It’s a New Era! Submit Your Best Original Content for Publication on the Elegant Themes Blog

Posted on April 6, 2018 by in Community | 23 comments

It’s a New Era! Submit Your Best Original Content for Publication on the Elegant Themes Blog

Starting today the Elegant Themes blog is open to all submissions. This is a big step for both us and (we hope) the entire WordPress Community. Up until this point we’ve relied solely on staff and regular freelancers to create our content. And while we have absolutely no plans to get rid of our amazing content team, we do feel there is a lot to be gained by opening up our blog to community submissions.

We’ve seen time and time again that when our community has the chance to share their journey and what they’ve learned along the way, we all grow. That’s why the next chapter of our blog will be one of ongoing opportunities for anyone to showcase their very best skills and thought leadership on topics ranging from WordPress to Web Design, Web Development, Divi, and more.

In this post we’ll explain our submission requirements and highlight why it is worth your time, talent, and energy to contribute.

Why Contribute to the Elegant Themes Blog?

Contributing to the Elegant Themes blog is an excellent way to establish yourself as a thought leader and talent to be reckoned with in the WordPress, Web Design, Web Development, and Divi spaces. At the time of this writing we average about 2 million monthly visitors, have an email list over 230,000 strong, and have seen steady even exponential growth in every essential metric since we launched our blog in 2008.

This can (and often does for current contributors) translate directly into new clients, customers, speaking engagements, brand recognition, and community leadership status. The direct and indirect value of these benefits is hard to over state. Even so, it should not be said that we’re one of those blogs who exploit their community for free content in exchange for “exposure.”

In addition to all of the perks I just mentioned, we will also pay a flat rate of $250 USD (exclusively via PayPal) for any article we actually publish. Creating what we hope is a uniquely valuable opportunity for members of both the Divi Nation and the wider WordPress Community.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in then read on and learn all about our submission guidelines and requirements.

Submission Guidelines and Requirements

The sections below represent most but not all of the guidelines we use internally to create our content. If you’re interested in being featured on the Elegant Themes blog, then for consistency’s sake you’ll need to follow the guidelines and requirements below.

Be a Problem Solver

After publishing 2,000+ posts and 800+ videos we have discovered that our most popular content with the highest engagement is content that solves specific problems with easy to understand and immediately actionable solutions.

When creating content for us you need to make sure people know what problem you’re solving for them and why it’s important.

You also need to make sure that your solution is both easy to understand and something they can implement right away; ideally, without having to purchase anything or acquire tools/materials they don’t already have (unless we’re providing it for them in the post).

Long Form Content is Good (But Only If It’s Also Thrift)

We believe that the best articles are both in-depth and to the point. We do not want long-winded content full of fluff for the sake of length. We want in-depth content that gets to the point quickly and packs the maximum amount of valuable information into our ideal word-count range of 1,000-1,500 words. If going over those word counts is required to thoroughly cover your topic, that’s ok (within reason), but we will probably challenge you to strive for clearer communication with fewer words.

We Don’t Publish Duplicate Content

If we’ve already covered a topic, we won’t accept a new post on it. Unless, the old post is out of date and yours has more recent information, better writing, and a more thorough explanation of the subject/problem.

Additionally, we do not accept submissions that have already been published anywhere. That includes personal websites/blogs, your business blog, or ANYWHERE else.

Plagiarism Will Be Detected (And Rejected)

No copying and pasting anything, whether it’s words or code. All blog posts must be unique and written in your own words. All posts will be checked using CopyScape before publishing, so if you have copied and pasted anything into the article it will be discovered. This even goes for product or plugin descriptions. If you want to quote someone, be sure to source the quote accurately.

Content Must Be Relevant & Understandable to Our Audience

Thankfully, our audience is pretty broad. It includes WordPress Beginners, WordPress Developers, WordPress Designers, Divi Users, and Business Owners using WordPress and Divi.

A good rule of thumbs is to not assume our audience is already familiar with your topic. Especially if you are covering a topic that might be considered “intermediate” or “advanced.” Write or present each topic so that someone completely new to the subject can follow along.

