Anatomy of a content style guide - Greenpeace UK

Anatomy of a content style guide - Greenpeace UK

10 minute read

Anatomy of a content style guide - Greenpeace UK

10 minute read

Anatomy of a content style guide - Greenpeace UK

Robert Mills

Head of Content, GatherContent

Greenpeace are an organisation known for their dedication to making the world a better place. A key part of how they achieve this is through communication. They have to explain complex situations clearly, they need to write for diverse audiences, their copy needs to incite action, and they must be inclusive, empathetic and accessible in their content.

To help achieve this, Greenpeace UK recently teamed up with Laura Robertson and Julius Honnor from Contentious to create a website content style guide. As part of our Anatomy of a Content Style Guide series, I spoke with Laura and Julius to find out more about how the style guide was planned, created and disseminated.

Help needed to create consistent and effective content

A bigger change at an organisation can often be the route to getting other projects agreed and off the ground. For Greenpeace UK, planning a new website was their prompt for tackling and introducing a content style guide. Why invest in all that new content if there is no guidance thereafter to ensure future content is consistent in style and quality?

Preparing for the website redesign shone the spotlight on the content (and the processes, people and technology around it) and it became clear that they had lots of different people working on their website content, both inside and outside of the organisation, and they weren’t always aligned. This is a common scenario, especially with big organisations where there may be silos and/or decentralised publishing models.

A content style guide won’t solve all of these issues. But it will help an organisation move towards a shared understanding of language, style and formatting.

Greenpeace UK didn’t have an official style guide for their website. Julius said that ‘they had some really good, strategic documentation’ but that it ‘wasn’t really designed for editors creating content – it didn’t have the practical examples.’ Already Julius and Laura were starting to build a picture of what the content style guide needed. The final style guide is published online for all to see, and this article will look at each section in more detail.



An image showing the homepage of the Greenpeace UK online content style guide.

Centralising and connecting information

One of the challenges when planning the content style guide was getting all of the information from people across the organisation. Whilst there was no formal guidance in place around the content, a lot of the information Laura and Julius needed existed in people’s heads. The team had a wealth of knowledge; it needed to be extracted, connected, and shared.

Greenpeace UK also had specific style guides that had been designed for particular campaigns. These combined visual and linguistic guidelines. They worked on a campaign by campaign basis to help creators use the appropriate vocabulary, but there was no overarching style guide for more general content requirements.

Key to any project like this is having an internal champion. For Laura and Julius, they worked closely with Fran Grobke who is Deputy Head of Digital Mobilisation at Greenpeace UK and was the project lead for the website redesign. Fran had worked with Contentious previously and really understood the value of content strategy and the potential of a content style guide. This meant the style guide was considered and invested in, not just a box-ticking exercise on a list of deliverables.

A purposeful style guide driven by a new website

Every content style guide needs a purpose, like the content it provides guidance for. The purpose of the Greenpeace UK content style guide was driven by the new website. But there are aspirations beyond this for the purpose to evolve. The intentions of the style guide are stated in the introduction:

An excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide outlining its purpose.


There are also content principles which underpin all of the content the guide seeks to help people create:

Greenpeace UK content principles as per their style guide. Image shows one example: Have a clear purpose.

The ‘What does this mean in practice’ is a brilliant addition because it gives gravitas and meaning to the principles.  It’s practical and actionable advice aligned to the principles.

The additional principles are:

  • Put the user first/focus on the audience.
  • Choose quality over quantity.
  • Include the right people for the right reasons.
  • Teamwork makes the dreamwork.
  • Test, iterate and learn.
  • Be open and transparent.
  • Promote flexibility and modularity.

There were some gaps in the existing guidance and documentation that the style guide aimed to fill. For example, their voice and tone wasn’t articulated anywhere. It was clear it needed to be included, and there are separate sections for both voice and tone in the new style guide:

The style guide explains what voice is and then lists the different characteristics that make Greenpeace’s voice distinctive:

A sample of the voice rules in the Greenpeace UK content style guide. This one says: Bold but not brash.


  • Bold but not brash.
  • Dynamic and energetic but not frenetic.
  • Daring but not reckless.
  • Idealistic but not impractical.
  • Playful and fun but not silly.
  • Cheeky and irreverent but not rude.
  • Approachable but not cutesy.
  • Opinionated but not strident.

As these characteristics can be subjective and open to interpretation, the style guide includes examples for each, to show as well as tell. Here’s the example for approachable but not cutesy:

Another voice example from the Greenpeace UK content style guide: Approachable but not cutesy.

