Editorial Standards and Guidelines

Updated Spring 2024

The Good Trade is the premier resource for people seeking to better care for themselves, their communities, and the planet. We offer smart and slow content, including trusted brand recommendations, thoughtful essays on intentional living, and resources for living more sustainably. 

The following is our editorial style guide. Please use it as a resource when creating content for The Good Trade. 

Our Voice

While our tone changes depending on topic or medium, The Good Trade’s voice remains constant across the web. 

Our voice is smart, warm, and inclusive. It is also conversational and welcoming. Our readers are feminist and forward-thinking; they are looking for big and small ways to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. 

Our writers often use anecdotes to introduce content, and we offer actionable tips and insights in each of our stories that readers can implement in their own lives. We foster connection and space for meaningful and urgent conversations, both online and in our communities.

Our Tone

Depending on the writing assignment and platform, our tone changes to fit the occasion. The most common tone shifts are as follows:


For brand guides and product roundups, we are authoritative, specific, and concise. We do the hard work for our readers by researching and delivering content about a company’s ethics and sustainability practices. When creating brand or product guides, refrain from redundant and vague language. Instead, be clear and comprehensive, using plain language to satisfy readers.

Example guides: Organic Baby Clothes, Sustainable Underwear Brands


Our product reviews are conversational in tone yet well-researched and detailed in substance. When reviewing products, stay within the first person to describe your experience and synthesize pros and cons. We rarely accept pitches for product reviews so these will likely be assigned to you by an editor.

Example reviews: Jones Road, Sabai Furniture


We often use the What? Why? How? model to cover essential topics. (What is fast fashion? Why is it problematic? How can we make a difference?) 

Our researched pieces are smart, accurate, and digestible. We use straightforward language and expand on unfamiliar vocabulary and industry terms. Authors often include personal anecdotes to make these pieces more engaging and relatable. Most importantly, we seek to educate and empower.

Example pieces: What Is The Divine Feminine?, What Is A Holistic Doctor & Should You See One?


When writing a thought piece, first consider your topic and the target audience. For a piece about sex, you may choose to be more direct in tone to help dispel cultural narratives. When writing about mental health, gentle and empathetic language is more appropriate. 

When in doubt, employ a tone that is friendly, conversational, inclusive, and empathetic. Use active voice, and rely heavily on narrative to engage with and relate to readers.

Grammar & Style

At The Good Trade, we follow AP style with a few exceptions. Below are some of the most common grammar inquiries. When in doubt about style or punctuation, consult this free AP guide or check with your editor.




There are three types of compound words:

*when in doubt about hyphen usage, consult Merriam-Webster or your editor.



As conscious consumers, we should take into consideration the environmental impact of our purchases. (OK)

As conscious consumers, we should consider how our purchases impact the environment. (Better)


While The Good Trade’s voice is conversational, please use filler words and tautologies sparingly. 




When citing external sources, we aim to offer the most current and credible expert opinions. Unless evergreen, sources and studies should be no more than five years old. Google Scholar is excellent for finding valid, current studies. We also have internal resources for quotes and expert opinions. Let your editor know if you need help obtaining sources. 

When citing another publication, check that your source is original. For example, don’t link a NYT interview; link to the expert you’re quoting. If you find an article online, check for the source’s original source. We want to be referencing the original study, not a publication that has regurgitated content.

When directly quoting a source, please do not edit or alter for grammar or spelling in your submission. Your editor will handle this.

For all interviews, we ask that you include a copy of the transcript with your first draft.

Self-Edit Checklist

Before submitting your first draft, please use this checklist to self-edit your writing. This will help minimize typos and line edits, and it will ensure your story shines — even on first read-through. 

  1. Read your piece slowly and aloud. Look for spelling and grammar errors, incomplete sentences, and content gaps. 
  2. Are you answering the original prompt? Does every sentence serve a purpose?
  3. Have you included actionable language and tips? Does your piece educate and empower?
  4. Double-check your links, sources, citations (where applicable), and the spelling of names and titles.
  5. Read your piece one more time. 😊

We ask that drafts are submitted in size 12 point Times New Roman or Arial via Google Docs. If your piece requires images, please link to a Google Drive folder where they are stored. Don’t format your piece unless instructed.

Inclusive Language

The Good Trade is dedicated to using inclusive, unbiased, and affirming language across all content platforms. In addition to adhering to the following guidelines, always triple-check a person’s pronouns. If you don’t know (and have no way of finding out), names or gender-neutral pronouns (they/them) suffice.

A few general rules:

When writing about race and ethnicity:

Words to Avoid

The Good Trade values inclusivity. We are committed to creating content that pushes back against harmful stereotypes and hurtful language. This includes but is not limited to writing that promotes racism, sexism, ableism, and ageism. It also includes problematic vocabulary. Please research the origin of an idiom before including it in your piece.



Pitching The Good Trade

The Good Trade is dedicated to slow publishing and quality content, which means we are highly selective in the pitches we accept. We look for fresh takes and innovative approaches to thoughtful living — we are not looking for basic “how to” or “reasons why” posts. Because of the number of pitches we receive, we only respond to pitches and contributors we are interested in learning more about.

We love to hear from subject matter experts in health, sexuality & gender, and sustainability & climate. If you have a professional or editorial background in those subjects, email editorial [at] thegoodtrade dot com with “SME” in the subject line. Please include previously published work and a 3-4 sentence overview of your pitch. We do not commission on spec.

If you would like to pitch a story about a brand, founder, or Kickstarter launch, please visit our advertising page.