The Style Guide changes the way we write.

 

Isn’t it embarrassing when you discover that what you preach isn’t what you do. Recently I reviewed our communications. Many were written before we had the Style Guide™. However, there really is no excuse for sending out letters that do not reflect the excellence in style we say others should be aiming to achieve.

 

Every blog I write goes through the Style Guide and almost every other communication does also. In fact, I re-wrote copy on our website when I discovered it did not land in the grid.

 

I can see you all copying and pasting sections of our website into the Style Guide. Let me know if you find any that land outside of the parameters. We cannot afford to have anything we write fail the Style Guide™ test.

 

Recently a new reader member signed up. We generally get Trial members and I know their welcome letter is exactly where it should be in the Style Guide. I know because I had to re-write it.

But why do that? The best way to answer that question is to show you what happened when I checked out our letter to new reader members.

 

Below is what we ended up with after I had edited the welcome letter using the Style Guide™ to guide me.

 

Welcome to The Story Mint.

It's really great you've joined us.

Take the time to read some serials. These are stories written collaboratively by our talented members. They cover all genres and are sometimes very quirky. There are also works in progress on The Writers' Pad. Tell us what you especially liked and even what you did not like and why. It all helps us to improve as writers.

If you become a two week trial member (it's free) you can check out your writing style by placing some work through our unique Style Guide™. We constantly use it and find it makes a real difference to the quality of our writing.

We also have a very busy Facebook page so check it out and Like us.

Have a terrific time being part of

The Story Mint.

 

The style is chatty, warm, friendly and personal. It is appropriate that it read this way as it is the first meeting the member has with The Story Mint. The email is acting in the same way a receptionist does when someone drops into a business or retail store.

 

This version landed in the green square of the Style Guide™.

 

There are five calls to action:

  1. Take time to read the stories and articles on the site
  2. Join the two week free trial
  3. Put some writing through the Style Guide™
  4. Go to our Facebook page and like it
  5. Upgrade membership

 

This last point is important because if we are to grow as a business we need people to upgrade their membership. We also want them to feel part of the team and to engage with us.

 

 

Below is the somewhat ponderous email that this replaced. It is really very embarrassing.

 

We hope you will be inspired to have a go at some of the activities we have to offer.

Read our serials and leave comments. The writers are always keen to hear what their readers think about their work.

If you wish to explore other pieces of writing go to the Writers’ Pad – share your thoughts with our writers.

Otherwise get involved with our forum and read our blogs.

Thanks again for joining us as a Reader.

If you would like to test your writing in our Style Guide™ join us as a Trial Member. We’d love to have you as part of the group.

Let us know if there is anything we can do to enhance your experience with us.

The Story Mint team.

 

There are calls to action in this version but they are hidden behind the hesitant sentences like ‘if you would like to test your writing….’

Every sentence that starts with ‘If’ gives the piece an apologetic feel as do those which start ‘We hope….’

Its general tone is rather apologetic and very deferential.

I wonder if you can guess where it landed when I submitted it to the Style Guide™. Yes, outside the grid at the bottom. There was another version which landed outside the grid to the left and under. It was very dry, matter of fact and apologetic. So often we insert the way we feel into what we write. Thank goodness I no longer feel uncertain and worried about where the business is going. I understand that is a normal part of the process but I think I was especially over anxious.

I use the Style Guide™ every day. Now you know why.