How to Enhance Email Posting to WordPress wIth Posterous

            My name is Jordan Keats, and this is my amazing presentation about enhancing your email posts to your WordPress blog. The beginning of the presentation will be concerning the technical aspects of using Posterous with WordPress, and the second half will be applying what we’ve learned, followed by any questions you have. Thanks to Paul Holmes and the rest of the organizers, as well as the sponsors of WordCamp Victoria.

WordPress already has a post by email feature, if you don’t use this feature here is brief rundown: Go to ‘My Blogs’ and enable your post by email function. You are assigned a secret gibberish email address to send your message to, and then the message is posted to your WordPress site.  HTML tags need to be included in the email so your wordpress site can understand what type of file you are posting. This is elaborated upon in the ‘Posting Video’ section later on in this post, but video files need to identified as such, for example [youtube=http://…].  Uploading or attaching pictures to email posts, files such as .jpeg, .png, .gif, don’t require HTML tags; pictures inserted by using a web address (URL) do not need to be tagged so the information is recognized either.  Posting to wordpress by email saves time because you can upload, arrange, and attach media files without using space on wordpress’s media library.

Posterous takes posting via email to another level. There is no signup needed, all you need to do to set up an account is to send a post ready email to After sending your first email, you will be prompted to name a domain, for example; Next, you add your other accounts posterous will autopost to, such as your wordpress, tumblr, or blogger blog, you can autopost to Twitter, Linkedin, Friendfeed and Facebook, and Posterous will upload your photos from your email to your Flickr and Picasa accounts. Posterous works like a hub, harmonizing and updating all of your accounts and internet activity from one location. This appeals to how I blog, because I have too many accounts to maintain, and with one email I can update them all. My business partner, Dave, described Posterous as “barfing on the internet”, but I see it as a tool for creating a syndicated broadcast of my blog posts.

Emailing will post to your Posterous site, from there you can approve your post before choosing which sites you auto post to. If you want to autopost to all of your connected sites, send your email to, and in an instant Posterous will send your post to all of your sites. There are addresses for posting to each of your sites, and you can combine the sites you want to post to by adding  “+” between your desired destinations name, for example Here is a detailed list of how to pick where you want to post:

*Tip: If you have your WordPress account set to auto-tweet, go to ‘My Blog’, and uncheck any sites in the ‘Publicize’ section. This will allow you to make sure your post is in order, and make any changes before you go public with your post. 
*Tip: If you are using a site, with a .com domain, go to your ‘Settings’ section in your WordPress Dashboard, select ‘Writing’, and enable XML-RPC under the heading ‘Remote Posting’.
Posting Pictures: 
There are a few different ways to post pictures to Posterous:
  • Attach to Email: Posterous creates a gallery of your pictures, which is posted at the end of the post. There is a 25 Mb limit for attachments to gmail, the average picture is between 1600 and 2200 Kbs, the limit is around ten pictures when posting pictures as attachments.You can split and join pictures in your gallery in the web interface.
  • Upload to Web Interface:  the media center in Posterous’s web interface gives you 1 Gb of space, and more editing features. You can divide a gallery, add, and rearrange pictures to other galleries. Posterous added a ‘rotate’ feature, as well as ‘drag & drop’, so you can play with the order and appearance of your pictures.
  • Embed URLs: If you have a picture already online, or have found a picture posted on another website, you can cut the URL, you know… the text that begins with http://, and paste the address into your post. If you are taking pictures from other websites, give credit to the creator by either keeping the picture active as a hyperlink to the original site or adding a note after the post regarding where the picture came from. Take into consideration the size dimensions of the picture you are posting. Any image bigger than 300×300 will appear massive in your post. Oversized images can be edited from the web interface. 

*Tip: If I want to post a single picture to a specific place in a post, I will upload the picture to, and paste the stable Tumblr URL where I want it placed in the post. This will work from Flickr or Picasa as well.

Posting Video:

There are two ways to post video by email:

  • As an Email Attachment: This is the same procedure as adding pictures, upload your video clip as an attachment, and Posterous will resize them and add them at the beginning of the post. Posterous communicates with the destination page and resizes or formats the video as needed. Again, take into consideration the 25 Mb file size limit of Gmail, and the limited hosting space of WordPress. You may want to purchase the space upgrade offered by WordPress.
  • As a URL: Posterous is too smart, smarter than WordPress for now at least. On Posterous you can cut and paste a URL from any video site, such as Youtube, Dailymotion, or Vimeo, and Posterous will recognize the where the video is from and embed it into your site with no worries. Embedding video to WordPress using URLs from Youtube requires you to insert [youtube=http://..], Google video: [googlevideo=http://…], and Vimeo [vimeo http://…]. Additionally, you can specify the width and height of the video player at the end of the address with equal signs, like [youtube=http:… w=500&h=400], notice the space after the address, before the ‘w=’.
There is a technical bug when autoposting video URLs from Posterous to WordPress. WordPress needs [youtube=http://..] in order to recognize the URL, so when your post reaches WordPress, and it does not have the identifying square brackets, it appears as a hyperlinked URL. The staff at Posterous said they are working to fix this, but for now I’ve been adding two URLs, one with the brackets and one without, and editing whichever does not appear correct. It’s a bit of a pain, but Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of WordPress, said the company will making some acquisitions this year, perhaps Posterous will be one of them.      

Posting Audio:
       Posting audio files with Posterous is the same procedure as posting video, either add a mp3 as an email attachment, which appears at the bottom your post, or from a URL, which you can paste anywhere you want within your post. I found Posterous in search of a way to post audio files to facebook which were not already hosted as a link. Posterous is a great way to evade Tumblr’s limit of only posting one audio file per day.

Adding Tags & Categories:        
     Adding tags to Posterous is really easy to: In the subject line of your email, where Posterous takes your post’s title from , add two round brackets followed by the word ‘tag’, a colon, followed by your tags, separated by a comma of course, and then closed with two brackts. For example: Title of My Awesome Blog Post ((tag: Awesome, Blog Post, Me))

This causes another Posterous to WordPress error, your tags won’t transfer to WordPress via the subject line. To resolve this I’ve been using the WordPress by email square bracket system, [tags Awesome, Blog Post, Me] [category My Awesomeness], at the end of my post. If you have a email signature, you don’t want at the bottom of your post, everything after the pound sign end will be ignored. On wordpress you can do this too, but with square brackets end, I can’t write the actual symbol, but it’s in the shortcodes. I’ve been  posting my tags and categories after the pound end, and then editing the brackets on WordPress, and where ever else, after I post. Here is a full list of shortcodes that can be added when posting to WordPress via email:

Say goodbye to gibberish codes, and start experimenting with the complementary features Posterous offers for WordPress users. Your first few posts may not turn out as you’d like, but after a few tries you’ll be posting to Posterous like a pro. There are lots of other features I didn’t mention, like PicPosterous for IPhone, and the Open Beak 1.2 (formerly TwitterBerry) for the BlackBerry. Also, the Posterous bookmarklet allows you to pull photos, video, and text, from any site and add the selection to your Posterous page; similar to the ‘Press This’ bookmarklet for WordPress. Keep in mind Stan Lee’s famous saying: “with great power comes great responsibility”. Posterous is so easy to use, you can easily autopost an error, and have it on all of your sites until someone else finds it. Happy posting!
Jordan Keats

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