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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?

70 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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!

  9. 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. :)

  10. 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?

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