Have you provided communicators inside your organization with writing guidelines for employee communications? Most brands have extensive brand guidelines for consumer advertising and other communications with the outside world, but many companies haven’t yet developed internal guides for writing style or graphic design.
At Tribe, we preach that your internal brand should look and feel as professional and engaging as your external brand. To achieve that goal, internal communicators need the tools to appropriately reflect the voice of your employer brand.
Here are some elements we recommend be included in an a writing guidelines for internal communications:
Start with tone of voice. See this post to help you develop your thoughts on how to define your brand’s tone of voice. Your internal tone of voice may be a little more casual and friendly than the external one — or it might allow for greater use of scientific or industry-specific terms that employees are more likely to know than the general public.
You might also provide writing guidelines on issues like passive voice vs active, present tense vs past, using first or last names on second mention of a person, whether to capitalize job titles and if contractions are preferred or not.
Decide on a style guide that writers can reference for everything else, like the Associated Press Stylebook. You might also recommend a guide specific to online writing, such as BuzzFeed’s Style Guide. Other guides you might consider are the Diversity Style Guide, the Conscious Style Guide and/or the GLAAD Media Reference.
The Specifics should give writers easy access to information specific to your company. Start with the correct usage of the company name and any products or service lines (include information on trademarks and service marks), as well as any existing brand language.
Your writing guidelines should also include key messages, especially established language that writers can copy and paste. Provide external messaging, such as descriptions of the company, the brand promise, its product or service lines and any tag lines or descriptors. Then add important internal messaging, like the mission statement, vision and values, the employee value proposition and possibly business strategies.
THE CHEAT SHEET:
Make it easy for writers to get it right. Give them a quick reference guide with information like the names and titles of those in leadership positions, a listing of departments, geographic locations or business units and a translation of the commonly used acronyms in your company and industry.
Interested in developing your internal brand and writing guidelines? Tribe can help.