Content creation is one of the biggest industries in the world. Whether it’s copywriters putting sentences together for company websites or blogs, YouTubers creating videos across a plethora of topics, or journalists writing in-depth articles, around the globe one thing remains true – content is important.
The important concern for any publication, business or brand is how to control that content – especially the written word. Every writer has their own style, their own preferred way of stringing syntax together and when writing under a single, unified voice it’s important to ensure that everything is coherent across every article. That’s why style guides are integral and why we use them on a daily basis to ensure an unwavering quality without limiting our writers’ creativity.
The Benefits of a Style Guide
It doesn’t matter if you’re a team of people toiling away in the office or a disparate group of remote workers like us, the single most valuable use of a style guide is to maintain a consistent voice with every article. It’s necessary to ensure that each writer sticks to the same preferences across the board; there’s no strict rule in the English language that says it absolutely must be ‘antivirus’ and not ‘anti-virus’, for instance, and style guides help avoid a mix of preferences.
We’re an international group of writers and editors meaning that for some of us English isn’t our native language, and we’re not so proud to believe that mistakes will never sneak in. But that’s where our style guides come in, with these we can stamp out repeat errors or common issues that might arise and ensure a quality to every single word – regardless of who wrote it.
There’s an assumption that writers know every single word, that they know all the rules inherently and that if one slip up slips in, then they’re somehow failures. That’s an unfair fallacy: no one can improve without first making mistakes, and so to help our writers – new and old – grow in their abilities, our style guides help introduce particular rules and regulations that need to be followed. It makes our writers better and, therefore, it makes our content better.
How to Maintain a Style
It’s not enough to just have a style guide. Writers can be stubborn at times, and unless you have someone to enforce these guidelines then it’ll never properly work out. This can play out a number of different ways, but we prefer collaboration.
Primarily this means having a first check by one editor and then a fuller, more thorough check by a second. Once any edits have been made, it’s passed back onto the writer who may even have some questions about those tweaks. If this is the case then everyone involved has a quick discussion to find a solution, and the finalized article is then uploaded.
The benefit of having access to these style guides means that there’s always something to refer back to if it’s needed. We regularly recap these style guides on a semi-often basis, too, which not only helps share any newly discovered issues but has the added bonus of giving everyone a refresher on the stylistic rules – useful for those particularly stubborn writers!
What Do clovio’s Style Guides Cover?
Writing & Style
There are certain stylistic decisions that clovio wants to stick to, aspects like how much bolding we should use, what format headers should take, and whether or not we should use a serial comma (note: we should). We even put together a review writing guide to help our newcomers and veterans alike grasp the expectations of our core articles.
We favor U.S. spelling despite our European headquarters, so we have a guide to remind our writers and editors of the most commonly overlooked American variations. It’s here that we also detail preferential spellings and common mistakes, too, such as how you might ‘google’ something – with lower case.
Content production is a multifunctional role; we might be writers but we’re also image editors, too, since that’s often the first thing you’ll see in any article. That’s why we have a style guide to dictate not only the sorts of images to use and their resolutions, aspect ratios and file formats, but also to explain how to actually create a suitable image for an article – because we’re not all artists!