I am still working on improving this process – it seems clunky and I think there is an easier way. This tells you how to create a post about a committee meeting and send it to your committee. Then it tells you how to put the same information (this is the clunky part) into an event listing that will show up on the calendar. I’d like to sit down with each committee chair and walk through how it works the first time you try it.
Adding information about an upcoming meeting or event
Events are a special kind of post that show up in the right sidebar on the site. Repeating meetings are already in the calendar and the upcoming 6 meetings are shown in the sidebar. If there’s no information yet entered, it will list the committee only without any information about the meeting topic or location.
Here’s what the events listing looked like as I typed this (several weeks ago now):
The Safety and Health and Land Use committee meetings don’t have information entered yet. You just need to click on the green hyperlink to open one of them, then there are fields to fill in. Information from the recurring meeting is entered already. When you open up an event by clicking on the hyperlink you’ll see a map and location, date and time, and text about the meeting. If you click on EDIT (example below) you can then enter or change the event information.
Here is what you see. A form opens up that holds all the event information. The part at the top is for entering the event title (which is the topic, in this case “The Transportation Levy to Move Seattle”), the date and time, and text describing the meeting. This is a classic WordPress text editing tool, and you can see that it allows you to format the text and do other things. I try not to use too much formatting – in part because it doesn’t always work correctly and is hard to fine tune.
Put the event title in the box at the top – this will be the green hyperlink on the events list on the home page.
In the top left, enter the date and time – but use the drop-down lists that are presented when you click on each of the date and time fields; that ensures that the dates are entered in a way that the events manager module understands. If it’s a recurring meeting you only need to change this if it’s different than already shown.
Then enter information about the event. The formatting options are similar to those in Microsoft Word.
- Bold, italic and underline are at left
- Quotation style and bulleted/numbered lists are after (don’t always work)
- Left, centered, right justified (also don’t always work)
- To add links, select the text you want the link to be attached to, click the link button, and enter the url.
Next, scroll down to choose the event category in the right sidebar – this is the committee it pertains to (again, if this is a recurring meeting you don’t need to do this.) For the candidate forum I chose “special event”. If you scroll back up to the illustration of what’s on the main page you’ll see how this is used to indicate which committee it pertains to.
Finally, enter scroll down further and enter the location information. Once you’ve entered a location, WordPress stores it in a database so you can refer to it again. So in this case I entered the name and address of Works Progress and the map was created. The event manager module, which is an add-on to WordPress, doesn’t let you enter a location without an address it can map, so TBD isn’t accepted – so in the recurring meeting I’ve selected “This event does not have a physical location”, and you will need to de-select that to enter the venue.
When you’re all done, scroll back up to the top and find the Publish section on the right sidebar. You can preview what you’ve entered if you wish (it will open a new tab or window, which you close to get back to the form). When you’re comfortable posting it, click on Update (or Publish if it’s a special event).
I said there are two ways to enter posts — you’ll need to use the following (second) approach if the event you want to enter information into isn’t yet showing up on the home page. In that case you need to get to the event form you just filled out a different way. Instead of clicking on the hyperlink in the sidebar and clicking edit, go to the top left, pull down the Greenwood Community Council menu, and choose “Dashboard”, and you’ll see a menu in the left sidebar.
Click on Events, and a list of events will show up, including all of the recurring events that have already been defined. This is a little harder than it should be because the categories aren’t shown, and that’s what would tell you which is for which committee. So find the event that’s on the date of the meeting you want to enter. So for example, I know the Safety and Health committee is scheduled for October 8. If you hover the mouse over “Topic TBD” below, you’ll see options to edit, trash, view, quick edit and duplicate – choose edit and proceed as above.
Posting information to the website and mailing it out
The website is set up so that when you post a message on it, that message is sent out automatically over email. Who it’s posted to and where it shows up on the website depends on what category the post is assigned to. The categories are community council (for the general meetings and membership mailings), land use, transportation, safety and health, and something called the GROG – which is something I’ve been hoping the engagement committee would produce. You can post whatever you think members will be interested in.
For example, let’s assume you want to post about the same event you just listed and get the information out in email. You’ll want to use pretty much the same information that’s in the event post. What I actually do is write the initial post in an email message, get it the way I want it, and then paste it into both the event form and the post. But you can also just cut and paste what you’ve done already. I am more likely to put a photo or graphic into a post than into an event listing, and I’m hoping we send out posts that aren’t just events eventually.
So the first thing to do is copy the text from the event you’ve already created. Again, go to that event from the home page and click on edit. What I do – and it’s probably not necessary – is click on the Text tab at the top if the text window over all the formatting buttons. That shows the HTML code. If you’ve put any formatting or pictures into the post, that ensures it will cut and paste correctly. Select all of this code and copy it (on my mac that’s command-C, on Windows it’s control-C).
Now you want to create a new post. At the top of the home page in the black menu, pull down the “New” menu and choose “Post”.
Before you do anything else, look on the right sidebar for the “Categories” section and select the category that this should be posted in – your committee most likely, and maybe also a subcategory below it. If any other categories are selected (like Greenwood Community Council), de-select them – otherwise your post will be sent to people on those lists by mistake. You can select more than one, and notice there’s a scroll bar to see more. This will determine what page the post shows up on on the site, and what mailing list it will be sent to.
Then click in the text area and paste the text you copied from the event page. If you clicked Text to see the HTML, that should still be selected. Click on Visual to see what it looks like without the HTML code.
Then add a title at the top. This will also be the subject line in the email that sends your post out to committee members. I suggest having the event title in the main message, and having the post title be more like an email subject – “GCC meeting next Tuesday on …”
If you want to add a picture (which I sort of like), you’ll need to upload it first to the media library. First place your cursor where you want the graphic to be pasted. For good measure, click on Save Draft before you do that, which is up in the right corner. Then click the “Add Media” button. You’ll see all sorts of graphics or files already on the site.
You can upload a new file to the library by clicking on the “Upload Files” tab, or you can insert a link to a graphic or file on from another site by clicking “Insert from URL”. Just drag the file to the center of the screen or click “Select Files” to find them in your computer’s file system.
Once the graphic is downloaded, you can add it to your post by clicking on the “Insert Into Post” button at the bottom right of the screen and it will take you back to your post. If you click on the graphic once it’s entered you’ll see a menu that lets you select its placement to the left, right center or inline with text.
When you think you’re done, click on Save Draft in the upper top corner, then on Preview. If you’re OK with the post, close the preview, DOUBLE CHECK to make sure you’ve selected only your committee in the categories section of the right sidebar, and then click Publish. If everything works correctly it should show up on the committee page associated with the category you gave it, and an email should go out to everyone signed up for that committee.