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What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: Before _______ , We Had ______.

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. And every day, many more wonder, “What do…

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. 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, we’ll take a close look at 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.
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When most people hear “blog post,” they think “writing.” But your blog is a blank canvas for your self-expression. For some bloggers, that takes the form of photos, drawing, or painting.

Tim of Get Second Lunch uses his corner of the internet to showcase illustration. Each post features a series of colorful, graphic drawings on everything from Pollen: Public Enemy No. 1 to  a collection of Girl Scout-style badges for impressive workplace accomplishments (personal favorite: the Awkward Turtle Badge, earned for making three comments in a single work week that directly result in an awkward silence or an abrupt subject change).

His latest post, Before ______, We Had ______. takes a look at how far technology has come since the early 1990s, poking gentle fun at the young whippersnappers who can’t imagine how people got around before the advent of GPS. Here are a few reasons we loved it:

It was out of the ordinary.

There are a growing number of blogs focused on the visual, from street photography to fine art, but there aren’t yet that many illustration blogs. That instantly sets Get Second Lunch apart from the pack before you even take a look at Tim’s work.

It also gives him the opportunity to put a new spin on a common topic. We’ve seen lots of “the world before cellphones” posts, but the illustration angle is a fresh one–and that’s a great takeaway. You don’t have to turn your blog inside out to create something utterly one-of-a-kind, but you should strive to make your own point of view clear in whatever you choose to blog about. It’s your voice that makes a post out of the ordinary.

We could relate.

Almost any reader can relate to at least one of the post’s examples. Maybe you’re too young to have played with a Viewfinder (so sad!), but you’ve probably given someone pen-and-paper directions or had to gauge the temperature of a beer can without a visual aid.

Since the illustrations resonate with readers, it creates a space for them to share their own stories and examples in the comments, which is the kind of engagement we all hope for as bloggers.

Which leads to our last point…

It made us stop and think.

On a surface level, Tim made us stop and think about what other examples we might have to share, like having to physically walk over to the television set to change the channel (the horror!).

On a deeper level, he made us think about whether technology is living up to its promise to make our lives simpler and easier, or whether it’s just adding another layer of things to worry about and monitor. After all, in the wake of Apple Maps, some of us are probably reconsidering whether asking actual people for written directions is really such a bad idea after all.

Bonus!

As a follow-up after finding out he’d been Freshly Pressed, Tim posted Freshly Pressed: To My Fellow WordPressers, which reiterates many of the points made here and emphasizes the most important one at of all: blog because you love what you’re blogging about, not to be Freshly Pressed. Blogging is about creating something you love and engaging with a community who wants to share that with you, not about your stats.

What do you think of Get Second Lunch—will you stick around for more?

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  1. Second Lunch & I follow each other.. He’s awesome as a blogger/illustrator.. Many people blog only to get FP..Not cool..Great point from Second Lunch, blog because you Love it!! (I was FP and never, ever expected that)
    So glad to see SL FP again!!!

  2. Beautiful points! Blogging is a medium of expression. Let’s blog because we love what we are doing and not because we want to be freshly pressed. I love this! It’s sinking! I never even knew about freshly pressed before I started blogging. The tips keep improving my blogging though. There is no end to learning. The more we learn, the better we get at what we do. I’ll keep adding the tips I’m learning to my blogging and keep hoping that my fellow bloggers are learning from me and that I’m learning from them too. That’s blogging to me; expression! :)

  3. Valid points. When I had started blogging it was because ‘blog because you love what you’re blogging about, not to be Freshly Pressed. Blogging is about creating something you love and engaging with a community who wants to share that with you, not about your stats…’.

    Yes, blogging is my passion. But the amount of time and effort I spend to present my blog as a canvas for my passion – I have started having expectations lately. Expectation in terms of genuine readers who are really coming back again and again to my blog. Though that is happening but then greed is taking over. After all I am but a human. Hence wanting to reach out to a wider audience. And that’s exactly what ‘freshly Pressed’ or being ‘Featured’ helps in doing.

    Many a times I see the Food and Travel blogs that have been featured have beautiful pictures. But I’ve not seen many blogs like mine being featured where the style of writing and photography are both integral to a blog post. However, I could be wrong.

    1. I think we all want interested, committed readers. The best ways to make that happens are still (1) producing interesting content and (2) being an active part of the community – commenting on others’ sites, participating in blogging events. etc.

