January 20th, 2021 by Jane Turner
Yes, companies use Style Sheets. And YOU should be using one!
There. I said it. (Phew! Feels good to get that out!)
Yes, it’s true that Style sheets are most commonly used by authors. Because you can’t go changing your main character’s eye colour half way through a book.
But Style Sheets could be considered even more important for business than for authors.
As a business, you’re constantly marketing and producing text – whether you’re blogging, writing white papers or articles, or just posting on social media. You’re even constantly communicating with your own people, particularly if you’re an international business.
This post will give you some things to think about, and hopefully persuade you to integrate a Style Sheet in your business.
(And if you already know you want one, just get in touch! I can help create it for you.)
You’ve seen my other post about Style Guides and Style Sheets, yes? If not, here’s a link. Style Guides Post
So, you know that Style Guides outline the most common and best ways to use the specifics of punctuation, grammar, capitalisation and how to best prepare text for print or electronic communications.
You know that there are different Style Guides for different Englishes – New Hart’s Rules for the UK, CMoS or AP for the US, Editing Canada, etc., etc.
And, you know that your business has Branding Guidelines – specific colours to be used, specific ways your logo can be used, what kind of photographs look best, etc., etc. – which bring consistency to your brand.
Well, a Style Sheet takes your brand guidelines one step further.
A Style Sheet brings consistency to your text.
A Style Sheet for Business can help make you consistent, professional, reinforce and extend your Brand, and increase your client trust.
Your Style Sheet should include more than which English you want to use!
Some of the basics that your business Style Sheet should cover are:-
|Capitalisation: which words should be capped, and which shouldn't.||Punctuation: the Oxford comma, semicolons, colons, parentheses, ellipses and dashes - use or not?||Hyphenation: when to hyphenate, and when not to.|
|Numbers: Should these be numerals or words?||Abbreviations: What can be abbreviated, and how? Period or no period at the end?||Italics: When should italics be used?|
|Quotations: How do you treat quotations? Italics? Quoter's name in bold?||Bibliography: Do you put lists of references or links in your articles? How do you format them?||Contents: Do you have a Contents section on your larger documents?|
|Foreign / latin words: Pro bono, habeas corpus, parfumerie - italics or roman?||Lists and Tables: How should these be formatted?||Acronyms: Those 3-letter bugbears! Will you have a glossary?|
There are plenty of other things that can be added, depending on your business and the industry you’re in.
Things like: how illustrations should be placed and captioned, what information about your company should be included on articles, where it should be placed (Lead paragraph? Footer?), and spelling / capitalisations for industry specific words.
The items included in your Style Sheet can be what you use regularly, or all inclusive – it’s entirely up to you.
Essentially, a Style Sheet will bring consistency to your business documents, publications and marketing.
No matter who writes the content, the stylistic elements will be the same, and recognisably coming from your business.
Well, there are loads of Style Sheet templates out there on the web. You could build your own, if you have the time and inclination for research.
Or, you can ask a professional (like me!) to create one for you, using their knowledge of the standards in your geographic region and the Style Guide most used for your chosen language.
And all it would take is a couple of discussions!
GET IN TOUCH and we can talk about exactly what you need.
I’ll use your personal preferences, Style Guides and industry specifics to build a unique Style Sheet for your business.
Believe me, your marketing team will love it!