tag I have been tagged to tell the blogiverse How Do I Write An Outstanding Post? If you want to see who is out of his mind thinking that I’m writing outstanding posts, click on the bloggy-tag image on the right. Personally, I don’t believe that the word “outstanding” accurately describes my writing. There are other much better words that give a full justice to my blog posts: superb, magnificent, exceptional or at least, sensational.

hmm.. is that what they call a “wishful thinking”? Frankly, I can only hope that one day my writing could be appropriately characterized as “exceptional”. Presently, I feel very honoured when someone considers some of my posts outstanding. But then there’s a nagging question in mind: which posts people consider to be remarkable – the same posts that I personally find noteworthy or the posts that I would label as bestsellers?

You see, the truth is that I don’t consider bestsellers to have an outstanding quality to them, although they do sell well (hence the name) and are very popular with the general public. Most of the articles that end up on Digg’s front page are bestsellers, just like many of the posts published by Smashing Magazine. There’s nothing superb or exceptional in them other than that they managed to cater to a wider audience and were lucky enough to get the right promotion and advertising.

An obvious question comes to mind: Can an outstanding post become a bestseller? I believe it depends on the answer to another related question: What made this posts to stand out – is it the writing or the topic, or the popularity and credibility of its author, or the public who reads it and comes to a combined conclusion that this particular piece of writing also has a “selling” quality to it and deserves to be promoted as a bestseller?

So which of my posts do I personally find noteworthy (or should I just forget about my humble upbringing and call them “outstanding”)? Here are the 8 efforts I’m trying to apply to my writing to make it stand out, my 8 attempts to take it closer to captivating works of those who do know how to write an outstanding post:

  1. Let the thoughts brew in your head.

    I noticed that it’s best to let my ideas and thoughts for the post to evolve in my mind before even writing them down. That’s when I resort to the sleeping kingdom, or play with my daughter, or go for a walk – all those things help me to re-charge my creative juices and shape up my thoughts into a post.

  2. Be creative with words

    There is a reason why practically every word in English (and other languages) has synonyms, so why not integrate them in your writing? Next time instead of praising something or someone as being “great” ten times in one article why not use it only once and replace all other nine instances of this word with its synonyms: magnificent, powerful, distinguished, immense, awe-inspiring, brilliant, devoted, grand, fantastic (and the list goes on).

  3. Sprinkle your posts with bits of humour

    If you’re blessed with a terrific sense of humour use it as your finest tool, get it working to your advantage, turn your posts into a unique mixture of wittiness and intelligence at work. There are too many overly serious boring blogs and bloggers over there, don’t fall into the same trap.

  4. Add a personal touch

    Which post would make a bigger impact on you: the one that’s simply listing Top 10 Most Popular WordPress Plugins or the one that talks about the Handy WordPress Plugins installed on the author’s blog with an explanation of why the blogger finds them useful? There are gazillions of articles in the blogiverse that constantly teach us something: from how to make money with blogging or increase the traffic to which are the best tools or sites for designers or photographers. If the authors don’t back up their choices with some personal thoughts and experience why should I take their word for it and waste time trying out their tips myself?

  5. Be original and find your niche

    Make your blog’s topic/theme/tagline memorable, write the articles with an instantly recognizable style. Don’t try pretending to be someone else. Write about things you know something about. And if you don’t know much but you are eager to learn and share with your readers, then make sure you research that topic really well. Don’t try pleasing everyone, find the niche and audience you’re comfortable with and always give them your best, never take their praise for granted.

  6. Be engaging

    Capture your readers attention by writing on engrossing topics. Engage them to participate in the discussion, hold their attention from the beginning of the post till the end. If you managed to get the readers to look at things with a fresh perspective, if you stimulated them to think, if you made them realize that what you wrote about is actually beneficial to them, then you can relax for a bit, pamper yourself or toast your achievement with a glass of a delicate wine, and concentrate on working on the next “masterpiece”.

  7. Accept and invite criticism

    If you get unfavorable comments, don’t get defensive nor let them put you down, but learn from them and if possible ask the commenter for a fair but much needed criticism. If you don’t get any comments on the post you thought was an absolute marvel, then it means that perhaps you forgot to follow one or more of the 6 suggestions above. Try re-evaluating the article and pinpointing out what you might’ve done differently this time to improve its quality.

  8. Be your own best critic

    Be truthful with yourself about your work. Ignore the fact that you just spent hours on writing, thinking, structuring your post. Before publishing it try reading it as you would read someone’s else article. Do you feel bored with the post, does it appeal to you, what would you comment on it? If you personally feel satisfied with your work, if you can exclaim: “How did I come up with those words, that phrase, this topic? DId I actually write this post myself?” then you can be sure that what you wrote can be labeled as outstanding.

