WordCamp Sacramento Speaker Interview With Sallie Goetsch

Sallie Goetsch

Sallie Goetsch

wpfangirl.com | @salliegoetsch

Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with ‘sketch’) has been online since 1985. She hand-coded her first HTML website in 1994. Since discovering WordPress in 2005, she hasn’t looked back. Sallie’s consultancy, WP Fangirl, places a strong emphasis on content strategy and building websites that serve the client’s business goals.

Sallie has been organizer of the East Bay WordPress Meetup in Oakland, California, since 2009, and has presented there on topics ranging from podcasting to learning management systems to e-commerce to event management. She has also taught WordPress classes for Mediabistro, acted as Technical Reviewer for O’Reilly’s WordPress: The Missing Manual, and produced training videos for Peachpit Press. Sallie is a regular panelist on WP-Tonic Live and loves speaking at WordCamps.

WordCamp Session Title

Building a Journalist-Friendly Online Pressroom with WordPress

Why Is This Important?

I’ve been listening to the For Immediate Release business communications podcast since 2005 and learned a lot about PR and media relations. A few months ago one of the panelists brought up a recent survey of journalists that showed just how bad most company pressrooms are. And many of my clients (non-profit organizations, growing companies, speakers and authors) need online pressrooms.

I’d already built a few of these, but after hearing that episode and reading the survey, I dedicated myself to making my clients’ pressrooms journalist-friendly and including the kinds of things that modern journalists need, like photos, videos, and expert profiles, along with more traditional things like company press releases.

While there are lots of third-party services that provide online pressrooms (often combined with media monitoring and journalist contact information) for larger companies, I could only find two or three WordPress plugins, and those weren’t quite what I needed. So I started building my own using Advanced Custom Fields combined with custom post types and custom taxonomies.

It’s clear to me both that WordPress is a great tool for building online newsrooms, and that the SME and non-profit sector is sadly under-served in this area. That presents a great opportunity for developers, either to create custom solutions for their clients, or to start developing premium pressroom plugins.

How Did You Discover WordPress?

I first heard about blogging on a teleseminar in January 2005. I logged into my hosting company’s cPanel and discovered b2. That was a bit confusing to me, so I started my first blog on Blogger. But I began to hear about WordPress from podcasters, and soon my hosting company made it available. By the middle of 2005, I was a convert. The more WP developed as a platform, the further I was drawn in. By 2007 I was building complete websites with WordPress, instead of just adding WordPress blogs to HTML sites.

How Do You Use WordPress?

I build WordPress websites for small businesses, non-profits, and individuals. A lot of what I do is custom theme development on the Genesis platform, but I’ve also done some e-commerce, built a podcast network website, and developed something of a specialty in customizing The Events Calendar.

I have several WP sites of my own, including a personal blog that’s occasionally popular and my WP Fangirl portfolio and blog site.

How Has WordPress Impacted You?

WordPress pretty much ate my life and became my career. I have been known to dream about it. I didn’t set out to become a WordPress consultant, but I just kept getting drawn further into it. The better I got to know it, the more I could do with it, and there are a lot of people out there who need good websites that they can manage themselves.

What Do You Do When Not Working?

I’m usually either working, chauffeuring my husband around, or sick, so I don’t have a dedicated hobby. I do like to take photos, and I started walking regularly about a year ago. Having the camera with me helps motivate me to get out there and get a little exercise.

Anyone who watches the WP-Tonic panel knows about my two cats, who dominate my household and regularly upstage me in any video environment.

What Is Your Favorite Candy?

I haven’t eaten candy since 1990. I love sugar and carbs, but they don’t like me.

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