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:
- Preparing to Become a Successful Divi Web Designer
- How to Start Getting Clients for Your Divi Web Design Business
- How to Grow your Divi Web Design Business
- Maintaining your Divi Web Design Business and How to Keep Clients Coming Back
- Engaging with the Divi Nation and Taking your Web Design Career to the Next Level
Tammy Grant’s three-part tutorial on how to customize Divi’s Blog Post Formats:
- How to Add Custom Templates and Design to Divi’s Blog Post Formats (Part 1 of 3)
- How to Add Custom Templates and Design to Divi’s Blog Post Formats (Part 2 of 3)
- How to Add Custom Templates and Design to Divi’s Blog Post Formats (Part 3 of 3)
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:
And so on.
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