Hilde-Lysiak-Orange-Street-News WordPress.com Launches New “Do Anything” Marketing Campaign design tips
Hilde Lysiak reports on local news in her community on her WordPress.com-powered Orange Street News website

WordPress.com is kicking off 2019 with a new national marketing campaign that features 14 entrepreneurs, writers, and non-profit organizations who are using the platform to make a big difference for their communities. The campaign is focused around the question: “What Would You Do If You Could Do Anything?”

WordPress.com published its inaugural ‘Anything Is Possible’ List, which includes 10 mini-documentaries ranging from 1 minute to 1:44. A few of the stories highlighted include Congolese-American sisters operating a successful hair salon in NYC, a 12-year-old journalist running her own online publication, a blogger who went viral and published her own book, and a non-profit fighting misinformation and extremist narratives. Each is presented more in depth on a new Do Anything campaign site that was launched today.

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Do Anything is WordPress.com’s first large-scale national brand campaign. It will debut TV, print, and digital advertising spots in The New Yorker and on TV networks, including The History Channel, CNN, and National Geographic. WordPress.com will also be running ads on podcasts, including The Daily and NPR. The new 30-second TV ad was created by Interesting Development, an agency based in New York.

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Much like gym memberships, WordPress.com tends to see more action at the beginning of a new year with 20% more sites are created in January than the average, according to Mark Armstrong at Automattic. The timing for the campaign is aimed at tapping into the motivation that millions of users have for starting a new business or blog at this time of year.

In 2016, Automattic started hiring for more marketing positions as an answer to Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Web.com, EIG, and Godaddy, competitors that Matt Mullenweg identified as having spent over $350M in advertising that year. In 2017, the company created five commercials, its first ever TV spots, as part of a series called “Free to be.” Many found the commercials to be confusing and the messaging wasn’t clear.

By contrast, the 2019 “Do Anything” campaign is much better at demonstrating what people can do with WordPress. “As we share new work with the world we realize that some things will hit and some things will miss,” Automattic’s SVP of Brand, Michelle Broderick said. The company has continued to evolve its marketing based on feedback. This particular campaign was directly inspired by the people who are making things happen with WordPress.

“We were inspired by the people who use WordPress to imagine a better world,” Broderick said. “We saw everyone from bloggers to business owners to scientists to politicians using WordPress to share their story.”

The new TV spot is an improvement over previous campaigns in terms of communicating a clear message, but it doesn’t carry the same authenticity as the mini-documentaries. Each one is relatable and inspiring in telling the stories of people who have already answered the question “What would you do if you could do anything?” Many of those who were featured have carried on with their dreams through perseverance, despite tragedy and struggle along the way. The documentaries are more poignant than the TV spot, which has the added constraint of having to capture the viewer’s attention with a shorter amount of time.

The “Do Anything” campaign as a whole is a good representation of the power of WordPress and should also help boost name recognition for the software in general. Broderick said Automattic is expecting tens of millions of impressions across TV, print, digital, and podcasts. The campaign is aimed at the American market but Armstrong said they hope to branch out into international markets in the future.