Freshly Pressed Magic

The Last Snow - March 5, 2012

This is another reason I love March.

This morning I shuffled into the kitchen and was blasted with light from the snow-covered limbs of all the trees in the woods beyond our windows. It is truly astounding to see, and I wish I could bring it to you here, but photography has its limits.

I consider it a birthday gift from above. Mother Nature has dressed herself up to celebrate the day I came into the world. Isn’t that nice? (A big egotistical, perhaps, but a nice thought.)

I’m as ready for spring as anyone, as you might as noticed from the recent post that won me great notice and acclaim, but I don’t know if there is anything more beautiful than a fresh snowfall that coats the limbs of the trees.

But this post is about being freshly pressed, not about fresh snowfalls.

Thursday morning I was putzing around on my computer as I do every morning, creating and publishing a post, reading emails, responding to comments, you know the routine, when I started noticing several new people visiting and commenting on my blog. At first I wondered, “Did one of my good blogging friends like Julia at wordsxo (whose post today makes a nice companion to my famous, award-winning, best-ever, post-of-year) tweet my post again?”

Sometimes it happens that someone retweets my post and I see new faces on my blog. Always nice.

As I was reading my email, comments started filtering in from my loyal followers. In fact the first eight comments were from the familiar faces, or in some cases, icons, of friends.  Then two new names showed up. Then Susie Lindau, another new face, cleared up the mystery when she congratulated me for being freshly pressed.

It was like when I got a bad mammogram result via registered mail and I double-checked the address thinking, “I got somebody else’s letter by mistake.”

Then the “likes” and the comments started rolling in like a tsunami.

Being freshly pressed blew my stats right out of the water. My blog does not have a huge following, but I very much appreciate the loyal supporters I have as well as the occasional random visitor who may be searching for “gote I know” or “foyer white delta light.” On any normal day I am happy to get between 80 and 150 hits on my blog. This number has steadily increased over the year that I’ve been blogging, and I hope it continues to do so.

If you’ve been freshly pressed, you know. If not, check this out. My stats went from my normal 100 or so hits a day to 2389 on Thursday and 2851 on Friday. I am still experiencing the aftershocks as I have already had 287 hits at 8:00am today. I’m not complaining. I am here to tell you, that yes, being freshly pressed really does drive visitors to your site. And I’d like to thank each and everyone of them who stopped by.

The important question is will there be any lasting effect?

This was actually the third time I’ve been freshly pressed. The first time was exactly a month after I started blogging when I posted “Hopping Hilltop Towns in Tuscany” on February 21, 2011. I had taken my computer to Dayton to be able to keep track of my stats which I was still obsessively checking at the time. I think I was getting about 20 hits a day. When I got to my mom’s there were 100 hits. I didn’t know what happened. Someone congratulated me for being freshly pressed and I still didn’t know what had happened. I watched the hits rise that day to over 1000, enjoying the thrill of the ride. It was nice that my mom was able to enjoy it with me.That post got a total of 2595 hits if I can trust my stats page. It received 53 comments.

Less than two weeks later another post about our trip to Italy, “The Soft Footprints of St. Francis in Assissi,” was freshly pressed. It received a total of 2000 hits and 62 comments. The comments number includes my responses, I think.

After each of these posts, I also gained new subscribers which greatly increased the number I previously had (which may have been around 2). In fact, I think several of my loyal readers, and now friends, may have come via the freshly pressed page. On Friday night I had gained over 50 new subscribers to my blog and they keep trickling in. So that’s all good. I don’t know how many subscribers actually continue to visit and read my blog. But it can’t hurt.

Right now I’m just trying to figure out how to get my book freshly pressed.

What’s my secret for getting freshly pressed? Like many things in life, a good dose of luck. Was my “Welcome March” post the best one I’d ever written? No. Not even close. So far I’ve found that the quality of the posts I write, according to my system of evaluation, has little to nothing to do with the popularity of the post. Sometimes it just has to strike somebody right and they want to share it. That’s what happened here, I’m pretty sure. But I did do a couple of things right.

First, a couple of weeks ago I visited the freshly pressed page to see what tags the editors were reading to use as freshly pressed. I think if you visit this page from time to time you will see there are certain categories of posts that they promote. I think my first two posts made it in under the “post-a-day” tag last year. I don’t think they particularly emphasize that tag anymore. The tags I noticed being freshly pressed, that I post about, are life, photography, travel, photos, and nature. If I want the editors to see one of my posts, I’d better have a tag on it that they’re looking at. There are millions of posts out there every day. (Actually I think it may be only hundreds of thousands.) I think “Welcome March” got picked up under the “photos” tag.

The second thing I did, I learned in feature-writing class. I put a catchy title on it. When I was writing the post I thought, Is this Shakespearean title a little over the top? And then I thought, Oh, what the heck, and I clicked publish. I think the title helped to get it noticed.