      We write these “What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able” posts not as a one-way ticket to being Pressed, but to inspire you to create great content.

  4. Great reminder that we need to be creative in our blogging. I won’t ever be illustrating mine since it would seem that a Kindergartner hacked into my WordPress account, but I can find ways to make my stories fresh and unique, like Tim’s Get Second Lunch did.

    And I agree that beneath everything else, there must be passion. If not, why do it?
    Thanks for the insight on seelcting a Freshly Pressed post and the reminder to be creative.

  5. “…every week we take a close TOOK? …” I’m sure you meant “look” but I thought you were the pros? Don’t you proof read your own stuff pros? That’s it. I’ll be un freshed for life!

  6. It would be fine with me if my posts would at least show up in the Topics Site, somehow it does not work for my blogs even though I fulfill all the requirements :o

  7. I was disappointed “Get Second Lunch” couldn’t think of a single example where something was better “before”. I found it a bit shallow, and not funny enough to make up for that.

    Tastes differ, I guess.

    1. i found it clever, but you raise an interesting point which i missed –> YERRITE: nuthin’ was brought up which the writer thought was “better”, before.
      and we know that ain’t rite.

  8. When I first started blogging I remember feeling frustrated that what I blogged about wasn’t the sort of thing to get me Freshly Pressed. I even wrote a post about my angst, just to get it out of my system, it’s called Raspberry Sculls and Bloody Scones. Oddly, I did wind up getting FPd this past July, long after I had stopped caring so much. It was very very nice to get that validation, but I need to be honest, because that’s what I do (it’s my brand), it didn’t really change my life ;) What has changed my life? It’s just as this lovely blogger suggested…creating something I love. In the end, we’re probably going to be the only people who go back and read our blogs. I’m relieved now when I look back on my work, I’m glad I just wrote it the way I wanted to write it. I didn’t make a top ten list of anything, or try to be funny or clever or whatever. I just wrote from my heart, and damn, at the end of the day my heart said, “thank you!” And I said, “You are very welcome, Heart. Anytime.”

  9. When I wrote my Freshly Pressed blog, I did it for fun and had no thoughts of being Freshly Pressed, ever. I just did what’s stated above – expressed myself in my own unique way and had lots of fun doing it.
    What’s next? More fun, what else?

  10. Really inspiring post. I’m a writer of short stories. And the idea which you have suggested are really helpful. I hope to implement them and of course something new, in my next post.
    May be I’ll use picture illustration to make the description of my scene clear and which is difficult for me to illustrate with words.
    Also these stuffs will provide some breaks between the lengthy words !
    Hoping to come up soon with my next post.

  11. I loved that post! Very funny! I tend to like illustration blogs because I can usually read them without having to go find my glasses. :-D Plus, they suit my short attention span.

  12. This is getting funner, and funner!
    Enjoying this tasty salad. smacking my lips looking forward to discover the next Freshly Picked treat with everyone else.

  13. Having just been Freshly Pressed, now that traffic isn’t ridiculously high anymore, it’d be easy to get disheartened. But my posts a) entertain me when I read them back and b) are a form of self-expression. I just keep writing the best posts I can and I was lucky enough for Freshly Pressed to like one of them enough.

  14. I was thrilled to see my poem, ” Fate’s Lilting Laughter ” on drndark ! It was very cool of you to re-blog it and I’m enjoying your blog very much, as well. I currently have over forty poems on my blog at digthroughlife.wordpress.com and invite all in your community of talented writers and artists to visit. I will post your links for dailypost and drndark on my FB page and Twitter and turn more people onto you. Thanks again !…….Jeffrey Littrell

  15. I feel its fun to just express myself, whether it is something that ever gets Freshly Pressed, I am happy that even one person sees it, to be perfectly honest.

  16. Love that awkward turtle… I might have to write a post on it. Thanks for the tips Michelle and what continues to resonate with me is: blog because you love what you’re blogging about, not to be Freshly Pressed. :-)

    1. Exactly. Your passion will come through in your post – and that’s more likely to get your Freshly Pressed than trying to be what you think WordPress wants.

  17. Interesting article.
    Being freshly pressed is a great way to get more viewers to your blog, it seems, however its likely that this would be a one time thing. The lack of viewers down the track (after being freshly pressed) would be dis-hearting to the average blogger.
    So I guess, it’s not about writing so that you ‘may’ get pick to be freshly pressed, it’s about writing what you want and passionate about.