A similar approach has been taken in the tone section where they explain that the tone flexes to suit different circumstances and audiences. 

The tone section from the Greenpeace UK content style guide stating they are 'friendly'

As you can see from the example above, they also show how writers can achieve the different nuances of their tone. All of this advice allows writers to draw out the personality and make it recognisable through their content.

Laura and Julius didn’t have to look far to find real-life examples. They combed actual Greenpeace content for positive examples to show how to do it right. They didn’t want to use real content as an example of how not to do it and make anyone feel like they were being called out.

Deciding the scope of a content style guide

Deciding on what to include and what not to include when planning and creating a content style guide can be tricky. You need to provide enough guidance, context and examples to be useful. But you don’t want to be so prescriptive that it becomes more time consuming to find what you need in the guide than it is to create the content in the first place.

Being an online guide also means it is easier to add to over time, without extortionate print costs or too much project management.

For this project, the scope was partly decided by a fairly tight timeline to work to (10 weeks). That was instrumental in deciding that the scope of the project was never going to go beyond content. There were conversations around future editions and iterations such as integrating the content style guide with a wider design system. 

But keeping the scope focused had its advantages. Laura discussed how they consulted and engaged a lot of stakeholders early on, making it easier to make progress. 

Despite the tight focus on content, it’s not a barebones style guide, it’s very comprehensive. 

Where appropriate they also link to other style guides and guidance for further information:

Image showing an excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide about using the Guardian style guide for rules on spelling.


This makes perfect sense. There’s no point reinventing the wheel, and referring to an external source can be easier than agreeing your own set of conventions. It also means you can spend your time writing bespoke examples that you can’t find elsewhere, rather than rewriting existing rules.

An important example of this from the Greenpeace UK style guide is here:


An example of words to use and avoid in the Greenpeace UK content style guide. Describe ships as it, not as she.

That example is specific to Greenpeace UK and so spending time on that is more valuable than generic rules.

A shorter timeline for creating the style guide also meant there wasn’t time for endless debate. Firm deadlines were put in place for feedback and if people missed them it was too late, the conversation had moved on. Momentum had to be retained throughout.

Getting stakeholders involved in creating a content style guide

When it comes to creating a content style guide, it may be one person or a small team who are actually tasked with creating it, but lots of people will need input. Uh-oh!

Contentious took a pragmatic approach to engage their stakeholders. As Erin Crews from Mailchimp said when I spoke to them about their style guide, if you want people to use the style guide once it’s done, bring them along for the ride.

With the help of their internal content champion, Fran, Julius and Laura organised a workshop with a good cross-section of colleagues from around the organisation. Laura told me they ran a ‘really practical session that allowed us to tease out everything that was in the stakeholders’ heads.’ From there they got as much alignment as possible, which was easier with everyone in the same room. Working with stakeholders, Contentious developed a set of principles and used those as the foundations for decision-making. 

To uncover the Greenpeace voice and tone, everyone was asked to draw a picture of what they thought Greenpeace looked like. That removed words and descriptors and started to achieve the sought after alignment. 

For messaging, participants were tasked with writing a piece of content using as many Greenpeace cliches as they could and then thought about alternative ways of saying what they wrote. That can be a good first step to breaking bad habits. 

The workshop wasn’t about “Should we bold this? Rather, it was a way of getting an organisation-wide understanding of their personality and thinking about how that can be communicated through content.

The process (and tools needed) to create the content style guide

How do you create a content style guide? For Contentious, they dove straight into a Google Doc. This is the version that stakeholders used to provide feedback. At an agreed cut-off point it became the HTML site. Julius has written in more detail about the technical process for creating it and the tools used.

Being online means it is easier to maintain and keep up to date. Contentious also wanted to avoid leaving Greenpeace with a lot of technical debt, so simplicity, usability and usefulness were key.

Inspiration was also drawn from other existing style guides. This was in relation to the structure, such as the side menu:

A visual of the side menu from the Greenpeace UK content style guide. Showing menu items including fundamentals, active voice, and spelling.

Using the Mailchimp and 18F style guides also acted as a checklist for Julius and Laura who were able to refer to them and ask things like:

  • Have we included this?
  • Have we considered that? 
  • We don’t need that, do we?

This brings us back again to referencing and linking to our sources. Laura and Julius knew they wanted to include something around inclusivity but felt there was no need to create too many of their own rules around this when perfectly suitable ones exist. As you can see here, in addition to their own guidance, they link to other guides:

An excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide showing their stance on inclusivity.


