WordPress News & Media

Here’s the deal, WPEngine is funding an independent voice for WordPress news with the acquisition of the WPDaily archives.

Dubbed a publication, no WordPressy title in the name and almost magazine-like it’s a twist on what seems to be a tough nut to crack these days.

The WordPress media transformation is upon us. Not news — media.

Things are going to get interesting around here and I love it. Why does it matter?

  • Where are your eyeballs going to spend their time?
  • What about your ears?
  • What about your inbox?
  • Who are you going to follow on Twitter?
  • Which page will you Like?
  • Your 6 seconds on Vine?
  • Who you got in your Feedly?
  • YouTubes?
  • Instapaper?!

Let’s talk about this.

The thing about media

Get on the scale.

Anyone who is thinking scale is ultimately thinking traffic. If you’re thinking traffic you’re thinking content. If you’re thinking content, you’re thinking as much as you can produce.

If you’re WPEngine you already know this.

I don’t want to hear quality vs quantity or long form versus how-to. Podcasts or web shows. No matter how you spin it, if you’re staking your flag into the proverbial field you need to produce and producing content is more than just words on a blog.

Sure, if you’re doing it as a hobby you don’t really care about what’s going on. Hell, even if you do care what’s going on — you might say you don’t need traffic or WordPress media in general.

That’s fine. Someday you will.

Matt, get to the freaking point.

I might not really have a direct conclusion on the state of WordPress news and media but I’m a theoretical guy so here’s what I find interesting:

  • More WordPress based podcasts that you can shake a stick at.
  • WPDaily ramping up and then selling off the archives of WPDaily as we know it. 
  • Sites that took the reign and those that seek to claim it.
  • Those who say WordPress news is useless vs. those who lust after it.
  • WordPress is becoming a household name.
  • People will want WordPress news, they just don’t know it yet.

“I’m on the pursuit of awesomeness: excellence is the bare minimum.” Kanye West on producing Watch The Throne

My sentiments on competition probably aren’t very popular amongst those in the community that feel that competition doesn’t exist — or even worse — feel that competition shouldn’t exist.

Forgive me, I grew up in the automotive industry where competition was the lifeblood of an organization.

I’m constantly competing to be a different voice in the community. When I think WordPress media, I think of the hip hop industry.

When I think of the most audacious hip hop personalities, I think of today’s featured image.

What happens when you mash them together?

Can you imagine Jake Goldman chillin’ with Rick Ross? Just picture it for a moment and let that sink in.

Crazy right?

More on personalities in media

The guys at Dradcast have their unique personality and niche even if it includes starving me out. (hint hint wink wink — love you guys)

My buddy Chris Lema is the WordPress preacher man. Kneel to him and confess your sins — he heals all.

Robert Neu. Bacon meets the Stern of WordPress podcasting.

Dustin Hartzler is the Sunday Morning broadcast of WordPress.

There’s a bunch of other personalities I didn’t mention, but you get the point.

WordPress media is a different space and you’re going to have to choose who to follow, what site to read and which show to tune into.

The crux of a WordPress content producer

News and media sites consume your time for which you can’t trade back or interchange. So we’ll all be vying for your time.

WordPress media is different than competing themes or plugins.

Digital products can be placed in your toolkit and called upon when you need them on a specific project. You might use Gravity Forms on one project and Ninja Forms on the next. So it’s easy to coexist when each solves a unique itch.

Why would you read the same news on two different sites? Why listen to a podcast that has the same format as the next?

You won’t unless your an absolute freak like me.


Collaboration and Competition from Carrie Dils

Thankfully Carrie Dils just talked about this at WordCamp San Francisco 2013.

So don’t confuse this little rant with being afraid of competition.

I love the fact there’s so much awesome stuff happening in this new WordPress media universe.

It motivates and validates what everyone is doing — it’s all positive. I’m just saying, it’s going to get interesting round these parts.

Who’s going to win in the end? 

The good news is (no pun intended)  —  it’s you the reader, the viewer and the fan.

My advice to WPEngine’s new WordPress media investment (not that they need it) — do you.


