How To Possibly Get Your Post Featured On The Jalopnik Front Page

Illustration for article titled How To Possibly Get Your Post Featured On The Jalopnik Front Page

Y'all have heard, and have now seen, that we can repub posts from your personal Kinja sites to the front page of Jalopnik. It's a good thing for everyone and we're having a lot of fun with it thus far. Here are a few tips on how to get us to notice your fine work.

If you've noticed, Jalopnik posts have a certain style. There's a snappy headline, a good picture, and a short paragraph that makes you want to read the rest of the post. Then there's the body, or meat, of the post. What's that? You don't want to call it the meat? Too bad. I already did.

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Headlines: Gotta have one. Make it active, not passive (Ex: "Goes" sounds better than "is going"). Use some creative language, you don't want to sound like everyone else, make it stand out. Try not to use commas or other punctuation (except a question mark at times). Capitalize Every Word Like We Do. Most of all, have some fun with it.

Image: There has to be an image at the top of the post. No ifs, ands, or buts. That image should be 970 x 546, which is pretty close to the standard 16 x 9 aspect ratio. It's the size we edit images to. Also, make it interesting. A boring image won't make anyone want to read.

Lede: That first little bit before the first paragraph break that reels you in is called the lede. It should grab the reader's attention and give them a reason to read the story. If the first part of the post doesn't interest you, will the rest of the post interest you? I bet it won't.

Body: We all make mistakes, but try and make sure the copy of the post is clean. That means no typos, or at the very least a severe lack of typos. In the posts, additional images should still be in that landscape aspect ratio I mentioned above.

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These are just a few tips. If you follow them, there is no guarantee that you will end up on the front page of Jalopnik. Likewise, we might see something so good that it doesn't adhere to any of these and put it on our front page.

When you're done with your story, let us know about it at tips@jalopnik.com and we'll take a look to see if it's worthy of the front page.

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So far you all have found some awesome content we've been excited to feature. As the platform evolves, so will the style, but if you're interested in seeing your work shared on Jalopnik these steps are a good place to start. Go get 'em!

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DISCUSSION

Spencer_Williams
Spencer Williams

Travis' advice here is good. (Free tip #1: Use quality descriptives, like "good, or "nice." Makes your writing pop!) Here are my further tips on how to not just get your work frontpaged, but draw a lot of eyes and commentary. I am the least qualified person to write this, that's why I'm stepping up.

1. Headlines: Post them in the form of a question, the answer to which is always no. "Is this the new 2018 Mustang?" "Is this the President's Benz?" "Did Fiat just release a 17-speed manual?" You get the idea. If you don't, I'm very sorry about everything and you deserve so much better.

2. Image: Make it good. (Serious question: what about attribution for photos? Is there a standard protocol? I don't want to be an image thief.) 

3. Lede: This should also be good. You want it to be engaging and excited, but not quite at the "Dude Bro, Check It, Awesome!" levels of the Ray Wert Era. The Hardigree Era favors content that informs without overpanderization (<—good word-Ed). You can throw in some music references that may draw hipster attacks, but keep them at an Elephant Six level. Don't dig deeper than the Scrubs soundtrack guy or you'll lose too many people.

4. Body: This is the part, in my experience, where you inform the reader, but must also manage to hide the fact that you don't really know that much about the subject. Let's call one technique the Pitchfork Method: Insert obscure references in places where obvious references would work just as well. In place of saying, "the drummer is good, and he plays his drums nicely," go with "Kinsky's drumming conjures up 1988, Green River through a tape deck, muddled yet damning in its determination." This way, you are not only saying the drumming is both nice and good, but you're making the reader feel unqualified to understand it. Who's the expert now? You!

You can also go with unqualified statements of opinion, if you want your writing to have more of a Gizmodo feel. Don't say "shift feel is nice, clutch engagement is good, instead opt for "we haven't experienced throws so clean and such crisp clutch bite in a hatchback since November of 2008." Why November of 2008? Why not? No one can disprove you, and if they do somehow bother to google such a vague statement, just shake your head in pity.

Also, make references to hip hop, because I enjoy that.

If you want a ton of hits, include a celebrity, reinforce a stereotype, or attack a subgroup. Ideally, all three. If you don't want a ton of hits, write about driving in incredible detail like Alex Lloyd, or just be named Alex Lloyd. Alex, your stuff is great. But often people aren't looking for great, they are searching for O RLY, or possibly LOLWUT.

You have the tools, now get out there and do nice, good work!