Similarly, the accessibility section includes a link to the W3C guidelines.

It’s clear the style guide has been well considered, collaborative and focused. But we know getting people to use it is a whole new challenge. As the style guide has only existed for a couple of months, Greenpeace UK are still onboarding people to it but were able to offer some insight into their dissemination efforts to date.

Getting people to use your content style guide - learning from experience

Firstly, they made it easy to use by including lots of examples. It’s practical and genuinely helps content creators, editors and reviewers. They purposely didn’t want it to be a rule book that made people feel they were marking their work against prescriptive criteria.

Laura hit the nail on the head when she said the style guide exists to make people’s lives easier. It’s also an example in itself of a usable web site and the content is written in the tone, voice and style it conveys.

For me, the Greenpeace style guide gets so much right, and for that, I think it is an asset for their content creators. There are no unnecessary sections and there’s no long-winded scene-setting. It’s concise, practical, useful and well written.

It’s also set up for different audiences and uses. Need the fundamentals as a refresher? They’ve got you covered:

The Fundamental section of the Greenpeace UK content style guide.


And then there are more detailed sections if their writers need to dig a little deeper into abbreviations and acronyms, or if they need precise information on formatting of numbers, for example. Within the language and style section, there is a part on active voice. Here they continue with the useful examples, providing some for how to write in the active voice, and they’ve added how not to do it for even more clarity and guidance:

The active voice section of the Greenpeace UK content style guide

The content elements section is fantastic. Here they include guidance for:

  • Bold and italics
  • Buttons
  • Headings
  • Links
  • Quotes

Again, no long-winded explanations, straight to the information needed so writers can be confident they have formatted the headings in the right way without spending a lot of time figuring it out. This is where a style guide adds value as a useful tool to help writers.

Heading rules from the Greenpeace UK content style guide


Empowering writers and ensuring accountability

When we were talking about the style guide being online, easily accessible, Laura mentioned accountability. This was something I hadn’t considered in terms of an outcome for not keeping the style guide hidden away, but it makes a lot of sense:

Having the style guide online and open helps accountability. If you show your style guide to the world and then don't follow your own guidance, you risk being called out.

Laura Robertson. Co-founder and Chief Content Strategist, Contentious Ltd.

The timing was an important part of getting the style guide off the ground. It wasn’t a case of chucking new guidance at the team during business as usual. The website redesign was a catalyst and platform for change.

In keeping with Greenpeace’s people-powered culture, the style guide is designed to enable people, something which Julius said was forefront in their minds during the project. 

Laura mentioned that it meant conversations could be started in a more empowering way). Rather than say ‘you have to do things differently now’, those conversations could be framed as, ‘can you write some content for the new site and here’s a useful thing to help you do that.’

It’s also democratic, including a call to action for people to make suggestions, recommend changes and be involved in its maintenance:

An excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide stating how users can suggest updates to the guide.

This style guide was always meant to be a useful tool. Laura and Julius had mentioned seeing many brand guidelines that barely touch on content.


Often brand guidelines, if they touch on content at all, do it in an ineffective, superficial way. You get something on page 97 of the brand guidelines after 30 pages of how you need to leave space around your logo. It has one little list saying "we are bold, we are brave, we are optimistic", and that's about it. Turning that into something more tangible means that hopefully it creates something useful.

Julius Honnor Co-founder and Digital Strategist, Contentious Ltd.

This level of consideration shows in the Greenpeace UK style guide. It may have been delivered in a relatively short space of time, but it doesn’t compromise on value, usefulness and usability. It also draws from other style guides with attribution and respect, with an abundance of consideration for those who will actually be using it.

Top tips for creating a content style guide

As Laura and Julius have worked with stakeholders, done the research, created the guidelines, helped disseminate it and collaborated with a Greenpeace content champion to make the project a success, I wondered what their key advice would be for others about to embark on their own content style guide project. Thankfully, they were happy to share some top tips:

  1. Think about the voice and tone of the guidelines themselves. 
  2. Use real, positive examples.
  3. Put it online; don’t make a PDF!
  4. Concentrate on the organisation-specifics.
  5. Don’t be afraid to build on others’ good work.
  6. Explain how content choices embody the essence of the brand.

With those in mind, check out the Greenpeace UK content style guide for yourself and be inspired, or download our free checklist to get you started.

