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Trust the Process

Why guidelines are so important
Let's be real here, GoFable is a marketing startup who knows how to produce content under strict guidelines in a streamlined process. What is this process, you ask? Well, Trust the Process as we guide you along the way.
What's the Process?
At GoFable, our process is fairly streamlined and simple to follow for our clients which leads to easy results. Companies who do not have a defined process probably don't have any sort of guidelines or standards, meaning they have a tendency to produce different styles of content which may not pertain to their client's demands or vision.

It can get complicated for companies that produce content, where each and every piece has a separate process - meaning more work and more drafts. Each of these drafts may not make the final cut when deciding which piece of content will be viable for a campaign. That's precious time that the company is wasting and it's even more valuable because it should have been allocated to a more pressing task. A company's complicated production process may also lead to a lack of recognizability from its audience because the company may be perceived to have a lack of vision.

These problems trickle down to your company's team members who may begin to lack confidence when it comes to solving problems and asking questions. Some team members may even begin to rely on their supervisors for creative direction and clarification of their tasks. As a result, your team may not be as motivated and may ruin quality in your content.
The Devil's in the Details
At GoFable, we have visual guidelines ranging from fonts to illustrations. What's amazing about that aspect of our process is that we even drill down to the colors used in our illustrations because they contribute to the overall aesthetics.

If we're producing written content, such as articles and blog posts on Medium, then there are specific formatting guidelines that we adhere to. Regarding our case studies, we have a structure in place directing how they are presented to an audience comprised of established professionals and prospective interns and students who are looking to break into the field.

Regarding writing and editorial guidelines, our in-house tone is typically fun, natural and personable. Depending on who we are marketing to will determine the tone of each piece. Optimally, we want to talk to our audience as if they are our best friend or family member. If our article has some technical jargon, we definitely take our time in explaining what these terms mean or breaking them down. Each article that we draft and publish has beneficial information that's clear and concise for our audience to understand, but we also provide supporting evidence to help back up our credibility. Outside of our serious tone, we usually break the ice with light humor when it can be used sparingly.

Once the content and its accompanying pieces, such as illustrations are finished, our team will present it to the assigned project team and their client. Our job is to explain how the content will help the client in the long run and how GoFable will implement a strategy to make sure the content and its message is delivered correctly. This last step is important because both the project team and the client must be on the same page, making sure that the standards of both parties have been met.
Essential Tips
1. Know before you show!

Before on-boarding with your client, it's important to conduct research about them and their industry. During the research phase, it's a big plus to pick up on any potential problems they may have as well as identify any sort of improvement that you think should be discussed. At this point, we usually ask for our client's branding guidelines, which usually include colors and fonts. We want to maintain an important association with the brand and its identity. When the time comes for you and your client to meet, be sure to fully listen to them about the challenges they're facing. It's also essential to ask questions, because the more blanks you fill in, the quicker your project team can reach a solution and implement a strategy that will ultimately benefit the client in the long term.

2. Make sure you, your team, and your client are all on the same page This is an extension of the first tip but we want to stress that guidelines, demands, and creative directions may change so it's important to keep your team in the loop - ensuring everyone is on the same page. With that being said, re-evaluate guidelines and processes on a regular basis because your client may feel that their tweaks to your proposed solution may help them. Some changes can be made during the process because development is closely linked to change, growth, and rethinking.

When it comes to writing guidelines at GoFable, details like whether to use "&" or "and," or if you should use the numerical or written versions of numbers may seem trivial, however, the weight of fine details adds up. We want to be consistent throughout our client's published work in order to ensure coherence, a structured way of thinking, and strong credibility. For this, we usually make a style guide that is tailor-fit to our client's needs. For example, we base this guide on existing style guides, like AP Style, as a baseline and from there, we add our own ideas and sections. 3. Say it like you mean it and be consistent

More often than not, we have mandatory sections in our guide that include formatting, which usually includes details on how to format bullets, lists, hyphens, and quotes. Our tone of voice section is important because we give descriptions of potential communication styles that our clients could potentially use and accompany them with examples. We also include information on sentence structure which may help in various ways. For more information about tone of voice, please read Your Voice is Our Voice.

As for visual guidelines, we include our client's palette of colors with essential information such as RGB codes for each color as well as their pantone numbers. We also Include all versions of the client's logo and examples of proper usage. This even applies to the brand fonts used for headings, paragraphs, and any other text structures.

With all of these guidelines considered, there's a large amount of information to take in for new clients and that is completely understandable. We take these guidelines very seriously because somebody else's brand is in our hands and our client's satisfaction is of utmost priority. The visions of both client and project team may conflict with one another and it takes time for both parties to be on the same page. Some details regarding visual and editorial formatting may need to be changed along the way if initial testing has not been well-received by the audience. With that in mind, it's important to adapt your client's demands and slowly come to an agreement regarding solutions and content strategy.

The guidelines that we hold our project teams and their clients to are something that we at GoFable are proud of. We make sure that we're prepared for the tasks at hand and thoroughly research our clients and the problems that they face. We are certain that our clients will be successful once they adjust to, and begin following the advice that their project team has given them. Our success is driven by sticking to the script that we've written for ourselves and for our clients.
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