MailChimp’s voice & tone: writing with readers in mind

There are a lot of Style Guides out there, but it doesn’t happen that often that you find yourself reading the whole guide from A to Z in one sitting. Without further ado, introducing voiceandtone.com – voice and tone guide for MailChimp.

Being a global mail service provider with over 12 million users, it’s no wonder that MailChimp would need a Style Guide to help deliver a consistent message. But what’s interesting about their guide is where the focus is placed – on the users.  As a content professional, you are not provided with the widely used do/don’t and strict rules to follow. Instead, you are suggested to think what the user is actually is feeling while interacting with MailChimp: is it joy? Curiosity? Confusion? And yes, you are offered the tips and examples to show what is meant for each type of content such as public site, video tutorial, success and failure message, and more.

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We’re writing a success message here, but let’s stop and remember what the user feels

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“Relay our personality and sense of humour, but don’t go crazy”

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My personal favorite – “Don’t dumb anything down or joke around. Legal content is serious business”

It’s an interesting approach that keeps down the number of pages in your Style Guide and helps remember that we deal with real people who have emotional reaction to things, content as well. The approach may be a bit to lax for content people who are just starting out in the field and need a lot more guidelines to learn from, but if we are talking about a team of experienced professionals, such a matter-of-fact type of guide might work surprisingly well.

P.S. On a side note, Google’s material writing guidelines follow the do/don’t approach, but they are also a good read if you are seeking inspiration for your content.

If you have any inspirational style guides in your pocket, do share 🙂

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