Greenpeace are an organisation known for their dedication to making the world a better place. A key part of how they achieve this is through communication. They have to explain complex situations clearly, they need to write for diverse audiences, their copy needs to incite action, and they must be inclusive, empathetic and accessible in their content.

To help achieve this, Greenpeace UK recently teamed up with Laura Robertson and Julius Honnor from Contentious to create a website content style guide. As part of our Anatomy of a Content Style Guide series, I spoke with Laura and Julius to find out more about how the style guide was planned, created and disseminated.

Help needed to create consistent and effective content

A bigger change at an organisation can often be the route to getting other projects agreed and off the ground. For Greenpeace UK, planning a new website was their prompt for tackling and introducing a content style guide. Why invest in all that new content if there is no guidance thereafter to ensure future content is consistent in style and quality?

Preparing for the website redesign shone the spotlight on the content (and the processes, people and technology around it) and it became clear that they had lots of different people working on their website content, both inside and outside of the organisation, and they weren’t always aligned. This is a common scenario, especially with big organisations where there may be silos and/or decentralised publishing models.

A content style guide won’t solve all of these issues. But it will help an organisation move towards a shared understanding of language, style and formatting.

Greenpeace UK didn’t have an official style guide for their website. Julius said that ‘they had some really good, strategic documentation’ but that it ‘wasn’t really designed for editors creating content – it didn’t have the practical examples.’ Already Julius and Laura were starting to build a picture of what the content style guide needed. The final style guide is published online for all to see, and this article will look at each section in more detail.



An image showing the homepage of the Greenpeace UK online content style guide.

Centralising and connecting information

One of the challenges when planning the content style guide was getting all of the information from people across the organisation. Whilst there was no formal guidance in place around the content, a lot of the information Laura and Julius needed existed in people’s heads. The team had a wealth of knowledge; it needed to be extracted, connected, and shared.

Greenpeace UK also had specific style guides that had been designed for particular campaigns. These combined visual and linguistic guidelines. They worked on a campaign by campaign basis to help creators use the appropriate vocabulary, but there was no overarching style guide for more general content requirements.

Key to any project like this is having an internal champion. For Laura and Julius, they worked closely with Fran Grobke who is Deputy Head of Digital Mobilisation at Greenpeace UK and was the project lead for the website redesign. Fran had worked with Contentious previously and really understood the value of content strategy and the potential of a content style guide. This meant the style guide was considered and invested in, not just a box-ticking exercise on a list of deliverables.

A purposeful style guide driven by a new website

Every content style guide needs a purpose, like the content it provides guidance for. The purpose of the Greenpeace UK content style guide was driven by the new website. But there are aspirations beyond this for the purpose to evolve. The intentions of the style guide are stated in the introduction:

An excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide outlining its purpose.


There are also content principles which underpin all of the content the guide seeks to help people create:

Greenpeace UK content principles as per their style guide. Image shows one example: Have a clear purpose.

The ‘What does this mean in practice’ is a brilliant addition because it gives gravitas and meaning to the principles.  It’s practical and actionable advice aligned to the principles.

The additional principles are:

  • Put the user first/focus on the audience.
  • Choose quality over quantity.
  • Include the right people for the right reasons.
  • Teamwork makes the dreamwork.
  • Test, iterate and learn.
  • Be open and transparent.
  • Promote flexibility and modularity.

There were some gaps in the existing guidance and documentation that the style guide aimed to fill. For example, their voice and tone wasn’t articulated anywhere. It was clear it needed to be included, and there are separate sections for both voice and tone in the new style guide:

The style guide explains what voice is and then lists the different characteristics that make Greenpeace’s voice distinctive:

A sample of the voice rules in the Greenpeace UK content style guide. This one says: Bold but not brash.


  • Bold but not brash.
  • Dynamic and energetic but not frenetic.
  • Daring but not reckless.
  • Idealistic but not impractical.
  • Playful and fun but not silly.
  • Cheeky and irreverent but not rude.
  • Approachable but not cutesy.
  • Opinionated but not strident.

As these characteristics can be subjective and open to interpretation, the style guide includes examples for each, to show as well as tell. Here’s the example for approachable but not cutesy:

Another voice example from the Greenpeace UK content style guide: Approachable but not cutesy.

A similar approach has been taken in the tone section where they explain that the tone flexes to suit different circumstances and audiences. 

The tone section from the Greenpeace UK content style guide stating they are 'friendly'

As you can see from the example above, they also show how writers can achieve the different nuances of their tone. All of this advice allows writers to draw out the personality and make it recognisable through their content.

Laura and Julius didn’t have to look far to find real-life examples. They combed actual Greenpeace content for positive examples to show how to do it right. They didn’t want to use real content as an example of how not to do it and make anyone feel like they were being called out.

Deciding the scope of a content style guide

Deciding on what to include and what not to include when planning and creating a content style guide can be tricky. You need to provide enough guidance, context and examples to be useful. But you don’t want to be so prescriptive that it becomes more time consuming to find what you need in the guide than it is to create the content in the first place.

Being an online guide also means it is easier to add to over time, without extortionate print costs or too much project management.

For this project, the scope was partly decided by a fairly tight timeline to work to (10 weeks). That was instrumental in deciding that the scope of the project was never going to go beyond content. There were conversations around future editions and iterations such as integrating the content style guide with a wider design system. 

But keeping the scope focused had its advantages. Laura discussed how they consulted and engaged a lot of stakeholders early on, making it easier to make progress. 

Despite the tight focus on content, it’s not a barebones style guide, it’s very comprehensive. 

Where appropriate they also link to other style guides and guidance for further information:

Image showing an excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide about using the Guardian style guide for rules on spelling.


This makes perfect sense. There’s no point reinventing the wheel, and referring to an external source can be easier than agreeing your own set of conventions. It also means you can spend your time writing bespoke examples that you can’t find elsewhere, rather than rewriting existing rules.

An important example of this from the Greenpeace UK style guide is here:


An example of words to use and avoid in the Greenpeace UK content style guide. Describe ships as it, not as she.

That example is specific to Greenpeace UK and so spending time on that is more valuable than generic rules.

A shorter timeline for creating the style guide also meant there wasn’t time for endless debate. Firm deadlines were put in place for feedback and if people missed them it was too late, the conversation had moved on. Momentum had to be retained throughout.

Getting stakeholders involved in creating a content style guide

When it comes to creating a content style guide, it may be one person or a small team who are actually tasked with creating it, but lots of people will need input. Uh-oh!

Contentious took a pragmatic approach to engage their stakeholders. As Erin Crews from Mailchimp said when I spoke to them about their style guide, if you want people to use the style guide once it’s done, bring them along for the ride.

With the help of their internal content champion, Fran, Julius and Laura organised a workshop with a good cross-section of colleagues from around the organisation. Laura told me they ran a ‘really practical session that allowed us to tease out everything that was in the stakeholders’ heads.’ From there they got as much alignment as possible, which was easier with everyone in the same room. Working with stakeholders, Contentious developed a set of principles and used those as the foundations for decision-making. 

To uncover the Greenpeace voice and tone, everyone was asked to draw a picture of what they thought Greenpeace looked like. That removed words and descriptors and started to achieve the sought after alignment. 

For messaging, participants were tasked with writing a piece of content using as many Greenpeace cliches as they could and then thought about alternative ways of saying what they wrote. That can be a good first step to breaking bad habits. 

The workshop wasn’t about “Should we bold this? Rather, it was a way of getting an organisation-wide understanding of their personality and thinking about how that can be communicated through content.

The process (and tools needed) to create the content style guide

How do you create a content style guide? For Contentious, they dove straight into a Google Doc. This is the version that stakeholders used to provide feedback. At an agreed cut-off point it became the HTML site. Julius has written in more detail about the technical process for creating it and the tools used.

Being online means it is easier to maintain and keep up to date. Contentious also wanted to avoid leaving Greenpeace with a lot of technical debt, so simplicity, usability and usefulness were key.

Inspiration was also drawn from other existing style guides. This was in relation to the structure, such as the side menu:

A visual of the side menu from the Greenpeace UK content style guide. Showing menu items including fundamentals, active voice, and spelling.

Using the Mailchimp and 18F style guides also acted as a checklist for Julius and Laura who were able to refer to them and ask things like:

  • Have we included this?
  • Have we considered that? 
  • We don’t need that, do we?

This brings us back again to referencing and linking to our sources. Laura and Julius knew they wanted to include something around inclusivity but felt there was no need to create too many of their own rules around this when perfectly suitable ones exist. As you can see here, in addition to their own guidance, they link to other guides:

An excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide showing their stance on inclusivity.


Similarly, the accessibility section includes a link to the W3C guidelines.

It’s clear the style guide has been well considered, collaborative and focused. But we know getting people to use it is a whole new challenge. As the style guide has only existed for a couple of months, Greenpeace UK are still onboarding people to it but were able to offer some insight into their dissemination efforts to date.

