This style guide uses AP Style, with a few exceptions.
For questions of spelling, use the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Use the first spelling listed.
Spell out first reference followed by abbreviation in parenthesis. Use abbreviation thereafter. Names of technology terms do not have to be capitalized before abbreviation.
Example: Our company just invested in a new point of sale (POS) system.
Exception: organization/company: the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Use no more than 3 to 5 bullet points in a series. The Oxford Dictionary states that the text introducing the list of bullet points should end with a colon.
If the list is short, do not put periods at the end.
If the text following the bullet point IS a complete sentence, a full stop at the end is technically required but is not absolutely essential.
Get a quote and:
Do not capitalize common words, such as cloud or the cloud (unless it is a specific client request). That also goes for inbound marketing terms like blogging, social media, search engine optimization, lead generation, etc.
Internet should only be capitalized when it is used in a product name. Example: Company B Internet Services
Sources should be relevant, authoritative sources. Be sure to follow these rules:
1. Track down the original source and confirm the data. Instead of using information you saw quoted in a news article or a blog, track the information to the organization, company or government authority that released it. That is your source, not the media outlet that published it.
2. Avoid sources from competitors. Try to avoid sources from competitors UNLESS approved by client OR competitors aren’t in conflict.
3. Make sure you’re using the most recent data available. Surveys and reports get outdated – fast. A good rule of thumb: if a data set is older than two years, then chances are there is more recent data available.
Citation Within Body Copy
Superscript numbers that correlate with the sources listed at the bottom of your document should be placed after punctuation (no space) at the end of the sentence.
Example: Knowing your audience can increase your lead generation by 38%.1
Include a list of your sources at the bottom of your document, under a heading of Sources.
1 Hubspot | http://www.hubspot.com/
2 Harvard Business Review | https://hbr.org/2019/04/4-questions-retailers-need-to-ask-about-augmented-reality
Do not use on before a date or day of the week when its absence would not lead to confusion, except at the beginning of a sentence: The meeting will be held Monday. He will be inaugurated Jan. 20. On Sept. 3, the committee will meet to discuss the issue.
Use on to avoid an awkward juxtaposition of a date and a proper name: John met Mary on Monday. He told Obama on Thursday that the bill was doomed.
Use on also to avoid any suggestion that a date is the object of a transitive verb: The House killed on Tuesday a bid to raise taxes. The Senate postponed on Wednesday its consideration of a bill to reduce import duties.
Use title case for headlines. For help with title casing, consult this converter: https://titlecaseconverter.com/ Select AP and hit Convert.
One H1 per piece.
Sentence case can be used for H2s or H3s that are short product or feature descriptions or questions.
[H1] Places to Visit on a Beach Vacation
[H2] What You Can Find at a Souvenir Shop
Intro body copy
[H3] Themed trinkets
[H3] Destination clothing
[H1] Questions You Should Ask Your Business Partner
[H2] Where do you see yourself professionally in the future?
[H2] Do you feel as though you’re financially stable?
Character count for meta descriptions: 155-160
Character count for page titles (These are HTML pages titles, not H1s or headlines): 55-60
Character counting tool (use ‘including spaces’ option): https://charactercounttool.com/
Meta descriptions should be written for blogs, landing pages, and web pages, unless otherwise directed by PM. Thank You Pages are the exception – they never take a meta description.
Surveys, on the other hand, may or may not, depending on whether they’re being indexed. To get a definitive ruling on the survey you’re working on, consult the assigning PM.
Styling of numbers will depend on the tactic.
Example (blog): The scientist had been with the tech company for 4 years and, since his hire date, has completed 6 different guides for training.
However, exclude obscure references to “one” from this rule and continue to spell out. For example, Our technology teacher only required one report for the entire semester.
Arabic numbers should also be used when writing about years and decades. Centuries should be spelled out if it’s first through ninth; everything else can be numerical.
Apostrophes should be used when abbreviating years or decades.
Put a double space between paragraphs. Do not indent new paragraphs.
Use only a single space between sentences.
Spacing for referencing bytes: 2 MB, 3 KB
We have an established style for the following words. See bottom of list for further guidance.**:
**Note: If you don’t see it in the list, style will depend on the client’s preference. Use their current website as a guideline. Some examples are: on-premise vs. on-premises, co-location vs. colocation.
Use the TSL Marketing copy template as a guide for typefaces and fonts for written pieces. Remember to ‘save as’ your template with the new document name to preserve the original template’s format for later use.
Templates can be found here: https://www.tslmarketing.com/tsl-internal-resource-tsl-digital-assets
There may be some cases when it might be stylistically okay to use in bullet points or titles, but use sparingly. Don’t use ampersands in body copy.
AP’s rule for making singular proper names ending in ‘s’ possessive:
Use only an apostrophe: Achilles' heel, Agnes' book, Ceres' rites, Descartes' theories, Dickens' novels, Euripides' dramas, Hercules' labors, Jesus' life, Jules' seat, Kansas' schools, Moses' law, Socrates' life, Tennessee Williams' plays, Xerxes' armies.
Example: Curtis Jones’ house (just Curtis lives there) or the Joneses’ house (Mr. and Mrs. Jones live there.)
Use em dashes for sentence interruptions. AP style dictates that spaces pad each side of the em dash.
Example: Technology experts can — and will — find the answer to the question.
If you do the following, AutoFormat will insert an Em dash (— ) as you type.
In a Word document:
When a slash appears in a sentence that divides two words, it should not be padded with spaces.
Example: The technology team focused on additions/adjustments to the website.
Capitalize the word after the colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.
Yes, use the Oxford Comma! Just say ‘yes’ to the Oxford Comma (a.k.a. a serial comma or series comma). It is the final comma in a list of things.
Example: “I ate apples, oranges, and grapes.”
Not using the Oxford Comma can sometimes lead to confusion especially for longer sentences. “I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.”
We follow the Associate Press guidelines.
Use the percent symbol (%) when paired with numerals. The symbol (%) accompanies a specific number, whereas the more general word percentage is used without a number.
Example: We are interested in knowing the percentage of applicants holding college degrees.
Use italics for:
Use quotation marks for: