Torque’s fearless editor Marie Dodson took over this week’s ManageWP AMA. Dodson manages contributors from the community and an unruly staff to deliver WordPress news, tutorials, and analysis.
For the last three years, Dodson has been heavily involved in the community and has worked to create a resource for WordPressers of any skill level. People asked her what it’s like to run a WordPress publication, her thoughts on coffee, and of course, the future of WordPress.
Editorial planning is formulaic.
Though it may not seem like it, there is a method to our madness here at Torque. Dodson considers when each post should go live. She maintains an editorial calendar that breaks articles up into different categories by day. Each week has information for experienced and beginner WordPress users alike.
“From there, we work with our amazing contributors (who are a mix of developers, designers, enthusiasts and freelance writers) to select relevant topics that fall into the aforementioned buckets. This really helps us ensure that we are serving content to all of our readers,” Dodson said.
That said, there are pieces Dodson posts just because they’re cool and fun, even if they don’t conform to a bucket.
Accessibility is the greatest challenge for WordPress.
Dodson believes the biggest roadblock for the success of WordPress in the future is accessibility. Though it is easy to start a blog, isn’t much information on how to move forward. It can seem daunting for less technical users.
“The famous five-minute install is great but I think as more and more less technical users start switching to WordPress the on-boarding process needs to be even easier,” Dodson said.
Dodson pointed to Matt Mullenweg’s Q&A at WordCamp Europe, where he mentioned the ease of publishing on Tumblr.
“I think WordPress will definitely need to find a way to make publishing even easier as we move forward,” she said.
Find your audience.
When asked her advice for bloggers, Dodson said, “find your audience and write for them.” If you lose sight of the people you’re writing for, it can be hard to come up with blog ideas. Making sure you are in tune with your audience allows you to create more interesting and engaging content. Because the Torque team is only four people, it can be hard to reach out to every part of the community. That’s why Torque works with a diverse group of contributors.
“Our contributors at Torque each have different areas of expertise, whether they are a developer or a freelance writer specializing in plugins or themes, or tutorials,” she said. “It’s easier to build your rapport as a WordPress blogger when you have defined your niche and can become an expert in what you’re writing about.”
If there is something we want to cover but don’t have the expertise, we find someone who does.
A lot goes into running a WordPress publication.
Of course, Dodson is an editor and writer, but more goes into her day to day than just those things. Before the West Coast Torque team is awake, she looks for WordPress trends and news. After working out what will be published in the upcoming week, Dodson spends her time answering emails and solving problems.
“My afternoons are typically consumed with editing content, answering inquiries, pitching in on social and dealing with a number of different fires that can arise each day (you won’t believe how many issues we’ve had with our syntax highlighter),” she said.
Coffee is great for the creative process.
Dodson bravely answered the age old question: coffee or tea. She named coffee as her drink of choice.
“I am definitely a coffee lover, and it usually takes one large cup to get the creative juices flowing for me,” Dodson said.
The new season of ManageWP AMA’s is set to go through the end of the year.
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