Do you want to allow user submitted blog posts in WordPress? This post will explain how to set up a WordPress form so guest bloggers can submit posts without access to the admin area of your website. First, let's delve into why user submitted posts from guest bloggers can be important for your marketing.
Content is king
Content is king, at least when it comes to content marketing. If you’re not familiar with content marketing, here it is in a nutshell. Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable online content in your business’ area of expertise. The express purpose of the content is to position your business as an authority in your industry. A solid position of authority is a big trust factor in serving to increase your market share.
The importance of creating valuable content that enhances your position of authority and builds trust with your consumers can't be underestimated.
Every business owner knows that while content may be king when it comes to marketing, producing such content requires investment of time, money, and energy—any or all of which may be in short supply. Enter the uber-efficient guest blog post.
Efficiency of the user submitted guest blog post
Guest blog posts kill two birds with one stone: you save time, money, or energy when a third party produces the content; you establish trust with your online audience utilizing a neutral third party voice. A third party voice can often overcome objections in the mind of a prospect because a third party is seen as more objective. Having multiple voices on your blog platform decreases stagnation, gives your customer the idea that you are a thought leader, and that your website is not just there to sell them something, but to offer them your expertise and guidance along the way. This aligns everything just right so when your prospect is ready to purchase or refer you to someone who is, they’ll want to do business with the industry authority (you)!
Let’s talk about what types of content fall under this umbrella. One such piece of content would be the powerful customer testimonial. Another such piece could be a market analysis by a complimentary or feeder business alliance. Tutorials and how-to’s written by current subscribers to your services as well as topical discussions by industry leaders who aren’t direct competitors to your products can all serve as guest blog content pieces.
Formulate an initial guest blog post strategy
It’s not difficult to initiate a guest blog strategy. Try this for a starting place: come up with a list of the top ten topics that your customers demand content for. (Often you can use your Google Analytics data to find out which pages of your site are the top visited pages. This will give you a solid idea of the topics customers are interested in when it comes to your products or services.) Then, come up with a list of at least five industry leaders, brand ambassadors, delighted customers, and business alliances whom you could invite to write two guest blog posts each for you. Retired professionals who are no longer direct competitors in your industry could very easily be called upon to write one or more guest posts. It may be appealing to them to keep their industry influence even in retirement, so don’t hesitate to ask them. Most would see it as an honor to be invited.
In WordPress, posts are attributed to authors (admins) of your blog. The key here is not to have your guest write a post and shoot it over to you so you can post it under your own name. No, you want the author’s name to show up next to the article instead, so the reader knows this is content written or produced by someone else.
You’ll want your guest blogger to be able to post her posts easily and without hassle. Enter Formidable Forms for the task! Formidable Forms gives you the ability to allow your guest to submit a post to your site without needing to understand WordPress or the backend of your particular website. A professional-looking user submitted post form will reinforce to your guest that their time is valuable to you, and that their investment in this activity is worth it.
How to allow user submitted posts in WordPress forms
An individual user account for each guest blogger is important to the third party credibility factor. This is because you want the post to show up as written by your guest, not you. Authorized users will be able to submit posts using the form and the posts will be attributed to their names, not yours. If your guest bloggers are not already users on your site, start by setting up user accounts for them.
Step 1: Set up user accounts for your guests or have them register themselves.
Set up each of your guest bloggers with their own user account. Set it up under the name you want to show as author of the post.
If your WordPress blog is set up to show Gravatar profile pictures, have your guest upload her profile picture to Gravatar. Gravatar will automatically match her (email address specific) WordPress profile information to her email address registered with Gravatar. (Chances are she already has a Gravatar set up. If not, it's simple for her to create a new Gravatar account.) Once she has a profile picture online with Gravatar, that picture automatically shows for the posts that are attributed to her.
Looking to streamline further? If you have a lot of guest bloggers lined up who are not already users on your site, you may choose instead to set up a form to allow guests to register themselves with your site. This involves the Formidable Forms User Registration Add-On. (The User Registration Add-On will come into play for other user submitted content as well, not just guest blog posts.)
For the form itself, the Formidable Forms solution is simple and straightforward.
Step 2: Create the WordPress form for the user submitted posts
You're going to create a form for the post submissions. This is where you will have the user fill in all the information about her post, just as you would do in the back end admin area of your WordPress website. Create a simple Formidable form asking for such items as:
- Post Title
- Post Content
Have your form fields ask for the pieces of information that you don't want to have to fill in yourself in the back end.
Step 3: Set up the form with Create Post form action
Now it's time to set up your Create Post form action. In the Form Actions settings of your form, add a Create Post new action by clicking the WordPress Logo icon in the Add New Action bar. See step-by-step instructions on how to do this here.
Match up the fields in the Create Post section to the fields you have set up on the form itself, and Voilà! You now have a form to accept user submitted posts.
Step 4: Finish your Form Settings according to your process preferences
Formidable Forms offers several important features that will help you streamline your process for user submitted posts.
Let me point out first the Post Status setting for your Create Post form action. If you set this to Create Draft, it gives you the ability to proof each post before publishing on your site.
Another handy setting is allowing users to save drafts. If you'd like for your user to be able to save their form draft and come back to it later, check Allow logged-in users to save drafts in General Form Settings.
A unique feature of Formidable Forms is the ability to allow your user to edit his published post from the front end. Refer to the "Allow front-end editing of entries" documentation on how to enable this.
You may want to further streamline your workflow for user submitted posts according to your administrative needs. Formidable gives you the tools for this; utilize different form actions such as email notifications and Post Status settings to establish your workflow.
Step 5: Publish your form and send the link to the page with your form to your guest bloggers
You may have some initial back and forth with your guests on content topics. When your guest is ready to post, simply email your guest a link to your webpage with the published user submitted post form.
Allowing user submitted posts comes in handy for a lot more than just guest blog posts. Anytime you want to allow user generated content on your site, this process can be used. The possibilities are endless for allowing users to post content on your site from the front end. The User Registration Add-On mentioned above will streamline this process even further.
If you're going to entirely geek out on your process for user submitted posts, you'll absolutely love the functionality in Formidable's Form Action Automation Add-On.