All About You: Using Submittable for User-Generated Content


“But enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?”

I love these lines from the movie Beaches, spoken by Bette Midler’s character CC Bloom. What sounds initially like self-promotion is actually quite savvy. CC moves from statement to question, engaging her audience in the exact inquiry that interests her most: CC wants to talk about CC, but she’s tired of doing all the work. She also wants you to talk about CC.

User-generated content (UGC) engages in a similar conversation, with consistently more grace and better results (have you seen all of Beaches? It’s really sad). With UGC, rather than talking on and on about themselves, organizations stop to ask, ‘What do you think of us?’ And when we respond, because we love to respond, the outcome is enticing. In fact, among millennial consumers, 78% prefer photos of real consumers to photos generated by a brand.

Display user content beautifully with Gallery View.

There are great benefits to user-generated content, and many examples of giant campaigns where it’s been used quite successfully. UGC is a powerful tool for collecting the type of meaningful content — featuring real people and real experiences — that increase sales and decrease pressure (read: burnout) for marketing teams. The possibilities are endless, as are the new networks that organizations can reach through featured users.

Submittable’s software is perfect for collecting UGC. We provide a simple, efficient way to collect text, images, video, sound, and more. Whether your organization sells a product or a service, we’ve got you covered. And with our Gallery View feature, you can even set up public voting contests for the content you receive, engaging your audience even more. Here are a few organizations that rely on Submittable for user-generated content:

  • The NCAA uses Submittable to capture compelling sports stories that go beyond stats – student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and others who make college sports happen can send in text, art and photography, as well as audio and video files. NCAA’s After The Game project uses Submittable to profile former athletes, demonstrating the NCAA’s concern for well-rounded success beyond the playing field.
  • The Rachael Ray Show used our software to begin The Great American Cookbook Competition and relied on Submittable to seamlessly manage their Tuition Competition, awarding one aspiring chef full tuition to the International Culinary Center and a culinary vacation to Mexico.
  • Southwire is North America’s leading manufacturer of wire and cable for the distribution and transmission of electricity – in fact, 1 in 3 new homes are built using their products. Southwire sales reps compete via Submittable to capture the best product installations, product usage, and testimonial footage at jobs sites for the company’s ongoing video contest. UGC helps Southwire improve their products – they also use Submittable for research and development.

According to Kelly Ramirez, Managing Partner at pulseCHECKER, 90% of consumers rely on peer and product reviews to make purchasing decisions. She observes that “the technique of leveraging UGC is a great way to give a voice to your most loyal consumers. It’s an opportunity to open a door to connecting with them personally while also using their recommendation to inspire new interest or business for your brand.”

There are no limits to the type of content that organizations can collect. User-generated content can boost sales but also morale, demonstrating an organization’s dedication to service. We at Submittable were especially moved by a UGC campaign from Canadian creative agency Garden in October, dedicated simply to making Americans feel good.

User-generated content can span the range of human emotions because it engages human content. Whether your goal is to make people laugh or inspire them to action, the outcome is sure to increase your connection to the community that already appreciates you, and new ones that surely will. Let us talk about you – we’d love to.

Interested in our Gallery View feature? Contact our support team at

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is a content creator and strategist for Submittable's Marketing and Product Teams. She also writes and teaches poetry. You can find Rachel's creative work here: