All around the globe today, people are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first WordPress release, affectionately know as #wp10. Watching the feed of photos, tweets, and posts from Auckland to Zambia is incredible; from first-time bloggers to successful WordPress-based business owners, people are coming out in droves to raise a glass and share the “holiday” with their local communities. With hundreds of parties going on today, it’s more visible than ever just how popular WordPress has become.
Thank you to everyone who has ever contributed to this project: your labors of love made this day possible.
But today isn’t just about reflecting on how we got this far (though I thought Matt’s reflection on the first ten years was lovely). We are constantly moving forward. As each release cycle begins and ends (3.6 will be here soon, promise!), we always see an ebb and flow in the contributor pool. Part of ensuring the longevity of WordPress means mentoring new contributors, continually bringing new talent and fresh points of view to our family table.
I am beyond pleased to announce that this summer we will be mentoring 8 interns, most of them new contributors, through Google Summer of Code and the Gnome Outreach Program for Women. Current contributors, who already volunteer their time working on WordPress, will provide the guidance and oversight for a variety of exciting projects this summer. Here are the people/projects involved in the summer internships:
- Ryan McCue, from Australia, working on a JSON-based REST API. Mentors will be Bryan Petty and Eric Mann, with a reviewer assist from Andrew Norcross.
- Kat Hagan, from the United States, working on a Post by Email plugin to replace the core function. Mentors will be Justin Shreve and George Stephanis, with an assist from Peter Westwood.
- Siobhan Bamber, from Wales, working on a support (forums, training, documentation) internship. Mentors will be Mika Epstein and Hanni Ross.
- Frederick Ding, from the United States, working on improving portability. Mentors will be Andrew Nacin and Mike Schroder.
- Sayak Sakar, from India, working on porting WordPress for WebOS to Firefox OS. Mentor will be Eric Johnson.
- Alex Horeth, from Germany, working on adding WordPress native revisions to the theme and plugin code editors. Mentors will be Dominik Schilling and Aaron Campbell, with a reviewer assist from Daniel Bachhuber.
- Mert Yazicioglu, from Turkey, working on ways to improve our community profiles at profiles.wordpress.org. Mentors will be Scott Reilly and Boone Gorges.
- Daniele Maio, from Italy, working on a native WordPress app for Blackberry 10. Mentor will be Danilo Ercoli.
Did you notice that our summer cohort is as international as the #wp10 parties going on today? I can only think that this is a good sign.
It’s always a difficult process to decide which projects to mentor through these programs. There are always more applicants with interesting ideas with whom we’d like to work than there are opportunities. Luckily, WordPress is a free/libre open source software project, and anyone can begin contributing at any time. Is this the year for you? We’d love for you to join us as we work toward #wp20.
Ready to start marketing your new company, product or brand? Before you create a blog, draft content for your brand-spanking-new website or start tweeting, first define your “brand voice.”
In a nutshell, this is the heart and soul of your communications. More than specific words and phrases, your brand voice is the tone in which you speak to and connect with your audience.
Your voice can be authoritative, informative, fun or just plain witty, but regardless, it must beauthentic. As one blogger wrote, “trying to fake your voice is like putting lipstick on a pig.” In other words, your audience will be able to tell if it’s not genuine. And, as studies have shown throughout the years, consumers buy products from brands that they connect to on an emotional level — and stay away from brands that they don’t.
If you’re already familiar with your brand voice, you can skip this stop. Otherwise, we’ve outlined four practices to bring you closer to finding your secret sauce.
1. Build Archetypes
As you work on nailing down your voice, it’s helpful to know who you’re talking to — beyond your audience’s basic demographics. Pick one person from each of your target audiences (e.g., working parents, college students or urban hipsters) and answer the following questions:
- What does he or she look like?
- What does he or she care about?
- Where does he or she work?
- What does he or she do for fun?
- And, most importantly, what does he or she want from your brand?
Getting into the heads of the people you’re ultimately trying to woo is a great way to get started thinking about your brand voice.
2. Fill in the Blank
Now, spend a bit of time answering the following questions:
- I want my brand to make people feel _______.
- _______ makes me feel this way.
- I want people to _______ when they come into contact with my brand.
- Three words that describe my brand are _______ , _______ and _______.
- I want to mimic the brand voice of _______.
- I dislike brand voices that sound _______.
- Interacting with my clients and potential clients makes me feel _______.
Because you want your brand voice to be genuine and natural, it will likely be inspired by yourown voice. So pay attention to the tone you use when you’re filling in these blanks. Is it funny? Laugh-out-loud funny or wink-and-a nod funny? Is it authoritative? Scholarly authoritative, or like an older brother explaining something really cool to his younger brother authoritative?
3. Create a Test Group
In life, our friends and family can often reflect back the things we sometimes miss about ourselves. You can use the same approach when looking for your brand voice.
Get a bunch of your closest people together — ideally, ones that represent your target community — and ask what excites them most about your brand. What’s unique about it? What words or phrases do they associate with it? Then, ask them to answer the same questions about you — the person who will be crafting that brand’s messages.
Based on their feedback, write a one-to-two sentence mission statement in a few different brand voices. Which one feels the most natural to you? Which one do you think is the most exciting? Don’t be afraid to combine parts of them and to keep working on your final product. Finding your brand voice is often like cooking: Sometimes you need a little splash of this and a little pinch of that to make it perfect.
Once you have a couple options you love, send them around to the group and see which resonates the most.
4. Find Your Muse
Once you have an idea of what you’re going for, it can be helpful to find other brands who have similar voices. Need a little inspiration? Check out these industry-spanning brands, both old and new. Some have witty brand voices, others have informative brand voices, but all are approachable and genuine.
Manhattan Mini Storage: They’re right in the heads of their target audience, New Yorkers — and built their voice around the shared issues and experiences this community can understand, laugh at and relate to.
Frank’s Red Hot: This hot sauce brand’s tagline is “We Put That Sh*t On Everything.” Need we say more?
Nike: The company that coined “Just Do It” has built its brand voice around inspiring people both on and off the field.
Whole Foods: Whole Foods is the holy grail of all things healthy living, thanks to its authoritative yet approachable voice.
Charmin: The Charmin team has built its voice around giggle-worthy bathroom humor without going over the top. To get an idea of their sense of humor, search the hashtag#tweetfromtheseat.
GE: GE’s brand voice is like a mole sauce; it’s got a little bit of everything. It’s inspiring, it’s informative, it’s witty, it’s fun. And because it’s been so successful in connecting with its audience, it’s trusted.
Popchips: Reading Popchips’ Twitter feed is like hanging out with my super fun, life-of-the-party friend. Take the brand’s sixth anniversary campaign: “Let’s talk about six, baby.”
Once you’ve got your brand voice down, keep it consistent. You want people who follow you on Tumblr, visit your website and interact with your customer service department to have the same (memorable) experience. In order to do so, build a style guide describing your brand and its voice and distribute it to your team. Or host an event to introduce the brand voice, answer any questions people have, and create a plan to implement it across your platforms.
And then? Time to start talking.