Avoid errors by giving your online marketers a style guide

I saw this Google ad in my GMail window today:

Asphalt Paving – www.curtispaving.com – Patches, Driveways, Parking Lots. Call the “Zar of Tar” 604-922-2314

I was intrigued enough to check whether this company really does not know how to spell a word (czar) in its tagline. I clicked through to the website and saw this:

Vancouver writer and editor - tar tagline

So, the company knows how to spell czar properly, which is a relief. So how did a non-word (zar) end up in the Google ad? My guess is the ad was created by a marketing person who had only ever heard the slogan, and had never seen it written down. Is that possible? If an external person was hired to create the ads, it certainly is.

So, how can you avoid having key words like those in your tagline misspelled in your online advertising? Create a style guide for all external (and internal) personnel to use. It should include your preferred spelling of any words that are important for your business, as well as entire phrases that really matter. (For instance, the tagline here — and a registered one, at that — is “The Czar of Tar,” not “The Tar Czar.”) Even if the marketing person had not created a non-word, he or she could still have used the spelling “tzar,” which is not incorrect in general, but IS incorrect when your tagline uses a different spelling. You’re paying for the work, and for the clicks, so you might as well get it right!