It’s been several months since you rebranded your product, and your marketing team members have been working round the clock. They’ve created some really great content and materials. You’re super excited to share the numbers with the board because they’re going to be great; how can they not?
But when the figures come in, you’ve actually seen a decline. The great content doesn’t seem to have had the effect you predicted. What went wrong? As you pour over your content, you see the problem. Piece by piece, everything is great. But on the macro level, nothing is lining up. There’s no consistency. There are no standards. There are no tools to keep everyone on the same page. You know what’s missing: content guidelines.
With a little help, your content can be reshaped to a set of standards defined by content guidelines and you will see the improvements in ROI you’ve been looking for.
What Are Content Guidelines?
They are the parameters laid out in advance for all writers, designers, and marketers to adhere to. These parameters will cover how your brand works, set consistent style guides (like colours and fonts), and let everyone know what your business goals are. It will also let employees know how your content will support and help achieve these goals and what that looks like on a tactical level.
Now that we have a working idea of what they are, here are some reasons why you need a comprehensive set of content guidelines in order to boost ROI.
When marketing, sales, and every department in your company is creating new content, content guidelines lay out how all the materials work together. If marketing uses one set of colours, and sales another, you’re losing recognizable elements that help your brand stick in the consumer’s mind.
With a document everyone works from to know what the proper colours, logos, and parameters are, no matter where clients go they will always recognize your brand and the service you provide.
Outlines Standards and Rules
These rules are not meant to stifle creativity but to create consistency across content, regardless if it’s on social media, your blog, your ads, or your web pages.
Standards and rules let everyone know how to use each element. For example, they detail how much space should be left around logos, what different versions of the logo should be used depending on the situation, and why you should be including the logo in this content (but not in this one).
Regardless of where you go in the company, everyone will be using the materials in the same way, which means everyone is improving brand consistency and helping the company reach its marketing goals.
You know your brand and what you need to achieve, but the new intern in marketing does not. A content guidelines document allows every new hire to get on the same page quickly while simultaneously providing a reference guide for experienced employees.
Everyone will end up working with the same guides and will have a shared lexicon when referencing content. By eliminating confusion, you’re creating a level of cohesion across your content that helps build a strong brand. Without it, you’re undermining the efforts of your marketing and sales team to solidify your product in the minds of consumers.
Brand content guidelines are the glue that is going to hold your content strategy together. They create consistency and eliminate confusion, which means every piece of content is created and executed with purpose towards accomplishing your business goals and increasing your inbound marketing ROI.