  18. While I can understand your reasoning, I wish that Freshly Pressed actually highlighted “freshly pressed” blogs. Meaning, it changes constantly, to what has been written – recently.

    I check this page quite a bit. It stays on the same sites – over and over.

    I like variety, and would enjoy seeing it change constantly i.e. synchronized with the new posts as they were written.

    Meaning, let me decide what I am interested in reading, on a daily (or by the moment) basis?

    It would be kind of exciting to see it evolve…

    1. Teresa, thanks for your feedback. We feature a selection of new posts on a variety of topics every day. There are a handful of bloggers who have been featured multiple times, but overall, we try to make sure that the majority of posts are from bloggers who have never been Freshly Pressed before.

  19. As a cooking blog, I’ve always struggled to see what one can do to ‘stand out’ with genuine content.. I don’t know if cooking Mediterranean is something that counts, or if incorporating stories behind recipes does…maybe a post about that one day would be lovely :) At the end of the day, when I post, it’s because I love the cooking I do, the sharing, and the small community of foodies around me :)

    1. There’s lots you can do, from putting your own spin on recipes, to focusing on a particular region, to sharing the stories behind your food. It sounds like you’re doing that *and* you love you blog, so I’d say you’re on the right track!

  20. Yes, I do agree that we must blog in our hearts content. its not about the stats or the viewers. it’s how and what you really feel about something. Feel free to express yourself. =) everyone is so supportive about that. I really appreciate it with my fellow bloggers. Thanks guys!

  21. I have followed The Second Lunch for quite sometime and always found his illustrations hilarious, relatable and gosh darn cute!

    He is one of a few of my “blogging community” who have been honored (deservedly) with a Freshly Pressing.

    I have two blogs, neither of which have been FP but I have always suspected they might be too niche for a wider audience. However I continue because I love to write! And I am love the little blogging community I have helped create. As long as some people are reading and I am writing and I am learning from and enjoying other’s blogs then I’m happy.

    And in a weird way, I get kind of proud when one of the bloggers I regularly read (and chat with through comments) gets an FP. It makes me feel like a good blogger through association, haha!

    1. @creeped, here’s where the relatability piece becomes important. You can write about a niche topic, but if there’s something in your post that resonates with a wider audience, it becomes highly shareable; an oddball story can be a great vehicle for getting to bigger issues/questions.

      Congrats on creating a community around your site; that’s what keeps a blog going for the long haul.

      1. It’s all true. I guess, with the millions of blogs out there, a good deal of it comes to luck as well. I’m lucky that I have some people reading my blog and I appreciate it and appreciate learning from my readers and from other blogs I discover.

  22. Second Lunch is actually the ONLY blog that I follow!!! I find it rather hilarious and concise!
    Very well deserved again there, Tim!

  23. Hi, I reblogged this–first time ever :) –at Charron’s Chatter (same dot com). Perception check since I am pretty new to this: do you HAVE to follow the photo prompt (plus include associated tags and links in post) in order to get freshly pressed? Or is it enough to have a great blog post with associated tags and links in post. (the tags and links seem key) Undersatnding of course, that the content of said post is your own or at least not infringing and properly accredtted. Thank you for any information. This is a GREAT & very INSPIRING article. :)

    1. By photo prompt, do you mean the weekly challenges? You don’t have to participate in anything at The Daily Post – we scour the entire WordPress.com universe looking for good stuff. Just make sure you’re using appropriate tags; we surf topics in the Reader just like everyone else. Hope this helps!

  24. To be freshly pressed is beautiful and motivating, and could be something I might want to hope for someday, but that would never be the focus when blogging here. The main reason I blog is because I am a voice that must be heard, a blessing that must be received by all, and an influence that’s sure to inspire social prosperity! That’s why I love blogging, really. :)

  25. Freshly Press-able – How about Topics?
    How do you get in there?
    I cannot understand this.
    I was listed under Fiction Writing, then I wasn’t.
    Then I put a question on a post What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able and got some lovely answers, but nothing that I wasn’t doing and then Hey Presto, I was listed again.
    Now I’ve disappeared all over again and my stats have fallen through the floor.
    Have I offended some WordPress god or are there some special criteria I am not following?
    I tag in the same way as I was, yet I seem to have fallen through the cracks in the WordPress flooboards.
    Can anyone tell me what is going on?