Menu

What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able? The Frailest Thing

Every day, 19 WordPressers are featured on the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress.com. And every day, many more wonder, “What do I have to do to get Freshly Pressed?”

Every day, 19 WordPressers are featured on the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress.com. And every day, many more wonder, “What do I have to do to get Freshly Pressed?”

Well, it’s time to reveal what the folks who push the launch button are thinking. Each week, a member of our editorial team will do a close-up on one post and why we thought it was Press-worthy. We hope we can provide insight into the process and give you tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.

To answer a common question, a post doesn’t need photos to be Freshly Press-able. This toilet paper post, for example, doesn’t rely on images.

Recently, we promoted The Frailest Thing to Freshly Pressed with the post “Toilet Paper: A History.” On this blog, Mike writes about technology and how it intersects with culture, philosophy, and even religion. In this post, we especially liked how he breathed life into a seemingly mundane topic—toilet paper.

Here are three ways he accomplished this:

A hook reeled us in.

This post comments on how all technologies—even those we take for granted, like toilet paper or the refrigerator—have their own histories. It’s a sprawling topic, but Mike’s “hook”—a pop culture reference and episode from the TV show Seinfeld—introduces the big idea he’s exploring, and does so in an entertaining way.

We read so many posts on WordPress.com every day, so an opening that piques our interest and makes a subject accessible and relatable is a good start. A hook comes in many forms: a famous quote, a personal anecdote, an account of a conversation you’ve had that has resonated with you, and more.

The blogger acted as a narrator.

In the middle of recounting the scene from Seinfeld, Mike interjects in order to steer his discussion about toilet paper—but also to reconnect with his reader:

Now stick with me. I know you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about toilet paper, but there is a point here.

In a post like this, which dives into cultural commentary and history, don’t lose your voice. Mike speaks directly to his reader throughout, and in occasional asides in parentheses, while allowing his more historical discussion to unfold:

Toilet paper has a history. Of course it has a history. But who thinks of it? Like George, we take most of our technology for granted.

You’re the storyteller, so talk to us. Ask questions. Or crack a joke, if appropriate. Be authoritative, but don’t distance yourself: interact with your reader. Engaging nonfiction writers employ narrative techniques—just as fiction writers do—and experiment with elements such as point of view, persona, and tone.

The subject was so common—yet so unique.

Who knew a post about toilet paper could be interesting? We give Mike props for exploring a topic in which we all have personal, tangible experience, but probably have never considered in a thoughtful, intellectual way. (And likely never outside of the bathroom!) He could have investigated the history of another kind of technology—something more obvious, like a phone or a fax machine, to illustrate his point. But by choosing to highlight this unglamorous household product, he creates a unique discussion.

One way of improving your own writing is to look at how other blog posts cover topics in which you’re interested. What different devices or distinct perspectives does the author use? If they approach a topic through Door A, try going through Door B. Experiment with an unlikely example. Transform the mundane into something meaningful.

What do you think of this particular pick for Freshly Pressed? Will you read more from this blog?

For more on our Freshly Pressed content, check out last week’s Freshly Press-able post, read the roundup of July’s top 10 posts, or read So You Want to Be Freshly Pressed?

Show Comments

114 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

  1. Lovely subject!
    Creativity brings out interesting points from ordinary things. I love the idea of writing about what makes a post freshly press-able, I’ve really been curious to know! I hope my honesty isn’t subtracting any of my reputation? Oh! I should have asked if I have any left!
    Please don’t mind my rantings, I’ll be glad to read more on the subject.
    Good job!

    Like

    1. Honesty is the best policy. I believe blogging is all about honesty; your personal rant is what makes your blog ‘your bubble’ or ‘space,’ if you know what I mean.

      Like

  2. Toilet Paper is an excellent topic of choice. How do we make sure that the editorial staff actually gets to know what we have written about? Obviously, they can’t keep track of so many simultaneous posts…

    Like

    1. You’re right — there are so many posts published each day, many exploring the same topics. We search for content often by topic and come upon selections this way, but as we’d mentioned in our inaugural “What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able?” post, we simply can’t read them all.

      If you’d ever like us to consider an excellent post (or blog), drop us a comment.

      Like

  3. Such a fantastic title is what would attract myself to that article.
    A good title, in my opinion, juxtaposes concepts or objects such that the reader is so intrigued to what the possible link could be. Human curiosity is your friend when promoting your work!

    Like

  4. I am thoroughly enjoying your Freshly Pressable posts series. At your suggestion, I did read Michael’s toilet paper treatise, and found it as interesting and well-written as you purported it to be. As to whether I’ll continue to follow that blog – that’s still up in the air. I’m trying to keep up with following my loyal followers and commenters, and though Michael’s blog was delightful, it seems to not be a quick read. I’ll have to debate whether I have time to add reading yet another blog to my daily routine.

    This raises a point that perhaps other bloggers struggle with – how much time to spend blogging, reading blogs, following blogs, answering comments and so on. Have I created my own time-eating monster by starting my blog and following other bloggers? Discuss if you like.

    Like

    1. Indeed, blogging involves not just posting content on our own blogs. We certainly don’t *have* to interact with our readers, answer comments, and keep up with other blogs regularly, but it certainly enriches the experience and allows us to build, organically, a following and our own little place in this online space.

