘Somalian’ or ‘Somali’, the AP Stylebook provides clear guidance on these and many other issues. (Answers: ‘email’, ‘No. 1’ and ‘Somali’ are correct.)
In addition to word usage and spelling, style guides can specify many other preferences, whether it’s placement of punctuation with quotation marks (generally outside of quote marks in the UK, while inside in the US), use of citations for YouTube videos and other online content, or even presentation of company logos.
Whatever industry you work in, and whatever types of content you produce, a style guide can help make your work easier. It can also ensure that the content you put out is more appealing, easy-to-understand and valuable… both to you and your target audiences.
Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent Need content right now? Try our new WriteNow on-demand service.
Sign up to our newsletters for either monthly or quarterly updates on all things tech and content marketing.
Customise what you'll receive ▾
Our monthly newsletter
Content Marketing Quarterly
The best curated links on the topic of content marketing, four times a year
Every quarter, our editors curate the best links from the following areas
Tech Quarterly - select which you'd like to receive
Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
Chief Information Officers (CIO)
Internet of things (IoT)
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.