Got Style? Common Writing Style Guides and Why You Should Use Them

When it comes to marketing your company’s products or services, style matters. No, I’m not talking about the latest fashion trends. Crop tops and cargo pants won’t earn you more business, but using a writing style guide can help get your message across.

The more content you create and publish, the more important your style guide becomes. Here are five reasons following a writing style guide matters:

  1. Consistency
    A writing style guide ensures language, grammar, and formatting consistency across all marketing materials. A consistent message increases brand recognition and credibility.

  2. Professionalism
    A standardized writing style reflects professionalism. This attention to detail helps establish trust with your target audience while enhancing your brand image.

  3. Clarity and Readability
    Style guides provide guidelines for clear and concise writing. They offer specific grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure rules that improve readability. These rules help your audience quickly understand your marketing message.

  4. Compliance with Academic Standards
    In certain industries, such as healthcare and education, adherence to a specific style guide (like AMA, APA, or MLA) is necessary to meet academic standards. If your business targets an audience that values academic rigor, refer to the appropriate style guide so your marketing materials align with their expectations.

  5. Adaptability to Different Media
    Marketing materials are often repurposed for various media platforms, including print, web, social media, and email campaigns. A writing style guide provides guidelines for adapting the content to different formats while maintaining consistency and professionalism.

So, what are the most common writing style guides for major US industries and marketing?

  • AP (Associated Press): You’ll see the AP style guide used in the journalism and media industry. This guide can help you deliver news and information in a clear, journalistic style. It provides guidelines for news writing, including rules for grammar, punctuation, and citing sources.

  • Chicago Manual of Style: The Chicago Manual of Style is a comprehensive style guide used in various industries, including publishing, academia, and professional writing. It covers grammar, citations, manuscript preparation, and writing conventions across different media formats.

  • MLA (Modern Language Association): Humanities, arts, and literature fields typically use MLA style. It offers guidelines for citing sources, formatting papers, and organizing bibliographies.

  • AMA (American Medical Association): The medical and scientific fields primarily use the AMA style guide. It provides guidelines for citing sources, formatting references, and writing scientific articles.

  • APA (American Psychological Association): Social sciences and education disciplines (including marketing) often use the APA style guide. It offers rules for citations, referencing, and formatting academic papers, specifically focusing on psychology-related research.

As a marketer, what could be better than clean documents that reflect consistency (and clarity) with correctly formatted citations and abbreviations? From the standpoint of copyeditors and graphic designers, a good style guide streamlines the design and review processes — ultimately saving you money (and minimizing headaches). And as a customer, what could be better than compelling, easy-to-understand marketing materials that help you make wise purchasing decisions?

Using writing style guides is a win-win-win for everyone involved! If you need help deciding on (or developing) a style guide for your business, the team at Christianson Design would love to help. Request your complimentary consultation at

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