Now, it’s tagging time. Once again I’d like to tag two people who tagged me in past – Ronald from RA Project and Bes – The Reasoner, and also I’m curious to see what Brian from Epic Edits has to say about How Do You Write An Outstanding Post? (check out the rules that go along with this tagging)

I have similar questions to my readers: How do you know when you wrote a brilliant post, and which posts do you consider being absolutely exceptional?

Recent Bits
Related Bits
Best Inspiration Bits in 2007
The 2008 Bloggies – A Joke Or A Smack On The Face?
Flattering Influence
Guest Bit
Another Handy WordPress plugin
How to tease your blog readers and gain more page views
Untitled And Undecided
What Can Be Done In The Name Of Design
Comment Bits

14 Insightful Bits in response to “Outstanding Posts Are Not Bestsellers”

  1. Well, since you tagged me, I guess you’ll have to wait for my answer. :)

    What a terrific and fantastic byte of information :)

    I would add that if you can’t find your niche, at least be original.

  2. I really agree with #6 – especially if you want conversation on your blog.

    Thanks for the link love.

  3. Vivien

    You’re very welcome, Dawud. Thanks for dropping by.
    When I first time read your post on how you write great posts, I didn’t think I’ll be able to add anything to it myself. So I took time to get away from this post and let it slowly develop in my mind.

  4. Accepting and inviting criticism is a fantastic way to improve yourself (and in my case my website).

    I’ve linked my name through to an article I wrote, asking my readers for criticism (constructive of course).

    It was so helpful.

  5. I absolutely agree with all of those points. I would also add that best-sellers are usually, for me at least, a surprise. My most commented post, my last one, was a bit of a throw away post that I didn’t really expect answers from.

    I suspect that practicing all the points you have made above means that even throw away posts are well written and that can only be a benefit.

  6. This is a great post. I grabbed your feed because of this post. So thanks.

    I’ve learned over time that sometimes I nail a great post and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I don’t think I have time and write something quickly that becomes a huge conversation. Other times I carefully craft a post that I think will be a huge conversational piece, and gets little.

    But what I do is consistent…I keep writing.

  7. Vivien

    Yes, David, constructive criticism definitely helps. Unfortunately, some people can’t handle it very well, and get defensive or upset even though they’ve personally asked for it. It happened to me quite a few times – I’ve been asked to review people’s site or an artwork, but after getting my critical review I haven’t heard back from them anymore. Now sometimes I’m a bit reluctant to thoroughly criticize someone’s work even if they asked for it. Fortunately, there are others who appreciate my honest feedback and then both sides benefit from a productive discussion afterwards.

    Dawud, thank you very much for subscribing to my feed. I don’t always write great posts either, so hopefully my not-so-good posts won’t make you to change your mind and cancel the subscription :-)

  8. Vivien

    Andrew, you last post has received so many comments simply because you’ve asked readers for help with your coding problem and you got it. You’ve engaged them. Plus, your catchy title didn’t hurt either :-)
    So perhaps trying the same tactics with your other more interesting posts, will help you to get the similar response from readers.

    P.S. For some reason your comment was flagged as a Spam. I’m glad I was able to spot it in my short spam list and unspam it :-)

  9. You have made some great points. Number 4 ‘adding a personal touch’ also brings to mind branding. You have done a great job branding your blog. I have become so familiar with the Inspiration Bit brand that I am a buyer. So, I think that makes you a best selling author. At least in my feed reader.

    The post I have with the most comments is not a post consisting of great prose. But, it is a post that was very timely in my niche and the conversation between myself and my readers grew the post into conversation and emails. You can write a tremendous piece but if the people who visit your blog can’t relate, take interest or be inspired by it, you probably won’t have a ‘best seller’ on your hands.

  10. Trust me, not every post I write is great either.

  11. These are good points, Vivien.

    I especially liked the first one, Let the thoughts brew in your head. This is good advice. You have an idea, and just let it kick around for a bit. Suddenly, the “thing” will happen that just propels it into existence – the introduction, the hard-hitting one-liner, whatever it is, it makes it come alive.

    Thank you very much for the encouraging words, as well.

  12. Hey, cool!!! I’ve never been tagged before! I’ll probably have something up this weekend for it. What good timing too, I just got done participating in several group writing projects… I know I won’t have a hard time finding a few others to tag.

    Cool post too, you always manage to come up with good original stuff. I was following the trail back in time and there are a lot of other good articles too. How fun!

  13. Vivien

    Thank you, Rory and Brian. I’m really glad to know that my thoughts have resonated with your.

    Brian, I’ll be looking forward to your entry and your tricks of trade :-)

  14. All eight of your points are excellent. I’m sure it depends on what type of niche you have chosen, but I enjoy using humor and tweaking words to spice up the posts. I find that being my own best critic is difficult. Usually I am a much harsher judge of my work than my audience ever is.

Selected Bits





Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
read more…
When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on