A Style Guide is one of the most important keys to ensuring your internal and external content is written with a unified voice. Whether you are building a new style guide or maintaining an existing one, your style guide should contain, at a minimum, these sections:
Content Types and Templates
It's important to list the types of content possible within your knowledge base, and any special considerations for that specific content type. For instance, a Troubleshooting article MUST contain a final resolution step, and a method of validating that the fix worked. Some other common content types that have special considerations are:
- Informational article
- Troubleshooting article
Style and Usage
This section will include some of the more basic grammar rules that help
- How and when to use abbreviations
- Capitalization rules for titles and subtitles
- Time, time zone, and date format
Using the same term to refer to the same concept, object, program, or person makes your content more easily understood. Naturally the specific terms you'll need to include will depend on your industry. The more technical your content, the more terms will need to be defined to ensure that support content is written in accessible terms for all readers. A style guide for a technology company will need to define, for example, whether to use "PC" or "computer." In directions on navigating a mobile app interface, should users "press," "tap," or "touch" interface items?
Some other terms to consider:
- Terms for people: Are they customers, clients, end users, or something else?
- Spelling, capitalization, and trademarks for your products and services
Fonts & Formatting
Establishing guidelines for formatting makes your content more consistent. No matter the audience, a consistent content experience creates trust. Some elements to include:
- Fonts and styles for headlines, running text, and tables
- Guidelines for the appropriate use of bold, italics, and color
This is part of KM Path™ Phase 4
This article is part of Build and Test, the fourth step in Irrevo's KM Path methodology. Effective knowledge programs are complex systems with a lot of moving parts. By fully building out and rigorously testing your knowledge program, you ensure that it works well, right from the start.
Irrevo's KM Path is the proprietary methodology we designed to help you plan, build, launch, and optimize your knowledge program. Learn more
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