17 responses to “WordPress News & Media”

  1. Well said, my friend. As far as I’m concerned, there is space for everyone. I couldn’t make a show exactly looks the matt report if I tried and why would I want to? We all have a unique perspective to share with the world. I like the fact that so many people are getting into the WP media space. It will keep all of us on our toes. Let’s all keep raising the bar and one upping each other. That’s how awesome shit gets done.

  2. We’ve seen yet another WordPress news site/source flare up, burn out and the ashes picked up by another startup news source. This is a pattern that’s not unfamiliar to those of us in the WP business, (except for the buying the archives bit. I do wonder what old news and opinion is worth)

    Something I see being overlooked with this repetition is the market research. Without presenting my resume, at my core I’m a marketer and have helped a lot of startups. Something crucial to any endeavor is to see if there’s a market and to find the details of that market before jumping in. I personally see the fundamental issue with someone starting a WP “news” site is that there’s really no need for one, at least in the redundant iteration that Torque seems to be. Let me explain.

    I would argue that those of us who give a flip about WordPress and it’s “news,” personalities, and what is typically found in a wp news site learn most of what we need to know from Twitter, Trac, Post_Status, the many WP podcasts, meetups, and other methods that nerds or freaks as you say, like us regularly, if not obsessively, follow to get the news even before it happens. We are a highly connected group to the web and each other. Usually by the time it’s written up, we know something about it. And if not, we curate it ourselves with readers or, in my case my own dedicated website that I just use to scrape and curate those stories and people I’m interested in (WPplus.me) to peruse at my leisure.

    In addition, WordPress is a community as much as it is software, and open-source at that. No one’s afraid (or shouldn’t be) to reach out to the very people that dedicate themselves to keeping it running. What I’m getting at is that most news isn’t going to be of the breaking variety. If anything, we’re interested in the personalities behind it all and what they’re up to and think. You probably can easily make a short list of who I’m talking about, and you being one as a familiar face in the space. A main reason we tune into WP podcasts or visit WP-related sites is the person/people behind them. Not really so much the news itself; we want to see what you think about it and the unique spin and way you dress it up with your personality. We can easily find out the details of most WP news with a quick Google or Twitter search.

    So what’s the void that each WP news site aims to fill exactly? I’m not some WP superstar by a mile, but I am heavily involved, to the point I base my business around it. I can’t remember ever being asked or polled as a part of someone or an organization’s WP news-related market research prior to development and release. WordPress is relatively big, and it’s growing, but I imagine the core group of people that would even be interested in a WP news site, or “media,” as you coin it being the target market.

    You state “WordPress media is a different space and you’re going to have to choose who to follow, what site to read and which show to tune into.” Not really. I’ll just (maybe)add Torque to the list of other media that I curate, if it even merits that curation, since the people, personalities and news is usually broken and discussed in real time elsewhere. Not performing diligent market research is a main reason so many businesses fail, including, I must imagine, the bevy of WP news sites we see come and go or at least just gather dust. It’s a limited market, and without a solid and proven marketing plan I’m not so sure throwing up another news site is a great use of resources. I’m just not seeing a point of differentiation with Torque yet, and with the hastiness it was debuted I must think that once again, adequate market research was overlooked. As you hint, what exactly is going to make it so different, fresh and compulsory that its intended audience gives up our scarce time and resources from elsewhere to engage Torque? I don’t know because it isn’t apparent, and that’s a problem if they want to compete and not just survive but flourish in this space.

    I’m not sure how many freaks like you or me are out here, but for the sake of Torque’s longevity, hope that they do, and that they’ve run the numbers and it works. WP Engine may just see it as a marketing extension/tool for their brand. If that’s the case, it may meets it’s goals, whatever those might be.

    1. Michael thanks for stopping by.

      So true about defining the market and your note “I can’t remember ever being asked or polled as a part of someone or an organization’s WP news-related market research prior to development and release”

      My *gut* feeling is there’s a market and proven ever so briefly by WPDaily and their 143 growth to $3k a month http://john.do/143-days/

      Of course, you’re going to need increased revenue numbers to really sustain something, but hey, it’s a start.

