Kate Novozhilova

Editorial line: what, why, how

If all this stuff is triggering you, then you need an editorial line — a single set of rules that helps write texts uniformly. Especially if you have several channels of communication with customers.

Writing texts without an editorial line is like cooking with a recipe you don’t remember too well: the result is always unpredictable. One time you mix slang words with formal ones, another — chop target audience’s attention with too frequent emoji using.
The editorial line is a document — clear instruction — which helps you write texts in a uniform manner time after time. It describes a brand ToV and other important details such as abbreviations, rules for writing brand’s services or other formal concepts.

Why do you need an editorial line?

The editorial line is especially important if several authors or, moreover, several agencies write texts for one brand. Only based on the editorial line, the authors are able to make the transition of communication from channel to channel "seamless". In this way, the brand is able to "talk" in a single concept everywhere: in emails, articles, social networks and advertising.

Using an editorial line — the right way for authors

OpenExamineWrite your text Compare it to the editorial line Correct mistakes. Seems like it’s the end
But it’s not, of course.
Figure out what kind of audience you are writing for. In a good editorial line its description is given from the very beginning.
Find out the brand's mission and its ToV.
Study the editorial line before writing.
Pay special attention to corporate names and terminology. For example, if a brand calls its loyalty program "Club Bonus", it's not a good idea to use "Bonus Club" instead. Even if it seems better.
Abbreviations, currency signs, emojis (or their absence), 1,000 or 1 000 — all these things are important. As soon as you write a text, run through such details in the editorial line several times and then correct everything that is wrong.
How to build your own editorial line
Step 0. Discuss the idea with the client (if you are outsourced)
Сonsider what the editorial line should contain from the client's perspective: ideology, mission, ToV, a list of spelling rules. Perhaps he has his own opinion.
Step 1. Read the editorial lines of other brands
We do not recommend looking over someone’s shoulder and cheating, but finding inspiration — why not? Learn the structure, pay attention to the logic and which sections an editorial line can contain.
Step 2. Make the structure
Move from the general to specific.
Start with describing the brand's target audience and its character. Specify ToV of the brand, so that later the author understands who and how he should addresses on behalf of the brand.
Specify how to make sentences. It seems strange at first, but it might be important, for example, to talk about important and useful things from the very beginning, and leave all the beauty at the end.
Then it’s time to talk about words. Specify the features of writing that are already accepted in the company.
you» or «You»? (We do not recommend the last variant!)
How to write brand names correctly?
Which words are forbidden?
How to write numbers and currencies?
Which words are written against all rules and logic?
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Step 3. Fill the gaps
Go through the brand’s texts and find out what you didn't take into account in the second step. If you find something, make sure it is a rule, not a mistake.
Attach some useful links to the "skeleton" of the editorial line: examples of good texts, links to articles from dictionaries or share good spelling services.
Give examples. Everywhere. Always. Relentlessly. It’s easier to remember examples than rules.
Step 4. Make edits
Update your editorial line as soon as new decisions about the tone and character of the brand appear.
For example, should you emphasize a brand's opinion on social issues or is it better to be detached? That’s the question, right?
Step 5. Open access
The Swords team (“that-guys” with experience) is happy to make an editorial line for you: clear, structured, convenient for working within the company and outsourcing.
с радостью составит для вас редполитику: чёткую, структурированную, удобную для работы внутри компании и на аутсорсе.

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