Do you ever wonder what ActiveRain is really looking for when they put that star on a blog and it becomes a FEATURED POST? Bob Stewart wrote this a few years back and it is worth sharing again. I'm sure that it will answer many of the questions that members have as to "What exactly are they looking for in a featured post". If you feel that a post you wrote was feature worthy and was overlooked, the good news is you can send the link to Bob Stewart for a second chance! Many posts are also included in Carol Williams Saturday lineup or Kathy Streib's, What I learned this week. Our members are always looking for great content and want to read what you have to say! So, keep writing and Good Luck!!
Depending on the day, ActiveRain will see as few as 500 blog posts written and as many as 2000+. On any given day, we will feature between 8 and 16 blog posts.
This means we most likely miss many great posts that should have, could have been featured.
Now is you chance to give that one post, (the one where as you wrote it, you just knew your name was going to be in lights!) a chance to be featured. You saw gold stars raining down from the heavens as you pondered that perfect title and fiddled until you nailed that exact closing sentence, and yet the email never showed up alerting you that your post had been featured on the home page of ActiveRain.
If we missed your masterpiece the first time around, I invite you to share a link to that post in the comment section here. Over the next few weeks, we will try to feature at least one "got missed the first time around" post each day.
A few thoughts on what I look for when selecting featured posts:
1. Does your title pull me in? There are 16 posts on the home page at any given time. Does our title make me want to click? Will it make others want to click? In fact, there are a thousand articles at any given time I could be reading.....suck me in to your article. Check out Headline Hacks for some of the best headline writing advice I've come across.
2. Is the formatting solid? Are you a master of the wall of words? Learn how to use the return key (or even shift return for a smaller line break). Consider using a slightly larger font and holding sub headers within your post, so it can be easily scanned by someone to determine if they want to read the whole thing (attention spans are short, realize this, learn to take advantage of it)
3. Do you satisfy the other half of my brain with an image? What do they say? A picture says a thousand words. Seems like it would make sense to add one. Not only do they add to the story, they draw your readers eyes into the article. Make sure your spacing is good, with plenty of white space. This video will show you how to insert an image and wrap the text around your image while adding great white space. You'll have that professional look in no time. (Is it ironic I didn't use one here? Or is that something other than irony?)
4. Easy on the colors! I have yet to come across a news website (of any repute) that uses anything but black (or very dark gray) fonts. I believe readers on the Internet are programmed to discount content that has text of any other color. I'm sure the purple font seemed like a good idea.....but why aren't the professional content creators using a rainbow of colors?
5. Share a little of yourself. I'm a sucker for learning something about the author when I read a blog post. Of course, I hope to be educated. But just as important is creating a connection with your audience. Add a personal anecdote or story. It will bring your post to life.
6. Write interesting stuff. I know, easier said than done. But I can't tell you how many times I've been left thinking "geez, this is a great topic, I wish they would have gone more in depth". It's almost every day. After you write the first draft of your article, read it again and think to yourself "where could I expand a little bit?" Often, the answer can be found in #5. Or better yet, have someone else read it and ask them where you could have gone deeper, or what they were hoping to see but didn't.
So here's your chance to see your smiling mug on the home page. Really looking forward to seeing some of your awesome content that we missed the first time around!