Tips for getting your BDN blog post on the home page

newspaper copyWith more than 140 blogs (and growing) at The Bangor Daily News, we get a lot of questions about what makes a successful post. The most popular question we get asked is how to get a post to appear on the home page. Today we’ll give you four crucial tips to consider if you would like to see your work on the BDN online home page.

1) Headline
Arguably the most important element of a blog post is the headline. If a headline does not clearly state what the article is about, is not interesting, or does not make sense then readers will not likely click on it and the news desk will not likely choose that particular post to be included on the front page.

A successful headline will be roughly 55 characters long, ask a pointed question or clearly state the premise of a story, and include some variety of verbiage that will encourage a reader to click on the article. And lastly, do not capitalize every word in the headline.

To learn how to make your next headline stronger try typing it into Headline Analyzer, where your headline will be scored and given specific feedback on how to improve effectiveness.

2) Picture
Not only does a successful post have a strong headline, it also has an eye-catching photo to go along with it. When posting images be sure to put them through a filter to crop, adjust colors, and sometimes add a layer of words. You do not need to be an expert graphic designer to make a decent image as there are several user friendly websites and apps that can help a blogger to create interesting and beautiful images. Check out the websites Canva and PicMonkey. For a free photo filter on your phone try Avery. And to make infographics try Piktochart.

One caution to consider when using images that you do not own the rights to is to make sure that you have legal right to use it. Read this compelling story on the legal implications of using images that are not yours. You can find free legal images through Pixabay and Getty Images. When choosing a free picture from the Internet make sure you have access to the Creative Commons license and check to make sure you give proper attribution when required.

Make sure that before you hit publish you look to the right side of the screen and click on set featured image. This will allow you to choose what the preview image looks like. 

3) Content
Be sure that the content you are publishing has proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Check the piece for tone and flow too, does your story start out with a great paragraph and then peter out? Does your story have a strong ending? Did you include a call to action or provoke the reader to consider a unique perspective on your topic? Is your story timely and relevant to current events? These are just few questions to consider while editing your blog post.

4) Timing
One of the most popular questions we get asked is when is the best time to post a story in hopes of getting on the front page? The answer is, it depends! As the writer for the BDN blog Housewife Plus, I have noticed that if I post a story in the morning before 8:00 AM then I will get the most traffic and that story is more likely to be picked up and run on the front page. If I post late at night between 10:00 PM and 11:00 PM then I have roughly the same luck. This timing may or may not work for you. The best way to know is to open up your dashboard and study your stats. Try posting at different times and watch for changes in traffic to your blog. When your work does get picked up for the front page of the BDN take note of when you posted the story and try posting at that time again and see what happens. A lot of success in blogging comes from trial and error.

If you do not have a blog at the BDN but are interested in starting one then we want to hear form you! You can pitch us your blog idea here. If you are a current BDN blogger and you have questions that you would like to see addressed in a post on this blog then you can contact Sarah Cottrell via the BDN Blog Facebook group or through here.

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Scary Mommy, Disney’s Babble, and Momtastic. Sarah runs a popular Facebook page, @Housewifeplus where readers laugh and share stories from the parenting trenches. She is a co-author in several books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine and National Public Radio.