      I think others will have different opinions here, but for me, I feel overwhelmed sometimes with “keeping up.” In terms of reading/following other blogs, I generally read blogs that really speak to my interests. It’s not that I don’t pay attention to anything else — as I love reading about new things (like toilet paper!) — but I’ve connected with likeminded people/bloggers in general via carefully seeking out blogs I truly enjoy.

      Like

  5. I compliment your approach about letting all know why freshly pressed posts are freshly pressed. I learnt alot from this post and it makes me write better too. Thanks alot.

    Like

  6. Ok, I have to give Michael a “High-Five” on this post. Creative, witty and all around very well written :-)
    Will I read more of his blog for sure. Thanks for these “Daily Posts”!

    Like

    1. Thanks for your feedback on the Freshly Pressed process. I think the feature highlights and shares great content on the WordPress.com community. It’s also a way to encourage bloggers to post more, and inspire others with examples and ideas that may (or may not) be of interest to them.

      Like

      1. I respect your opinion but wouldn’t you agree that most of what I said has merit and you can’t just claim that .002% of posts are the best and that people need to follow their lead and change their style just to conform to what you consider high standards?

        Like

      2. Instead of wordpress editors just controlling the system, if you claim that there has to be a section called “freshly pressed” why not expand the number to way more than 19 and let every blogger choose a set number of their favorites everyday. at least that would be more democratic. you would get a better variety and better discussion. it makes a lot more sense.

        Like

    2. If you don’t want to be freshly pressed, then don’t worry about it. Just as if you don’t want to be published in the real world, you don’t listen to what agents or publishers say about the sort of things they generally look for.

      Freshly Pressed is very like the publishing industry. Nobody absolutely needs books to be published in order to get at them. They could all be photocopied and distributed, or now emailed around as a pdf. But that doesn’t mean that publishing isn’t an enormous boost to the writer. And yes, publishers are “controlling” what is out there, because they have to choose out of the vast amount of stuff that gets sent their way, most of which will be either genuinely bad or not their cup of tea.

      I am just delighted that WP take the time to highlight blogs which otherwise I would miss, and I’m quite happy that I am unlikely to ever be selected given that there is quite a bit of erotic content in my satire.

      Keep up the good work, Cheri and the team.

      Like

      1. “Freshly Pressed is very like the publishing industry”. This is indeed a very apt comparison. However, the one thing that I find especially problematic with the Freshly Pressed section is the blurb which says “The best of xxxx bloggers, xxxx new posts…”

        This is very misleading to say the least. It conveys that FP editors have reviewed thousands of blogposts from which they have selected the cream of the crop–the 19 WordPressers who get to be featured on Freshly Pressed. The truth though is that FP only has a handful of staffers who can only review a limited number of blogs.

        My point is that this blurb should be revised for the sake of transparency. Heck, FP is good at churning those impressive stats anyway so why not something like “the best of xxxx number of new posts reviewed by WordPress Editors today”?

        http://galangpusa.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/freshly-pressed-and-all-that-blah/

        Like

  7. That’s what you say. The process looks, frankly, rather arbitrary to me, considering the millions of posts out there. I’m guessing luck is the greatest single factor in getting pressed.

    Like

  8. As a complete Noob to blogging, this post is especially helpful. Thank you so much and please keep the tips and advice coming.

    Like

  9. Thank you! You answered a question I have often wondered about! But of course we all believe that everything we write should be freshly pressed. I’mmm kidding, well, not really.

    Like

  10. I always wondered how they got chosen. I thought maybe it had to do with popularity, but in fact the popularity would come after making the FP page. i guess it comes down to being a good blogger, writing interesting stuff, and having a catchy title.

    That being said, my boring “me” blogs will never make the page. Got it.

    Like

  11. This post has really “cleaned up” a lot of issues for me about freshly pressed. I think one needs to really “roll” with the punches and give the reader the “Royale” treatment (sorry about product placement here). Funnily enough, never thought about the posts as though I was speaking directly to someone – always thought of them more like “reflections” rather than anything else. Merci! TTFN

    Like

  12. Thanks, WordPress, for Freshly Pressing me! It was cool to read all the comments and make some new WP friends!

    Like

  13. I wrote a post every day for a year and never got Freshly Pressed. :/ But then again, I suppose pleasepresshere.wordpress.com wasn’t much like anything I’ve read on WP.

    Like

  14. Is there any hope for us “oldies” who have never seen a Seinfeld show or think that the current pop culture is not all that entertaining? Believe it or not, there are many of us who still don’t “text’ on those new-fangled phone things! In short, is there a senior citizen blogging outfit? Thanks. (Now, back to my oatmeal and bran muffins)

    Like

    1. Hey Mark — while this particular post uses Seinfeld as its hook, a post doesn’t have to rely on current pop culture to be attention grabbing at all. You could begin with a famous quote from ancient Greek philosopher; you can craft a short scene conjuring up an incident from your childhood; you can link to an interesting news story you recently read (that has nothing to do with contemporary entertainment!).

      As mentioned, a “hook” comes in many forms.

      Like

  15. This is really awesome. I’ve never watched Seinfeld, but the main framework can be used for anything. Thanks to FP for bringing this to my attention! It’s a really good post :D

    Like

    1. “I’ve never watched Seinfeld, but the main framework can be used for anything.” Exactly. In these Freshly Pressed analyses, we hope to offer tips and provide examples that illustrate different techniques with which you can experiment on your own blogs.

      That said, not all techniques will work for everyone — we all have different styles, approaches to blogging, and interests.

      Like