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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!