Friday, June 24, 2011
Q& A With Georgina Laidlaw
They say that behind every successful man is a good woman.
Meet Georgina Laidlaw.
She’s the Content Manager for Darren Rowse’s hugely popular ProBlogger.net site, as well as FeelGooder.com.
Having been published at both sites before, I’ve had the opportunity to work with her, and definitely have become a fan. She and Darren continue to provide quality content to the masses to help us to become better bloggers!
Today, I welcome Georgina to Pen and Prosper, in an effort to provide a behind-the-scenes look at her role and what she requires from guest bloggers.
1. How did you become acquainted with Darren Rowse and ProBlogger?
I met Darren through a friend and colleague who’d also done some work with him, and heard he was looking for someone to help him with content. I’d heard of ProBlogger, but I wasn’t really a reader or a follower—it was all new to me.
2. How does a “content manager” differ from an editor…or does it?
You know, I think the two are pretty much synonymous. It’s just that one is applied exclusively to electronic media, where the other tends to be used more in offline publishing.
I work on both sides of the fence—as well as being CM for ProBlogger and FeelGooder, I write for publications and work with CMs and editors—and the roles look very similar from that side of the line, too.
3. How many submissions do you receive in an average week for ProBlogger and FeelGooder?
I’d estimate somewhere between 25 and 30. Darren has a great community, so a lot of people want to make a contribution to the sites. About half of them are good or better, which I think is a good strike rate.
By “good or better”, I mean that they don’t need language editing—once we get them, we just need to format them and apply the house styles and they’re good to go.
4. How can readers increase their chances of publication on these popular sites?
Actually, we just published an article on that very topic at ProBlogger:
The main reason we turn articles down is because they rehash information that’s already been covered on the site, or they’re not practically focused—they don’t deliver enough value in and of themselves. These are really important elements of the content on both sites.
Occasionally I’ll get an article “pitch” that’s a title only—that’s no good, either, because what you’d write, and what I’d write, to that headline will be completely different.
Finally, since we publish so much content on these sites, the more finished and polished the article is, the better. We’ve recently taken ProBlogger to a twice-daily publication schedule, so we’re publishing 12 articles there a week, and five at FeelGooder (though we’re looking to ramp that up, too).
I have about nine or ten hours each week to review and prep the content for both sites. That means that, more and more, I’m opting for content that’s well written, as well as containing a great idea, since I don’t have much time to edit for language these days. A great idea on its own doesn’t make the cut on these sites—we need excellent writing as well.
5. Do you have your own personal Blog?
I do: http://backstoryesque.blogspot.com/
It’s intended to focus mainly on the laughable realities of working in communications, and with language, but I also publish snippets of fiction I’m writing, excerpts from books I’m reading and loving, and so on. It’s eclectic, and I basically write it for my own pleasure.
6. What would it surprise people to know about you?
How much loose language I use on my personal blog!
7. Any guilty pleasures?
Too many to name! But among them are: gin and tonic and a good book in an hours-long bath, and chocolate for “lunch”. Or any meal, really…
8. Anything else you’d like Pen and Prosper readers to know?
Only that I’d agree with those who say the secret to good writing is good reading.
Recently I had a short but solid lull in my nonfiction reading, and although I was still reading fiction, I found it much harder to write. Since I’ve started reading nonfiction again (The Return of the Crazy Bird, by Clara Pinto-Correia) [http://www.amazon.com/Return-Crazy-Bird-Strange-Tale/dp/0387988769], it’s as if new synapses have started firing in my brain. The broader my reading is, the more ideas I get—the more fluid my thinking is.
So I’d encourage those who want to pen and prosper to read as much as possible, and as broadly as possible.