A universal style guide is essential for your organization’s content and messaging success. It can provide clear guidance to eliminate brand failures that originate from inconsistency or miscommunication among your content team. A style guide can foster the consistency of ‘one voice’ in documents from various content authors within the company. This is particularly notable for proposal writers and sales teams that disseminate external content in documents created to win new business. As prospective clients evaluate these sales documents, such as proposals and responses to RFPs, the documents must be created with the consistency of brand and formatting to put your company in the best possible light amidst competitors. The style guide presents standards that define your company’s branding, including grammar, colors, tone, and more.
What is a Company Style Guide?
The purpose of a style guide is to ensure that documents conform to corporate style and branding. Keep your style guide manageable – a good benchmark is 4 or 5 pages. Authors will use the guide as a resource, so it should be written like one. Start with a brief introduction and create a Table of Contents. After corporate style and branding, often the next most important use of the style guide is to answer internal questions about the preferred presentation. Your style guide should make clear how authors present:
- Headings (and how they are capitalized)
- Lists (whether they are capitalized and how they are punctuated)
- Numbers (when they should be spelled in full)
- Rules for chapter, figure and table headings (including numbering)
A brand’s image is often attributable to what it says and how it says it. If your published content always adheres to these rules, you will gain credibility that would otherwise not be possible.
Creating a Proposal Style Guide
A style guide is essential for creating and maintaining a consistent voice in your company’s brand. Today’s proposals and RFP responses can include inputs from numerous departments and sources, with varied writing styles and formatting habits that can make your proposal look like a jumble as content from contributors is assembled into documents. A style guide defines your organization’s standards for use in all documents, presentations, and other materials, ideally with examples. A style guide can ensure that content comes through with consistency in format and language, regardless of who prepares the input. All while allowing you the time to focus on fine-tuning your proposal at hand.
Proposal writers can benefit from the guide in numerous ways, including creating better proposals in less time and, ultimately, the success of proposals.
A style guide can be extremely useful when it comes to proposal writing. Your proposals will look more professional and follow the same format as all other content published by your company. Potential clients will quickly form an impression of your organization’s professionalism based on your consistency of message, which can improve successful win rates.
How Expedience Software Can Help
Once you’ve created a style guide, there are several ways Expedience can incorporate the styles into your proposal-ready content. In preparation for implementation, we will review current templates, styles, and processes and use this information to design the layout of the Microsoft Word ribbons that will house your content library, all while locking down branding and formatting requirements. The outcome is a content library with curated, formatted, and consistent branding for use in creating professional-looking proposals with ease.
For more information, contact us today!