Image Use Requirements

The correct size for featured images is 960px by 440px. You have the option of creating an original image for us to use with your post or to have us create one to go along with your post.

The important thing is that absolutely no images or graphic elements that you do not own or a have a license to use as you please be used.

All images in the body of your post should be 880px wide.

Absolutely No Self-Promotion, Affiliate Links, or Sponsored Posts

While we wish that this part was self-evident, it needs to be explicitly stated. The Elegant Themes blog is not the place for self-promoting posts that link back to your personal or business website. We also do not allow affiliate links of any kind. Additionally, if we suspect that a post is being written at the request of a third party for promotional purposes we will pass on the article.

Types of Articles We’re Looking For

While there is a small overlap between the types of blog posts our staff writes and the blog posts we’re looking for from community members–namely, tutorials–I’m mostly excited for the potential we have to provide value based on the unique experiences and perspectives of a much wider pool of people. That’s where case studies based on real data, in-depth guides learned the hard way, and evidence based opinion pieces have the chance to really shine. So when you’re considering a piece for our blog, ask yourself–which type of content does your idea best fit into?

Tutorials: We publish in-depth, step-by-step tutorials on all things WordPress and Divi.

Case Studies: We publish case studies that begin with a clear, measurable premise and end with a definitive result. That doesn’t mean every case study has to represent a stunning success but rather demonstrate that you began with a clear objective, applied a specific strategy to achieve it, measured the results, and learned something valuable along the way.

In-Depth Guides: We publish guides that represent years of experience on a single topic to provide deep insights and actionable tips.

Evidence-Based Opinion Pieces: We value the opinions of thought leaders in the community. Especially if they have reputable research to help make their case. If that’s you, tell us what you think about topics involving WordPress, WordPress Business, Web Development, Web Design, and of course Divi.

Excellent Examples of Community Submitted Posts

While today represents the first day of open submissions, we’ve had community contributions to the blog by invite only for a long time. Here are a few examples that we feel set the bar for all future submissions.

Josh Hall’s in-depth guide on How to Become a Successful Divi Web Designer:

Tammy Grant’s three-part tutorial on how to customize Divi’s Blog Post Formats:

We’ll expand this section of the post in the future as new posts come in!

The Submission Process

Our submission process is a 5 stage process designed to limit the time and energy commitment required by all parties involved. We respect your time and energy and we want to make sure your blog post idea is one we’re interested in before asking you to do the work necessary to get your final article published.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Each stage of this process requires that you follow specific instructions in terms of emails and subject lines. This is so that we can use email filters to track the number of articles we have at each stage of the submission process. If you do not follow these instructions it is possible your submission will get lost in the shuffle.

Stage 1: Approval of Concept

After you’ve come up with an idea and searched our blog archive (as well as Google) to see if we’ve covered it before, email the following to me at nathan[at]elegantthemes.com with the subject line NEW CONCEPT SUBMISSION.

Proposed Article Title: [ ENTER TITLE HERE ]

[ A SINGLE PARAGRAPH DESCRIBING YOUR IDEA FOR EITHER A POST OR POST SERIES ]

Links to My Previous Writing:

  • Article 1
  • Article 2
  • Article 3

If your concept is not something we’re interested in publishing or that we’ve already covered I will respond to let you know that. If your concept is approved, I will let you know that too and we can move on to stage 2.

Stage 2: First Draft

Next, it’s time to write. Following the criteria above draft your post in a Google Doc and send me a link to it with editing permissions. This link should be sent in a new email with the subject line FIRST DRAFT SUBMISSION. Myself or another editor will then make notes via Google Doc’s commenting feature. We will email you back to let you know we are done reviewing your draft and that you can begin to address the comments we’ve left on your document.

Stage 3: Second Draft

When you’ve finished addressing the comments our editorial staff has left on your first draft, please re-submit it to us with a new email bearing the subject line SECOND DRAFT. We will repeat the same process as stage 2. If the post is ready, we can skip stage 4 and move straight to stage 5.