I try to write posts that are enriching in some way. Maybe they’re informative, or insightful, or something that the readers can relate to. Maybe it’s just something I found interesting or beautiful. But I try to keep the reader in mind, and post something that may be of interest to the reader. I’m sure you do the same. With my Welcome March post, I think my timing was impeccable and I hit a nerve. We are all more than ready for spring.

And then I just got lucky.

I’d like to thank the editors who selected my post for the freshly pressed page.

I hope this experience will bring me a couple of new friends. I’ve already found a few blogs that I intend to follow. But what I realize is that you all who read my posts week after week, and who came back today when I’m no longer rich and famous, are the true gems. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support.

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34 thoughts on “Freshly Pressed Magic”

  1. You, Christine, are the gem. The way you write, what you write about, keeps us coming back for more.
    I have never felt the Freshly Pressed magic, but I can imagine it is overwhelming. Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds 😉 Congrats on this accomplishment! 😀

    1. What a sweet thing to say, Marion.
      It is a bit overwhelming. All those guidelines about trying to respond to each comment, and visiting the blogs of the people who leave them are difficult if not impossible to follow. I’m going to try to visit as many repeat followers as I can.

      Just keeping my inbox cleaned out is a time-consuming task.
      But it’s a nice problem to have.

  2. I knew when I saw that you had some crazy comment number like 176 on your post when I looked at it that you were indeed reaping the Freshly Pressed benefits!! I am so excited for you and just think that you will reap the benefits for your book too!!! It is going to happen, Christine!!! I believe it!!!! I really do!!! Congrats for the fame!!!! I am along for the ride!

    1. Yes. It’s a pretty clear give-away. I’m glad you’re so excited, and I hope you’re right about my book. Welcome aboard. We may have to push this wagon down the road.

  3. Congrats on being freshly pressed…it is magically overwhelming! You feel like you will never keep up with the comments as the stats are going haywire…oh, what a ride it is!

  4. And Christine as you say about not thinking it was your best post…all three of mine that were freshly pressed were not anything at all that I considered good. I honestly think mine were selected by title…at any rate it was a wonderful experience.

    1. I’m with you. I think the title has a ton to do with it. The post has to live up to the title, but without a title that gets attention, the post won’t be read. It’s the way it is all over the publishing world.

    1. I’m glad you took the time to visit it, Cynthia. It was an awesome place to visit. Photos can’t do justice to the magnitude of the location nestled in the hills, or to the serenity that pervades the very air you breath in that place. Amazing.

  5. ARGH — we BLOGGERS (as in *on* BLOGGER) will never know the joy of Freshly Pressed. I am so envious! I felt a little of that from my recent interview with Chuck Sambuchino, which has received over 1000 hits and 80 comments, but still, color me green with envy, Christine. 😉 YOU’RE FAMOUS!!!

    1. Wow. Way to go with your interview. That is awesome. You can get good exposure anywhere, I think. The FP thing is a nice way to jump-start some of it, but it doesn’t have overall major lasting effects. I may pick up a few loyal followers, but that will be it long-term, I think.

      You seem to know what to do and how to do it. I think you will be fine where you are. I know that changing could be a big upheaval and it might take a while to get your followers in the boat again. I don’t know. I’ll track you down wherever you go.

  6. I can’t think of any posts of yours that I have read that didn’t deserve to be freshly pressed. I am not surprised that this is your third freshly pressed post. Blessings to you, Christine…

    1. You’re too kind. Thanks for your continued support. As you might imagine, I am falling behind on reading and commenting on the blogs I follow. I hope everyone will be patient with me.

  7. As I said last week, hooray for you, Christine. I was only FP once–three weeks into blogging and never since. It’s been 14 months, and I’m beginning to think it will never happen again. But, heck, I have wonderful readers like you who keep me busy with comments!

    I’m happy for you, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    1. Not so good. Sales have basically trickled to a halt. I just can’t seem to get the umpf to do things to promote the book. I have some things I still want to do before I abandon all effort. Maybe I’ll get to them soon.

      I’d rather be writing. No big surprise there.

  8. Totally appreciate this post! I’m feeling the aftershocks of my freshly pressed experience last week. I imagine the permanent change will be minimal, but it was nice to pick up some new followers. Honestly, I don’t think I could handle a blog with that kind of popularity all the time! It was exactly like you said–a tsunami of hits, likes, comments, etc! Only negative thing is how it makes every other day look like nothing on the little stats graph!

    1. We’re going to have to stay off islands together if we’re going to get caught up in tsunamis. I’m with you. My small little following is quite comfortable. And ditto on the stats graph. I experienced that the last time. It takes a while to get the tsunami off the chart so my measly stats start looking good again. Ha ha.

  9. I thought I had commented on this post, but apparently not (which would explain why I didn’t delete the email notification). Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! It’s about time, too. I think many of your posts deserve to be Freshly Pressed. 🙂

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