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How to Make an Affiliate Marketing Style Guide in 13 Simple Steps

When creating an affiliate marketing style guide, ensure you build a consistent brand image that earns the trust of your target audiences. A good style guide will guide all the departments at your brand and any contractors through what kind of affiliate marketing content to produce and how to make it.

consistent brand image

Ultimately, you can build a cohesive and recognizable brand with an affiliate marketing style guide. This helps keep you at the top of your mind among your consumers. If you’re a freelance affiliate marketer, you can also help your clients develop style guides that help them stand out.

What Is a Style Guide?

A style guide is a set of rules and guidelines for visually presenting your brand identity. A good style guide contains the following standards:

  • Editorial standards.
  • Formatting standards.
  • Design standards.

Why Do You Need an Affiliate Marketing Style Guide?

An affiliate marketing style guide organizes the way your content presents your brand. It is designed to help you generate one unique but cohesive brand image. Developing an affiliate marketing style guide is good news for your brand because:

  • Different affiliate marketers can develop their content clearly and cohesively that accurately represents your brand personality.
  • A consistent brand image helps you stand out with your unique identity.
  • A consistent identity also creates a unique and positive customer experience. For this reason, you will have more repeat customers than you would otherwise.
  • A cohesive presentation of your brand also helps you shape your key messaging in a way that encourages trust and loyalty from your target audience.
  • A style guide makes your brand easily recognizable. This can generate more sales because we tend to buy more from brands we know.
  • Creating a style guide is also useful when freelancers and contractors develop content for your brand. If you already have a style guide, these people will know what you expect from them, reducing the amount of editing you need to do at the end.

What Information Do You Need to Make a Good Affiliate Marketing Style Guide?

To make a style guide that works, you need three crucial ingredients.

i) A Cross-Disciplinary Team

Many entrepreneurs and affiliate marketers assume they only need to involve the marketing department in developing their style guide. In reality, building a team that includes representatives from each department can provide a variety of perspectives. You can also address concerns from each department and create a style guide that works for everyone.

ii) An Understanding of Your Brand

To develop an affiliate marketing style guide, you must understand your brand in-depth, including your mission, vision, history, and values. Furthermore, you need to identify the tone and voice you want your brand to have. To determine your tone and voice, you must create a brand personality you’re comfortable with.

iii) An Understanding of Your Audience

Ultimately, your affiliate marketing style guide is designed to help you communicate better with your audience. By communicating effectively with these people, you hope to connect with them and build a sense of brand loyalty in them.

With this in mind, it’s essential to understand your target audience before working on the style guide. Study these people and develop a buyer persona that highlights their pain points. This way, you can build a brand that addresses their needs.

How to Make an Affiliate Marketing Style Guide in 13 Steps

Once you’ve developed a brand personality you’re proud of, developing the style guide is simple. Let’s talk about 13 things you must think through to make a style guide that works. We’ve broken these into 4 different categories:

Company Background Section

1) About Us

The “about us” section briefly introduces your company and helps you develop your brand image for the public. You must highlight your mission, vision, and values in this section. You should also highlight your company history and explain what inspired you to create the brand you have today.

It’s also essential to identify what makes you stand out from your competition and define your target audience.


How you write about your brand might not seem like a big deal. In reality, though, it shapes your brand image. To make an affiliate marketing style guide that works, here’s what you need to worry about when it comes to writing.

2) Editorial Standards

Writing Style

You need to settle on a specific writing style and provide examples of how you use it. Does your brand use APA or MLA style? Do you use a different writing style altogether?

Grammar Rules & Misused Words

You also need to develop grammar rules for your brand while highlighting common grammatical mistakes. It’s also important to focus on commonly misused words, such as insure/ensure, affect/effect, practice/practice, complement/compliment, etc.

Active vs. Passive Voice & First Person vs. Third Person

While addressing editorial standards, deciding between active and passive voice is essential. The voice that is more effective for your brand will depend on your goals. If you care about being persuasive, you should use an active voice. Likewise, to better connect with your audience, you should use the first person instead of the third person.

Regional Dialects, Abbreviations & Word Choice

It’s also essential to address regional dialects and abbreviations. Finally, if there are words that you’d instead not use, make a list of these words to avoid. Similarly, if there are words that you think play a significant role in shaping your brand identity, make a list of these. This way, people will remember to use these words often.

Exceptions From Industry Language

You’ll no doubt notice that your industry uses specific jargon to communicate. This industry language gives you credibility as a thought leader. It’s essential to identify which aspects of this industry language you will adopt and which ones you’d instead not use.

3) Punctuation and Symbols

To communicate consistently, it’s important to create standards for brand-wide use of punctuation and symbols. For example, do you use digits instead of spelling the numbers out in words? Do you use the Oxford comma? Is the use of emojis acceptable in official brand material?

Does your brand use compound words? Do you have strict guidelines on using the en and em dash, or does it not matter?

4) Voice, Tone, and Messaging

Many people assume that voice and tone are interchangeable. In reality, your brand’s voice determines the tone you use and your key messages.


Your voice is your brand identity. To develop a brand voice, you must choose three words to express your brand’s personality.

brand personality spectrum

Your tone is how you express your brand identity. For example, do you have favorite words that you use? Are there specific words that people should avoid?

If you want to come across as persuasive, you need lots of short sentences.

If you want to create a sense of excitement, then you need many exclamation marks.

Finally, you might want to ask many questions to be known as a friendly and conversational brand.


