I’ve seen it too many times: multi six-figure industry leaders with their high-end brand and even higher-end programs. We think these people have it all together with that confident look and gold glitter font on their websites. So we buy their programs and enter their worlds with aspirations to catch a just fraction of the success they’ve achieved.
In your heart, these influencers are the business geniis you’ve been rubbing’ that yeti mic over, so when it comes time to submit an accountability form, survey, or hot seat application…they commit a cardinal sin…
They use a Google form.
And just like that, this brand’s spell over you is gone faster than a Walmart flat screen on Black Friday. Suddenly you feel uneasy because the classy program price you’ve paid is clashing with the new value perception crapped out by this classless form.
Brand consistency is vital.
The internet is full of shallowness and one wrong move can cause immediate distrust in your following. I get it – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with free options to lower overhead. I’m just saying that selling a $2,000 course via a yellow-orange, janky PayPal button is going to come at the cost of your brand’s prestige.
Do you want to discover the greatest and most underrated form tool in this online space?
It’s steamier than asana, plays better than a trello in band, and this thing will definitely cut you more slack.
Okay, ready? Podio.
No need to pencil in a vaccination appointment.
Podio is a free project management tool that was an unknown Copenhagen-based startup in 2009. It’s so effin’ fantastic, that Citrix (that company behind GoToWebinar) bought it for a cool 43 million.
And it has a bangin’ features – for only $Free.99.
Why am I so giddy over Podio?
Because the web form feature funnels right into your workspace database where you can visually organize the information in one or four ways: badges, tables, cards, or an activity stream.
With BADGE, you can display information with a header image. Are you taking in guest post slots? Immediately capture a headshot here and organize the contacts by their beautiful faces.
TABLE is good ‘ol Excel style. This works best when you have an influx of information you’d like to see at a glance.
Moving on to CARD, this mimics Trello’s format. This is great for contacting sponsors. Have several columns such as “contacted,” “not contacted,” “booked,” and easily move that contact through the columns like a BOSS.
My least favorite is ACTIVITY. I don’t use this at all. It’s like a prehistoric Facebook feed. I’m sure it works for unreasonable people who like information displayed this way.
As soon as info is submitted by the other party, you get a notification on your phone (mobile app) and desktop (Chrome app) that gives you a task to review the entry. Inside your admin space, you can organize important dashboard widgets to calculate how many entries you’ve received, of what kind, and other kinds of reporting at-a-glance.
Take that Google Forms.
Look. Lemme stop talking. Podio is such an extremely powerful and free project management tool, and I can’t go over everything in this post. So let’s dial in on what pertains to you. And if I win you over…WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE, MY PRECIOUS.
Let’s create a guest post application form. Once you’ve launched a new product, you’ll need to start building up your search results “mojo,” but you might be too busy. Guest bloggers can write about subjects relating to your product without heavy lifting from you. Blog posts are great to get treasured SEO backlinks, thereby exposing more people to your brand.
Podio has a very straightforward software structure. An organization would be your company or brand name (you can have many organizations in Podio). A workspace would be a “department” of your company (e.g. marketing, development, administration, clients). An app is a folder that holds data specific to your department. And an item is a piece of information in that folder.
I’ve already created an organization for a random blog I stumbled on called ‘Blog Bolder,” then I created a ‘Marketing’ workspace or department. I will create an app, that will house all guest post applications.
Now, let’s create our form app. I’m going to call our form “Guests.” Podio offers two ways to create apps. One is from scratch and the other is through their available marketplace where other business owners have made their apps public. As a beginner, I used the app marketplace to understand the process – I make my forms from scratch now because I’m a baller.
Podio has a ton of cool items to represent this Guest Blogging app, I chose quotation marks. I’ll leave the format in “table” for now.
Time to build the form. Simply move the blocks from the left column into the gray space – the app automatically starts you off with a “name” field.
After all your fields are dragged ‘n dropped, hit save. Click the little wrench to the right of the app title to enable a drop down, then click on “Webform.” Here we can do basic webform stylings with the default templates provided.
Here’s what the basic form looks like:
I know what you’re thinking – that looks really bland.
It does, but it’s much more modern than that awful purple Google Form. You can stop here or spruce it up with custom css.
I’ve added some brand colors that matched this blog website and took out the gray background:
Much better, huh? I’m a strong believer in simplicity. A clean, modern form with your branded colors that blends into your website background.
But I’m not done yet.
Although I would stop here for an embedded form, what if I wanted to jazz up a form link?
You can add a background that truly fits your branding…
SAY. MY. NAME.
But wait, there’s more!
I went back and added some fields I thought would improve this form: headshot, expertise, overall experience, and whether or not I would collaborate again. The last two are special rating functions found under that little wrench on the top left. They WILL NOT appear to the form applicant.
Let’s say the form was filled out. Here’s what it looks like in Table and Badge form.
By clicking on Brittany’s badge or line item, I can go back later and rate my experience with her. This is crucial if you work with a lot of people, and the photo adds a nice touch. If you work with a team, each team member can also rate their experience with a particular blogger (look at my vote with my picture attached).
After the blogger’s post is complete and the collaboration is rated, I can archive her profile and run simple snapshot reports. If I wanted to be even more functional, I could create a separate app for the written posts themselves, assign them to authors, and create a “relationship” that would attach all the posts this blogger has ever written for me under her profile.
Isn’t this amazing? Podio is much more than a form, it’s a complete system for managing your projects and database. You could manage giveaway sponsors, create a social media calendar, customer surveys…the possibilities are endless.
When you create your free account here, and start a new workspace, Podio is savvy enough to give you a dummy ecosystem to play around in.