Often, when it comes to church websites, bulletins and newsletters, we rely on content from a variety of contributors – staff, volunteers, parishioners – who follow different punctuation rules, use different voices or rely on different “insider” language. Without dedicated communications staff or editors, it can be difficult to achieve any degree of consistency.
And that’s where a style guide comes into play. A style guide incorporates your church’s personal preferences on word usage, punctuation, titles and more. It can be distributed to all writers and contributors to answer those pesky questions – do we use “St.” or “Saint,” for example, or how do we feel about the Oxford comma?
Here at the diocesan offices, we rely on a custom style sheet for our publications. This particular style sheet just covers rules regarding text, but we also have guidelines to follow when it comes to graphics and visual branding. And for items not covered in these documents, we rely on the Associated Press Stylebook.
Here are some other helpful resources when it comes to style guides for church use:
- Copy Matters: Style Guides, from Church Marketing Sucks
- Episcopal Church Style Guide, from the Episcopal Church Center
- How to Create a Brand Style Guide, from Church Marketing Sucks
–Emily Cherry, Communications Director