1. Is it newsworthy?
Is it new? Is it informative? Is it local? Is it something we don’t know? Is it surprising? Is it interesting? Why is it interesting? If you are not interested, your reader will not be interested.
2. Use active voice.
My first trip to New York City will always be remembered by me.
I will always remember my first trip to New York City.
The ground was covered in dead leaves.
Dead leaves covered the ground.
3. In general, punctuation goes inside quotes.
4. Don’t mix past and present tense.
“Yesterday I went to the shoe store,” she says.
5. Omit needless words and phrases.
the question as to whether Vs. whether
there is no doubt but that Vs. no doubt
he is the man who Vs. he
the reason why is that Vs. because
6. Avoid using “you”
Don’t assume to know what your readers are thinking or what their experiences have been. (“You know when you are jumping on your pogo stick and your foot slips off? I hate that. Here are five tips to avoid that unpleasant experience.”)
7. Your friends are great, but they make lousy sources.
Quoting people you know is easy, but you rarely learn anything new. It undercuts your credibility. And it can cause problems. If you have a personal connection to the person, you should disclose it.