So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed
Every day, we hand-pick eight new blog posts to highlight on the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress.com. Freshly Pressed posts can be about anything, but they all have a few things in common: they enlighten us, inspire us, entertain us, and get us talking.
Why should you care about being Freshly Pressed?
Well, why do we blog in the first place? For most of us, it’s to share our ideas with and be part of a larger community. Getting promoted to Freshly Pressed is a major traffic win that helps you with both. WordPress.com receives a huge number of page views every day (and we have a feed set up to make it easy for folks to follow our Freshly Pressed picks) so being highlighted exposes your post to a wide audience and brings you a flock of engaged new readers.
Why do we do all this? It’s our way of saying we like you. We really like you. You do incredible things on WordPress every day, and it gives us the warm fuzzies when we’re able to share them.
A few preliminaries:
- There are half a million of you and a handful of us, and we’re scouring the blogosphere day in and day out. If we don’t find you, it’s nothing personal – promise. Keep writing, and we’ll keep looking.
- We’re real people with different perspectives and tastes, so we’re drawn to different content. And we love feedback, so if a Freshly Pressed post feels really off-base to you, let us know!
We know what you’re thinking now: “My blog is pretty awesome; how do I get Freshly Pressed?” It’s all about the content. (Well, mostly.) Here are our top tips for increasing your odds, along with links to resources to boost your blogging prowess:
Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff.
Each post that makes it to Freshly Pressed contains original content created by the user. You thought it up, you wrote it out. It’s your brainchild.
Does this mean you can’t reference other sites? Not at all. We encourage it; it’s part of participating in the larger conversation. Just be sure to give credit where credit is due. Use quotation marks or block quotes when quoting others, and include links to any articles you mention. If you’re unsure, refer to our tips for citing others appropriately.
Bad stuff includes (but isn’t limited to) plagiarism (yes, we check!), hate speech, fear-mongering, adult/mature content, copyrighted images that belong to someone else, spam or content that’s primarily advertorial in nature. Curses are not necessarily bad as long as they’re not gratuitous; go for impact, not shock value.
Have a point of view.
Sure, we care about the facts, but we can get the facts from hundreds of sites. We read your blog because we want to know what you have to say. We’re more likely to be sucked into a post that has a strong point of view, and the rest of the WordPress community is too.
Freshly Pressed posts make people think and provoke a response. That means they have opinions, and they’re not afraid to defend them intelligently (see: no bad stuff or hate speech). Don’t just rehash the conversation – add to it.
Ready for more? Learn how to write effectively about controversy.
Don’t be afraid of your voice.
Not everyone approaches their blog in the same way, and that’s a good thing. Some posts are stream-of-consciousness, some are formal essays, some are dialogues, some are poetry, and some are none of the above. (Not sure what your style is? Maybe we can help.)
No matter what your voice is, there will be someone drawn to it. Sure, you could try to please everyone, but that (1) never works and (2) isn’t fun. Embrace your own style.
Paint us a picture.
Although not every topic can be illustrated, we believe most blog posts can and should have a visual element. (In fact, every post on the Freshly Pressed page has an accompanying thumbnail.) A captivating image helps tell your story and can draw in a reader who might have otherwise passed you by. An image isn’t mandatory, but it’s a nice plus.
We love original photos (the bigger the better!). If you don’t have any of your own, there are lots of options. We have a list of great places to find free images (and other media), and also address other ways to find images through Creative Commons searches and stock photo sites. Be sure to properly credit the original source. Video rocks, too.
Don’t know where to start? Visit “Get Flashy” over at Learn.WordPress.com. For more great tips, read Three Ways to Make Your Blog More Visually Appealing.
Make it easy on the eyes.
It doesn’t matter how fantastic your content is – if it’s difficult to read, it’s not going to get read. Here are some key elements of readability:
Keep paragraphs short. Readers are overwhelmed by huge chunks of text. Is your paragraph more than 8-10 lines long? Read it again, and see if you can separate the ideas or eliminate unnecessary words.
Break up your text. Using headings or bulleted lists makes it easier for folks to scan dense content.
Stick with left justification. Why?
When you center your text,
of each line is in a different place.
This is confusing for the reader and
makes for harder and slower going,
which turns folks off.
So don’t do it.
Clean up your design. We encourage users to customize their blogs, and we love seeing how you adapt themes. But although you might love the look of gray text on acid green, or want your post background to be that cute photo of your cat, you’ve just made your content less accessible. Your blog competes with thousands of others. Don’t make it compete against its own design, too. See what we mean?
Add relevant tags.
(Answer: Very sad.)
To make it easier for us to track you down, don’t use tags that are too obscure (“beauty tips from the ancient world”) – stick with more general tags (“beauty,” “history”). Feel free to get a bit creative as well; we use all kinds of search terms. Think about what keywords you’d use for if you were looking for this post, and go from there. You can add up to 15 tags per post.
Write a headline we can’t ignore.
We love a clever headline, and that’s often the reason we click on your post in the first place. We also like to know what we’re getting into, so it helps if your headline gives us a clue as to what the post has in store. Things to avoid: swear words, excessive punctuation, vague statements and total non-sequiturs.
Bad headline: U Loserz, i WON!!!!!11!
Better headline: Winning the Lottery
Best headline: I Won the Lottery and You Didn’t!
Bad headline: Pizza
Better headline: Making Homemade Pizza
Best headline: 20 Minutes to Making Your New Favorite Pizza at Home
Need more help? Check out “How to write better titles for blog posts.”
Aim for typo-free content.
We know, we’re human, too – mistakes happen. We recommend using our proofreading feature before publishing posts. If you’ve got a few typos but we really like your post, we may ask you to fix them first. Make sure your headlines are clean as well; a headline typo is the death knell of a fledgling post.
Proper grammar helps, too. The Daily Post has tons of useful articles to help you out, from a more in-depth look at verbs than you ever thought you needed to a thorough explanation of when to use “affect” vs. “effect.”
For more insight into the process, visit our series over at The Daily Post, “What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able?” where we take a closer look at one of our recent picks, or take a look at en.blog’s monthly roundups of the most engaging Freshly Pressed posts.
That’s it! We can’t promise that you’ll make it to Freshly Pressed if you follow these tips, but you’ll help your chances. The best thing you can do? Just keep on blogging, and write what you love.
Once you’ve been promoted, you’ll receive an email. But more importantly, you’ll notice your page views, followers, and comments increasing. Enjoy the ride – you deserve it!