Interview with Ryan Sholin | WordPress VIP

Since April 2022 we are partner of WordPress VIP with our print integration tohoop. The digital content platform’s customers include publishers and companies such as Facebook, Slack or the New York Post. We talked to Ryan, Head of Technology Partnerships, about the importance of a print integration for a platform like WordPress VIP

Hi Ryan, what are the requirements to become a WordPress VIP technology partner?

Our Technology Partners at WordPress VIP are experts at bringing great digital experiences to life for our customers, with integrated and highly specialized solutions for business-critical needs like Digital Asset Management, Marketing Automation, Video, and more. We look for partners that help meet customer demand for integrations in key categories that help complement the WordPress CMS.

WordPress VIP is a digital content platform with over 700 enterprise customers worldwide. From your perspective, what is the importance of connecting a professional print channel to WordPress VIP for these customers?

We’ve heard for years from our print publishing customers that it was a lot of work to connect their web CMS and their print CMS. Coming from the newspaper business, I knew all too well the challenge to find a balance between the different software, systems, and deadlines in play. I used to put in a lot of hours trying to move newsrooms to a web-first publishing approach. Having a more standard solution that helps publishers author content in WordPress and publish it on any platform has always been one of our value propositions.

You’ve seen our print connection and know how it works. What makes tohoop attractive in connection with WordPress VIP from your point of view?

All the solutions I’d seen for WordPress-to-print integration before involved custom engineering and highly complex mapping of style guides. It was great to see tohoop solving and simplifying approaches to those problems. Knowing that most print layout systems have Adobe Indesign at their core, providing WordPress VIP customers with tohoop to create content once and publish anywhere —  including print – was very appealing.

What importance do you think print in general has for publishers and corporate publishers today? 

I’ve seen pundits say “print is dead” many times, and probably even said it myself on many occasions, but the truth is that print is very much alive, it’s just expensive to produce. We need to create efficiencies with software to help publishers of all types start with the web, and then build print materials on demand when they need to. In the case of a newspaper publisher, that might be every night on deadline; for corporate publishers, it could be for events, campaigns, or annual reports. The principle is the same.

Are there any current publishing trends with your customers that you would like to highlight?

It’s 2023, so I have to say “AI,” right? It feels like such a watershed moment, but the quality of the written word coming from these new artificial intelligence engines is middling at best. I think we’ll see a lot of marketers leverage these tools quickly. Publishers have been using more programmatic “fill in the blank” automation for more than a decade to author sports and finance stories, but it remains to be seen whether AI can write compelling journalism, if provided with a set of facts to communicate.