It’s important to decide what your key messages are as a brand beforehand. Identifying and defining these key messages will help people remember the messages they always need to be aiming to communicate. To generate critical messages, you need to think of the 3 most important things you want your target audience to remember about your brand.


When formatting your branded content, you need to answer a few questions.

5) How Do You Format Content That You’ve Sourced Externally?

This will often depend on the writing style you’ve settled on. For example, if you’ve decided on MLA as a writing style, then it only makes sense to use MLA referencing.

6) How Do You Format Numbered and Bulleted Lists?

Do you use a specific number format (for example, i, ii, iii as opposed to 1,2,3)? Is there a particular type of bullet you’d prefer to use as a brand?

7) How Do You Format Quotes?

Would you prefer your quotes to stand out or blend in with the rest of your content? Do you set your quotes apart in a block of text? Do you use italics or bold font?

8) How Do You Format Your Paragraphs and Headings?

Do you indent the first line of each paragraph or not? Do you increase the size of the first letter of the first line?

Do your headings and subheadings need to be a specific size? Do they need to be bold, italicized, or both?


9) Official Logo

Use of Different Logos

Beyond highlighting your official logo, it’s also essential to develop regulations for its use. For example, do you have different logos for different use cases (such as other platforms and audiences)?

Old Logos

Likewise, are there old logos that you no longer use? If so, you should use them as examples of what not to do.

Formatting of the Logo

It’s also important to define rules for formatting your logo. For example, should it be a specific size or orientation? Does it need a specified amount of spacing around it?

Regulations for Manipulating the Logo

Are people allowed to tweak your logo, or is this a no-no? If you allow people to manipulate the logo, it’s important to state exactly what can and cannot be manipulated. Examples of what people might want to change are the color, the size or shape of the letters, the spacing between the letters, and the orientation of your logo.

10) Colour Palette

When choosing your brand colors, refer to the personality you defined in #3. After all, different colors convey different meanings. When you decide on your brand colors, it’s essential to state the hex, CMYK, and RGB codes and the Pantone number of each color you choose.

Which colors do you use across different platforms? Moreover, are specific colors reserved for content elements (for example, do your headings and subheadings need a particular color)?

11) Typography

Choosing standard typefaces for your branded content will help solidify your brand personality. Which typefaces do you use, and for what purpose? Do your headings and subheadings need to be in a specific typeface?

What do you need to set in a bold or italicized font? For starters, if you want something to stand out, it’s always a good idea to bold or italicize it.

12) Use of Visuals

How do you use visuals to stay on-brand with the formatting of your other content? Do you prefer to use images that contain your brand colors, or can content creators use images of any color? Do your images need to be aligned with your text?

How do you format your infographics, videos, and photos?

13) Presentation format

If you want all your presentations to follow the same format, create a company slideshow template and include a link in your style guide.

How to Make an Affiliate Marketing Style Guide: Best Practices

Now that you know how to make an affiliate marketing style guide, it’s essential to understand how to use it for maximum impact.

1) Include Examples of What Not to Do

While creating your style guide, it’s crucial to include illustrations that define how affiliate marketers should create content that aligns with each of the standards you’ve set. You should also include examples of what not to do so that people understand what kind of content goes against your standards.

2) Include Guidelines for Different Platforms

Just as it’s essential to include examples of acceptable and unacceptable affiliate marketing content, you should also ensure that you develop guidelines for content across different platforms. While your content should be as cohesive as possible, it’s also essential to define how this content should look on your social media channels as opposed to your blog, for example. Creating different guidelines for different channels is vital when thinking about your social media channels.

3) Ensure Company-Wide Access

Many people make the mistake of assuming that the marketing department alone should be involved in creating and using the style guide. On the contrary, once you’ve developed an affiliate marketing style guide, it’s essential to distribute it widely within your company.

An affiliate marketing style guide can be practical in any department containing content creators and helpful to anyone working within your brand. For this reason, you should not restrict the use of your style guide to specific people. Everyone in your organization should have access to this guide and be encouraged to refer to it often.

Let’s assume, for example, you are hosting an event and sending one of your employees to pick out decorations. If this employee didn’t know your brand colors, they would most likely pick random colors that don’t align with your brand. However, with a style guide, this process would go a lot more smoothly, and you would get the kind of decor you want on the first try.

Examples of Style Guides

What better way to learn to create an affiliate marketing style guide than to look at brands with good style guides? We’ve chosen these brands because they have developed excellent style guides and perfectly illustrate the principles we’ve highlighted above.

a) Netflix

The style guide Netflix has developed concentrates primarily on its logo. In this style guide, you can see acceptable uses of the logo as well as unacceptable uses of the logo.

Netflix style guide what to avoid

Have a look at the complete style guide.

b) Firefox

The style guide Firefox created stood out because the brand’s visual representation perfectly expresses the brand personality they’ve chosen: opinionated, open, radical, and kind. These characteristics are translated into every aspect of the style guide.

Firefox style guide

Have a look at the complete style guide.

c) Instagram

Instagram’s style guide was memorable because it explains – in excruciating detail – how content creators should represent the brand visually. They even go through the process you must go through if you want to show Instagram on TV and in film.

Instagram style guide

Have a look at the complete style guide.

Over to You:

Now that you know how to create an affiliate marketing style guide, you have everything you need to make a memorable brand image that can win hearts. As you’ve seen, it’s an intuitive process you can easily follow. All you need is creativity and dedication.


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