How I Choose Who Gets Featured in my Articles

A reader of some of my articles on Smashing Magazine emailled and asked if I had any advice on how he could get his business featured on a big website like Smashing Mag. I don’t hand out consultancy on improving your business’s visibility, but I’m happy to provide insight into how I choose who I feature. I thought that an extended version of that would be worth sharing:

  1. I often feature businesses or people who I’ve met online or offline – this is usually at WordCamps, but also people I chat with on Twitter or who show up in the various WordPress chat rooms. There’s a lot of people in WordPress and I try to keep as many people on my radar as possible – often the same people come to mind to approach about various aspects of WordPress.
  2. I like to find people who have a unique perspective or something interesting to say. I do a lot of research and interviews and the same answers appear again and again, so it’s quite refreshing when someone says something different or unexpected. I tend to go back to those people again and again.
  3. I do try to find people who I haven’t featured before – to do this I’ll do some research on the internet. I’ll contact someone on the basis of them doing something interesting, and having a professional website.
  4. Diversity is important. As a person who has the privilege of featuring people on Smashing Magazine  it’s my responsibility to represent the WordPress community as the diverse place that it is. I’m pro-active in contacting people of different genders and from a wide range of countries. In the end, there are always factors that affect who actually makes it to the final article – who gets back to me for the deadline and the quality of the responses, for example.
  5. I often look for WordPress contributors to feature – these could be prominent contributors or those who keep a low profile. Contributors are great as they are normally very driven, care about WordPress, and know a lot about it.
  6. I like to ask people who aren’t always so vocal. Sometimes people are shy about putting themselves forward, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have something interesting to say. Often, when I contact people out of the blue they are surprised and flattered, which is a nice feeling.
  7. I never feature anyone who asks me specifically to. I’ve been offered money before to recommend people in my articles. If anyone ever asks me that then they’ll never be featured.
  8. I never contact anyone who violates the WordPress trademark.

Since I work with so many WordPress people, I do end up featuring my clients. After all, I know more about their businesses than others. But I always aim to be objective, normally reporting on the things that they say rather than the quality of their product or service. I don’t write reviews or comparisons between my clients and other businesses.

I guess that’s full disclosure!



Speaking at WordCamp Netherlands this Weekend!

This weekend I’ll be in Utrecht, where I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Netherlands. This will be the second WordCamp I’ve attended, having been to WordCamp Portsmouth last year. Coen Jacobs wrote on his blog that he’ll be speaking and it inspired me to write a little bit here.

This is the first time that I’ll be speaking at a WordCamp so I’m a little bit nervous. And I’m not speaking once, I’m speaking twice!

Do’s and Don’ts for WordPress Startups

Bowe Frankema suggested that I do this presentation. It builds on articles I’ve been writing for Smashing Magazine over the past few months. I spent a lot of time emailing people who run WordPress businesses and it’s been great to use these contacts to put together a (hopefully) helpful list of advice for people about to start their own WordPress startup. It also includes some advice from me, that I’ve learned from starting up Words for WP.  They’ve put me on the keynote track – EEEP!

Writing Docs Like a Boss

Since my own WordPress superpower is writing documentation, I also thought it would be a good idea to say a bit about that. I’ve never seen a presentation about documentation at a WordCamp before and it’s actually a really important part of producing a successful WordPress product or service. In the presentation I’ll talk about how you can produce really great docs for a WordPress product. The title comes from a dumb thing that Bowe Frankema says all the time, then I was told by Paul Gibbs that it’s from this:

I’ll be writing up both of these as articles for Smashing Magazine so even if you can’t make it to Utrecht you can find out what I’ve been talking about (minus the silly clanger-voice that I have).

I’ll also be writing a piece for Smashing Mag called “Diary of a WordCamp” so I’ll be doing some roving reporting, taking photos of people and generally trying to keep track of everything that’s going on. If you’re there make sure you say hello!