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One Surprising Benefit to Being Freshly Pressed That Bloggers Can Miss

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April 26, 2015 by Paula Reed Nancarrow

Image Source:  flatrock.org.nz

Image Source: flatrock.org.nz

When I write something good and powerful and true that touches people, and they tell me so, it is a beautiful feeling.

So when an editor from WordPress contacted me to let me know “Forgotten is Forgiven: An Alzheimer’s Story” had been Freshly Pressed, and gave me specific, insightful feedback on why the piece moved her, to say I was pleased was an understatement.

This piece socked me right in the gut. There is so much… that resonates with me: the marriage hierarchy that unravels; your dad as the undisputed head of the household that your mom actually ran; how difficult it is to watch your parents age and go through the role reversal that becoming a caregiver entails. How some patriarchs can never let go. How some women set themselves aside as individuals to appease/please their husbands. I could go on. Thank you for putting into words things I have been ruminating on for years.

If you don’t have a WordPress blog (or even if you do), you might not know what being Freshly Pressed is.

Essentially, it’s a weekly curation of posts by a team of editors featured on the site. WordPress users can get to the Freshly Pressed page from their blog reader. There’s a nice description of how the process works here.

Most people who have been Freshly Pressed will tell you that your page views, comments, and followers will shoot up, and then things will sort of return to normal, which can be a little anticlimactic. If you have an experience like mine, the day your post goes live on Freshly Pressed will make your stats look like your blog is giving you a single digit salute.

my-stats-

A book blogger who was Freshly Pressed twice, Emily Peterson, bemoans the fact that once Freshly Pressed, a number of her favorite bloggers simply stopped writing. They seem to think they’d reached their peak – or perhaps that single digit salute was too much for them. Steve Morris, who shows a similar stats graph to mine on his post-FP post, written in 2013, talks a bit about how intimidating it is to have to live up to his newly acquired fame.

But he’s still blogging. So is Emily.

In A Word to My Fellow WordPressers, Tim of Second Lunch, who was thrice Freshly Pressed, gives a lovely illustrated step-by-step deconstruction of his process in the light of what the editors value. Sadly, he hasn’t had a new post since October 2013. Who knows what has become of Timmy. We miss him.

LassieBottomOfWell

There’s also a 2011 guest post on Problogger from Hassan Osman, who was Freshly Pressed three times in six months, explaining how he did it. Finally, Vanessa Chapman analyzed 100 Freshly Pressed blogs and drew her own conclusions.

This is the second time I’ve had a piece Freshly Pressed.

Puzzles” was also about my parents and how they are coping with my mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The similarity in theme to “Forgotten is Forgiven” is not a coincidence. The same editor picked both pieces. This phenomenon is not something I’ve seen referred to by others who have had a repeat pressing, but it makes sense. Editors are readers first. They come back for more of what they like.

They also have lives. Like more and more of us these days, my editor’s life includes caregiving for an elderly parent; in this case, a father-in-law. I was grateful to hear that “Reading posts like yours really helps — as I’d mentioned before, simply knowing that there are other sandwich-generation folks working their way through the minefields of caring for aging parents is a gift.”

Being Freshly Pressed allowed me to share that gift with a broader audience. The proof is in the stats.

Last week my blog had 1,971 page views and 805 visitors – about three times what it had the previous week. The week the post was published, it was viewed 244 times. The week it was Freshly Pressed, it was viewed 550 times. At last count it had 147 comments (of which about half are my own responses).

There were some things about the attention this post received that made me uncomfortable in ways that are worth reflecting on. But that’s next week’s post.

One thing about those stats surprised me, though.

Only a fourth of the total views last week were for the Freshly Pressed post. My highest single day was the date on which the Freshly Pressed post went live, when my blog had 722 page views. On that day there were 230 visitors, and an average of 3.14 views per visitor, much higher than my blog normally receives. Yet only 189 page views that day were for the featured post.

What does this mean?

It means that people may have found the blog because this post was featured. But they spent time on other posts, and other stories. This may be the biggest benefit to being Freshly Pressed you’ve never heard of. Getting them there may be a stroke of luck. But keeping them there is up to you.

42 thoughts on “One Surprising Benefit to Being Freshly Pressed That Bloggers Can Miss

  1. Michelle says:

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing your observations.

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  2. Congratulations Paula, I’m so glad your post was F/P, for you, obviously, because it was a great piece and you deserve recognition for that….and also for those who might relate and would otherwise not have come across the article.