Getting people to use your content style guide - learning from experience

Firstly, they made it easy to use by including lots of examples. It’s practical and genuinely helps content creators, editors and reviewers. They purposely didn’t want it to be a rule book that made people feel they were marking their work against prescriptive criteria.

Laura hit the nail on the head when she said the style guide exists to make people’s lives easier. It’s also an example in itself of a usable web site and the content is written in the tone, voice and style it conveys.

For me, the Greenpeace style guide gets so much right, and for that, I think it is an asset for their content creators. There are no unnecessary sections and there’s no long-winded scene-setting. It’s concise, practical, useful and well written.

It’s also set up for different audiences and uses. Need the fundamentals as a refresher? They’ve got you covered:

The Fundamental section of the Greenpeace UK content style guide.


And then there are more detailed sections if their writers need to dig a little deeper into abbreviations and acronyms, or if they need precise information on formatting of numbers, for example. Within the language and style section, there is a part on active voice. Here they continue with the useful examples, providing some for how to write in the active voice, and they’ve added how not to do it for even more clarity and guidance:

The active voice section of the Greenpeace UK content style guide

The content elements section is fantastic. Here they include guidance for:

  • Bold and italics
  • Buttons
  • Headings
  • Links
  • Quotes

Again, no long-winded explanations, straight to the information needed so writers can be confident they have formatted the headings in the right way without spending a lot of time figuring it out. This is where a style guide adds value as a useful tool to help writers.

Heading rules from the Greenpeace UK content style guide


Empowering writers and ensuring accountability

When we were talking about the style guide being online, easily accessible, Laura mentioned accountability. This was something I hadn’t considered in terms of an outcome for not keeping the style guide hidden away, but it makes a lot of sense:

Having the style guide online and open helps accountability. If you show your style guide to the world and then don't follow your own guidance, you risk being called out.

Laura Robertson. Co-founder and Chief Content Strategist, Contentious Ltd.

The timing was an important part of getting the style guide off the ground. It wasn’t a case of chucking new guidance at the team during business as usual. The website redesign was a catalyst and platform for change.

In keeping with Greenpeace’s people-powered culture, the style guide is designed to enable people, something which Julius said was forefront in their minds during the project. 

Laura mentioned that it meant conversations could be started in a more empowering way). Rather than say ‘you have to do things differently now’, those conversations could be framed as, ‘can you write some content for the new site and here’s a useful thing to help you do that.’

It’s also democratic, including a call to action for people to make suggestions, recommend changes and be involved in its maintenance:

An excerpt from the Greenpeace UK content style guide stating how users can suggest updates to the guide.

This style guide was always meant to be a useful tool. Laura and Julius had mentioned seeing many brand guidelines that barely touch on content.


Often brand guidelines, if they touch on content at all, do it in an ineffective, superficial way. You get something on page 97 of the brand guidelines after 30 pages of how you need to leave space around your logo. It has one little list saying "we are bold, we are brave, we are optimistic", and that's about it. Turning that into something more tangible means that hopefully it creates something useful.

Julius Honnor Co-founder and Digital Strategist, Contentious Ltd.

This level of consideration shows in the Greenpeace UK style guide. It may have been delivered in a relatively short space of time, but it doesn’t compromise on value, usefulness and usability. It also draws from other style guides with attribution and respect, with an abundance of consideration for those who will actually be using it.

Top tips for creating a content style guide

As Laura and Julius have worked with stakeholders, done the research, created the guidelines, helped disseminate it and collaborated with a Greenpeace content champion to make the project a success, I wondered what their key advice would be for others about to embark on their own content style guide project. Thankfully, they were happy to share some top tips:

  1. Think about the voice and tone of the guidelines themselves. 
  2. Use real, positive examples.
  3. Put it online; don’t make a PDF!
  4. Concentrate on the organisation-specifics.
  5. Don’t be afraid to build on others’ good work.
  6. Explain how content choices embody the essence of the brand.

With those in mind, check out the Greenpeace UK content style guide for yourself and be inspired, or download our free checklist to get you started.

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About the author

Robert Mills

Rob is Head of Content at GatherContent. He is a journalism graduate and has previously worked as Studio Manager and Head of Content for a design agency and as an Audience Research Executive for the BBC. He’s a published author and regular contributor to industry publications including Net Magazine, Smashing Magazine, 24 Ways,WebTuts+, UX Matters , UX Booth and Content Marketing Institute. On occasion Rob speaks about content strategy and ContentOps at leading industry events.

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