      Maybe there’s a lot of us freaks out there? haha!

      1. Oh, there are plenty of us freaks. Most of them were in San Fran this weekend. But my worry is that too many people go with their gut feelings instead of doing any research as to how to convert that to sustainable growth and revenue as a business model. Ad revenue and affiliate links can only take you so far. If it’s going to be a job board site, then that’s what it should be focused on, not just a pile of whatever. The goals of the site haven’t been made clear, or what differentiates it. At least I haven’t picked up on it, and that should be a central marketing message.

        I think the reason John got traction with WPDaily is because of John and not so much the content. I, at least, already knew most of what he was reporting because I follow the people and orgs that are the very topics. John’s personality was able to shine through, or at least he could put an interesting enough spin on the subject, that we enjoyed going to the site to just see what’s up. It’s the same reason I think Krogsgard is going to succeed with PostStatus and Tung Do’s automated approach won’t see the same success. Readers want a human touch, and preferably a human we trust and like. We like Brian, despite his Auburn degree. We don’t care about a bot that spits out words.

        An outside editor was brought in for Torque vs. hiring a familiar name in the WP community. We’ll see if that was wise, but personally I think is going to make gaining ground that much harder. I’m just wondering if WP Engine really ran the numbers and decided it would work, or went with the same gut feeling, which rarely takes a business very far. It’ll be interesting to watch and discuss.

        1. Your comments in total doesn’t really make sense to me. On one hand, you say hardcore users find their way to news through channels like Twitter. (IMO browsing twitter and feed readers is a generic experience, without personality). Yet, personality and John’s special spin on news is what drove WPDaily’s success?

          WP news require expertise in numerous fields. It’s not just acquisitions and startup launches. It’s design, tutorials, themes, plugins, core updates, etc. That’s why creating unique content is limiting unless you pay a group of people to do it similar to TorqueMag.io. Whether that approach pays off is yet to be determined.

          I think the same is true for my approach — TBD. Don’t write off DevPress too quickly. Keep your eyes on it and watch it evolve.

          WP is powered by open source. Why can’t its news be the same? My approach is automation with filtering and organization. A simple example is what if your Twitter feed suddenly highlights all new podcast related tweets for you?

          DevPress has been slow to get going because what you see is the tip of the iceberg. Once I’m finished revising, you’ll love using it! =)

          1. Hi Tung-
            I wasn’t necessarily saying people find their way TO news on Twitter and blogs; the news is presented real-time then and there by the very people making it. Usually with their own commentary. If you can’t see the difference between that and simply regurgitated headlines, then I’m not sure how I can make it clearer.

            I’m not sure creating unique content centered around WP is all that limiting, if the writer paces himself and is deliberate in what is published(and knows what they’re talking about, which takes someone seasoned, which was my concern with an outside editor for Torque). That, of course, takes a skilled human eye. Again, if you’re taking the approach of a person actually creating the unique content, then right there you have what I am getting at: an actual person with a personality creating an article and deciding how and when it’s released. When done properly, it can even generate discussion as we have here at Mattreport.com, for example. Not just a feed reader spitting out someone else’s work from elsewhere untouched. My impression from your description of your plan for DevPress didn’t involve a team of writers creating dynamic, unique content.

            Along those same lines, I don’t really see how “open source” can be applied to news creation. Do you mean like Post_Status, where it’s offered to Brian to filter, organize and comment on? If so, that also didn’t strike me as what you are planning on doing.

            With DevPress, my problem might be that I just don’t know what you have planned exactly, which is why I’m interested to see your exact method and approach to marketing when debuted. I will certainly be listening out for your launch to see what’s up your sleeve. Probably on Twitter or PostStatus. 🙂

        2. Thanks for your response. MattReport doesn’t allow another level of reply so I’ll do it here.

          About limitations of creating unique content, I meant WP news/media isn’t just editorials and events. It’s tutorials, reviews, etc. If you were to cover everything by yourself like Brian at poststat.us, you might excel on certain topics and fall short on others. It’s limiting for your site, not you. Torquemag.io solution to that is paying their team and contractors to write articles. The range of WP media topic is so wide we’d really need to look at Torquemag.io overall results after several months to see if its worth it to approach it that way.