    Your writing is fabulous..all of the time….but when you write your personal/your emotional/your heart , my word, you hit the reader in ‘all the feels’.. T’is a gift my friend, a beautiful, cathartic, awareness raising gift. X

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  3. I read that piece, and it was incredible. I’m glad you got the recognition you deserved for it!

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  4. Congrats, Paula. You are so right that the people behind WP are, well, people. Readers. Bloggers often aspire to get Pressed thinking of it as a lottery sort of thing with robots monitoring the posts. Okay, I made up the robot thing but I’ve seen bloggers refer to getting Pressed in such a way. I loved your post and it certainly is deserving. I’ve no doubt you will be able to keep those readers. :-)

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  5. Anita Stout says:

    Congratulations Paula! It’s hard to imagine someone stopping blogging after that but I guess humans are complex. It was a wonderful piece – but I’m biased. I love all of your work.

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  6. bikerchick57 says:

    Paula, congrats on being pressed and thanks for encouraging bloggers to continue with their writing. When I was pressed in January 2014, it made me more determined to keep going rather than to quit. The numerous comments and new blogging friends I made through that experience brought enough joy to overcome any worries about keeping up a certain “standard” of writing. These days, although I’m finding it hard to find time to write longer content, I can’t imagine not being here on WordPress and continuing to engage others in conversation and thought. It’s simply too much fun!

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  7. Sabina says:

    I was Freshly Pressed last year for a post on the Bechdel test, and I was surprised how the new hordes of readers did take the time to explore other posts, too. While that post is still one of my most-viewed to date and definitely had a huge spike for that week, it’s also an evergreen post that I find people coming back to time and time again, which is important. Not sure why bloggers would disappear after that peak–for me it was encouraging and showed me that people were interested and listening to my ideas.

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  8. Judith Post says:

    Congrats! That was a beautifully written and emotionally poignant post. Glad readers found it.

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  9. Great insight into what happens when a post gets Freshly Pressed, Paula. Something I think most of us dream about. Many congratulations on the success and to being ‘Freshly Pressed’ again very soon.

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  10. Reblogged this on Covey View and commented:
    Ever wondered what happens when one of your blog posts gets Freshly Pressed by WordPress? Read Paula’s account of what exactly happens.

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  11. Hello Paula! First congratulations on being ‘Freshly Pressed’! I had no idea what this meant until now, so thank you for the information. Great article! :D

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    • Thank you Vashti! Anyone who has a WordPress blog should definitely be aware of the phenomenon. So I’m glad that now you know. I don’t think any other platform makes that sort of recognition available within their own community. It’s definitely a plus.

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  12. Congratulations. I don’t understand how these stats really work and don’t worry about them.

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  13. Congratulations and thank you so very much for sharing all this valuable information.

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  14. Serins says:

    Oh I really like how you concluded this post. Keeping them there, now that is the thing. :)

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  15. Steve Morris says:

    Thanks for the mention! I found it very intimidating working out how to continue after FP. It took me a few posts to get back to normal. But I’m pleased to say that I survived the experience and am still blogging two years later!

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  16. Mary Rowen says:

    Congratulations, Paula, and thank you! Your post really moved me as well, and I’m so glad it’s been given the opportunity to reach more readers. I also truly appreciate that you shared this insight about being Freshly Pressed. Ever since I started my first WP blog, I’ve wondered how the FP posts were chosen, and now I know! You are such a generous person, and I hope you keep blogging for a long time! xo

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  17. olganm says:

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing your insights.

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  18. Norah says:

    I’m not surprised that post drew extra attention to your blog. It is an excellent post and, as you say, about an issue that many of us are grappling with at the moment. Congratulations on having it noticed by someone who was able to increase traffic to your blog so dramatically.
    I like the way you describe the stats as giving you the single digit salute. It amuses me because I had a similar (though no where near as large) spike in my views on Sunday and thought exactly the same thing. I have no idea why my views tripled/quadrupled the average views on that day. As you say, once you get them there, the important thing is to keep them. I am always interested to see the variety of pages that are viewed. People do generally tend to look around while they are visiting. This proves how important it is to have every room of the house in order; you never know who may pop in!

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  19. Solveig says:

    I haven’t had the luck to be freshly pressed. But I must say that when I read freshly pressed posts, I normally have a look around the blog, I’ll most likely comment if I like what I read and of course follow. As I am big on commenting I will most likely comment on the newer posts that show up.

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