When you have content in lots of different places, it can be a challenge to maintain consistency in writing. But, it’s a necessary challenge. A writing voice that varies from medium to medium, or even from page to page, can appear jarring and unprofessional to readers. And nobody wants that!
Your nonprofit’s writing style should stay consistent through its website, blog, brochures, flyers, social media channels, newsletter and any other medium it may use.
Consistency in Writing
Consistency is important for unifying all of your nonprofit’s content. For example, if your About Us page is written very conversationally in first person, but your nonprofit’s newsletter is written in a more distant and professional third person, your content as a whole appears disjointed to readers. Content is a way for your audience to get to know your nonprofit better, and using multiple writing styles disrupts the get-to-know-you process.
That’s not to say you can only have one writer for all of your content. Having multiple writers can be a huge benefit when it comes to the quantity and quality of content, but it requires a personalized style guide of best practices.
That being said…
Try Not to Spread Out Writing Tasks
You know what they say about having too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s nice to be able to spread out tasks so that one person is not doing all of the writing. But be careful with how many people you involve. If you decide to use more than one writer, be sure to create a style guide and familiarize each writer with the guide.
Use One Voice, Tone and Style
All of these are related to one another and work together to form your nonprofit’s content, so let’s break down some of these writing terms.
- Voice is your nonprofit’s persona that is infused in all of the content, It’s a combination of diction, punctuation, style, tone, storytelling, calls to action and everything else that goes into great nonprofit writing.
- Tone, though similar to voice, can be boiled down to the level of formality in your nonprofit’s writing.
- Style is more technical. It involves syntax, or the structure of the sentences, as well as word choice and grammar.
When writing content, a lot of tiny decisions need to be made and referred back to in order to keep it consistent. For instance, you should decide whether to use first or third person, whether to speak conversationally or professionally, and whether or not to use the Oxford comma.
Luckily for you, we wrote a blog post on how to find your voice in writing. You can use it as a starting point to developing your nonprofit’s content persona.
Create a Writing Guide
We mentioned this one earlier, and it’s finally time to pull it all together. Once you make a style decision, write it down! Creating a guide so that multiple people can use your nonprofit’s voice, tone and style (and so you can remember all of your decisions) will be a lifesaver.
Get Our Style & Branding Guide Template
Use this template to keep notes about your branding and style choices for your nonprofit’s website. Make sure your visitors have a consistent experience on every page.
A set of rules and standards can establish best practices in usage and composition. Provide information on all of these writing elements, as well as information on all of the platforms and mediums that you publish and how to write for each one. This way, you can direct writers here to ensure consistency in writing.
If there are too many places to post and people posting, the risk of your nonprofit’s voice losing its clarity increases. So when it comes to consistency in writing, taking the time to spell out voice and style to writers can make a huge difference.
How does your nonprofit accommodate its writing style to different channels and writers? Do you have anything to add to our list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!