Most organisations have an idea of how they want to be portrayed to clients or the public. They will have a brand and know what their values are.
With many people all creating writing on behalf of an organisation, including freelance copywriters or editors, it would be difficult to be consistent across all communications without a reference tool.
Creating and using a writing style guide makes an organisation look professional, ensures clear communication, and creates a cohesive brand.
A client may not consciously recognise that there is consistency in the writing style choices, but they will notice if there is not.
I’m sure we've all experienced the feeling when we've spent hours creating a detailed report with important information only for the reader to skim it and put it aside.
What if they missed an important point? How will they make a decision based on a quick skim read?
Or you write a short report on an issue with well-thought-out recommendations, and the reception is not as positive as you expected.
Most people don’t have spare hours to read each report that arrives on their desk. But they need to be able to find the important information quickly to make decisions.
The answer is to use the right structure for your content so that the important information will be read and understood. Once they have the key information, the reader can then decide whether they will need to read the entire report to fill in the detail.
Marja Stack is an editor and plain language consultant based in New Zealand. She is the owner of Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, which caters to all writers of non-fiction books, business publications and cookbooks. For more information or enquiries on how she can help you make your writing shine, please see her website.
- What is plain English?
- Why you should use plain English
- How to write in plain English
New Zealand English Series
- NZE: How to use a semicolon
- NZE: The 'singular they'
- NZE: How to use italics
- NZE: How to write numbers
- NZE: How to write abbreviations
- NZE: How to punctuate dialogue
- NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
- NZE: How to write times and dates
- NZE: Possessives
- NZE: Is our spelling different?
- NZE: Burned vs Burnt
- NZE: Using Māori words in English text
- NZE: -ise vs -ize endings
- NZE: Single or double quote marks
- NZE: Punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?
The Editing Process
- How to write a non-fiction book that sells
- How to write a book to promote your business
- Copyright and Permissions
- How much does editing cost?
- How to self-publish your book in New Zealand
- When is my book ready for publishing?
- Types of editing
- 5 things to tell your editor
- The revision and editing process
- What are beta readers?
- What to expect when you get your manuscript back
- How to order the pages of a book
- Fact checking fiction writing
- Formatting your manuscript for submission
- How long does it take to edit a book?
- Why I belong to editing associations
- How to write recipes for cookbooks and blogs
- The basics of writing a cookbook
- How to use Tracked Changes in Word
- How to use basic Word Styles
- How to fix common formatting errors in Word