Stage 4: Final Draft

If comments were left on the second draft, a new and final draft will need to be written. This is the final draft because after this draft is submitted we will either publish it or reject it. We want to give everyone the chance to produce their best work but we don’t have the bandwidth (and doubt anyone else does either!) to commit to endless rounds of article drafting. The good news however, is that if you’ve made it this far it’s highly unlikely that your post will be rejected.

When your final draft is ready, once again, send it via a brand new email with the subject line FINAL DRAFT.

Stage 5: Submit Your Images Separately

Due to the fact that images in a Google Doc are not easily transferred to WordPress, the final task upon approval of your article is to send all associated images in the correct dimensions and with small file sizes to us in a final email titled IMAGES: [ NAME OF ARTICLE ]

Each image file should include the post title’s key words and be numbered in the order they appear in the article. Here’s an example:

et-open-submissions-featured-image

et-open-submissions-01

et-open-submissions-02

And so on.

Getting Paid

Once your article is in our editorial calendar I will send you invoicing details. We use PayPal exclusively for this process so I am sorry to say, if you cannot use PayPal we cannot accept your submissions. I realize this will exclude some people who have quality content to submit but our need for efficiency in this area has created a tight constraint on how we’re able to pay our content creators. Thank you for understanding.

We Can’t Wait to See What You Create!

I am beyond excited to see what kinds of content this community will create. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, when we empower the community to share their knowledge and experience in any way, good things tend to follow. So let’s impress the world together and create the future of the Elegant Themes Blog as a community project.

Featured image via Abscent / shutterstock.com

23 Comments

  1. Interesting, I was to email ET support last week to know if I can submit my article on your platform and here you go..

  2. This is such an awesome idea. I am wondering what if someone chooses not to be paid (because of PayPal issues) but would still like to submit; will that be acceptable.

    I have seen so many great tutorials shared by not so well known developers and content creators in various DIVI groups, forums and personal platforms

    • Nathan B. Weller

      That would be up to the individual. If they’re able to accept pay I think it keeps everything above board if we pay them.

  3. What a cool idea! I already love reading this blog but I’m excited to see what great new content is posted.

  4. Exactly, the material must be unpublished, well sectioned, images optimized according to instructions, it is a very good opportunity. Excellent Nathan

  5. Hazaahh…!! Like many others, I was also recently thinking of how to contribute to the ET blog. I have gained so much as a reader myself, I would love an opportunity to return the favor.

  6. This is awesome!! ET is such an inspiration to the world of building amazing websites. \o/

  7. Although I write my own blog (using Divi) but I am definitely in :).

    One question, will there be any credits to the author or the article become a purely ET resource?

    Nice move btw.

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Yes everyone who submits will have their picture and author bio included on the post. Once I have everything for the submission process above I’ll ask for a good image and short bio.

  8. I wonder if the video slider features, and ideas around the better video header slider tool for Divi could be a good topic for blog? I am specialist in that are and I also build my own web-app fot video creation here in Finland. That would not give a straight solution, but I could put my pest practices vith video and divi to be visible and talk about how thy were done and also I could write some visions & ideas about moving from premiere to divi video header editor..

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Feel free to submit these concepts and we can take a look at their validity together.

  9. Submitting our content is a good thing to do for this blog. I’m wondering just out of curiosity how search engines will see it and rank the external link. Any feedback on that? 🙂

    I possibly be interested in contributing content to you.

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Any external link in these blog posts would be treated normally by search engines. As the post above explains, the content must be original and should not link back to the author’s website as a means of link building or self promotion.

  10. It is a really good idea Nathan. I will plan to submit an article in May.
    However, I don’t have PayPal, and have no intention of getting yet another digital account just for this. Therefore, before I go to the trouble of submitting an article for consideration, would it be acceptable to provide a relatives PayPal account for this purpose?

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Hey Liz! Thank you for your interest in submitting. Whichever PayPal account you tell us to use, we will use. What happens after that will be up to you to manage. I don’t see a problem with this approach.

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