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Writing Style Guide

A writing style guide is a comprehensive reference, that often links to other references, and includes standards for grammar, punctuation, word choice, style, tone, and more.

There are many existing style guides, but it's important to create a company-specific writing style guide that captures all the basic writing rules for everyone to agree to follow. Content governed by a style guide, even when written by many authors, appears to be written by the same voice with consistent conventions.

Elements of a style guide

A company style guide is a living document that evolves over time, but should always contain some important components.

Choose an existing style manual, such as AP Stylebook or Chicago Manual of Style, that fits best with your industry and contains comprehensive standards for grammar and word choice.

Your company style guide does not need to be as comprehensive, but should include:

  • Documented exceptions where your company writing style deviates from the external style guide
  • Replicated or modified entries for the most commonly referenced elements of writing style
  • Usage dictionary of terms or jargon relevant to your business and writing 

Example company style guides

Some companies have developed and shared their own style guides that are excellent models for self-service content style guides:

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