          And touching on your point about personality and giving your own perspective on news, I agree, but also consider people don’t really care where the perspective is offered and where the conversation happens as long as they can find it.

          With that in mind, I’m attempting to make DevPress the hub of conversations, not just a generic news aggregator.

          1. The breadth of WP topics didn’t elude me, it’s just that do we really need another source of plugin reviews, for example? I can think of several sites that offer those on a very regular basis and surely they draw the page views if that’s the target market. WP Beginner is an example of (many such sites) paying freelancing writers for content, and it’s a good outlet for something like that because people new to WP are all into exploring the kajillion plugins out there. As a WP developer I, at least, am not so interested in staying on top of the piles of plugins or various themes that appear daily. I don’t have time and I make ’em myself and stick with several tried-end-true, so I’m not really the target market for that anyway.

            But that brings me to my original point, which you highlight with this, “The range of WP media topic is so wide we’d really need to look at Torquemag.io overall results after several months to see if its worth it to approach it that way.” That’s an awful way to plan your business, because it’s not planning at all, and the best method should have been worked out already before the first post was ever written, or in this case, bought. If there was a failure to develop a workable marketing plan, that’s just gambling and not good business. My initial post was that I’m afraid I see a lack of marketing research happening over and over again, and no one can figure out why WP news sites come and go like they do.

            Also I’m not sure I agree with the idea of people not caring where the perspective/conversation is offered as long as they can find it. That’s a main reason Fox News, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, and thousands of other media outlets are successful. They provide a consistent viewpoint and that attracts like-minded people who want to join in a conversation they can relate to and not necessarily get blasted out of the universe for having differing points of view, which we’ve all seen happen. I go to a handful of websites because I know what culture and voice to expect, and may stay away from others for the same reason. There simply has to be differentiation, or no one’s going to care. And creating and cultivating those points of differentiation should be worked out and proven in the planning phase as well, and communicated to the target market. Otherwise you’ve just commoditized yourself.

          2. “The range of WP media topic is so wide we’d really need to look at Torquemag.io overall results after several months to see if its worth it to approach it that way”

            What results would you want to see?

          3. @michael interesting point, but I’m not sure WP news/media works the same way Fox News or another example does though. The audience are mostly tech people with the desired for unbias reporting and consistency. Take Reddit for example. It’s simultaneously a hub for scholars and caters to teenagers browsing WTF and boob topics.

            So far, WP audience doesn’t seem to care. WPCandy, WPDaily, Postatus, and now TorqueMag. Wherever the conversations happen, they just happen. However, the channels where conversations take place haven’t embraced social media and the rate of which people consumed content. They’re more concerned with providing unique content and commentary.

            More than unique perspectives and expertise, I think a hub for communication is what WordPress is lacking and that’s the strategy DevPress is leaning toward.

  3. I could totally hang with Rick Ross. 😀

  4. Me too, but for laughs and giggles. The Rick Ross featured in the article is a fake. Look up the story behind the REAL Rick Ross. He’s been suing the fake Rick Ross and it’s legit. The fake Rick Ross tattooed another man’s name on himself hahah.

    1. Yea I’ve read up on it. Now who’s going to roll a fake Nacin? ;p

  5. @dotBen I’d be interested in how they monetize the overall traffic. Of course, it benefits their brand and builds trust, but will they break even or profit after paying writers to create articles for such a wide range of topics?

    If they don’t at least break even, the most obvious sign would be the frequency of new articles being published or the length of each article.

    1. We’re not looking to break even, or even at this point monetize TorqueMag. In the same way we don’t look to “break even” on WordCamp sponsorship or other community related projects we embark on.

      That’s partly what makes this unique and special.

      (I’m one of the founders of WP Engine)

      1. Well then if I could shake your hand, I would. Altruistic ventures aren’t easy. I hope your team keeps it up as long as possible.

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