How to Use PDF Uploads to Improve Your Marketing and Business Procedures

ShortStack now allows users to accept PDF uploads on landing pages, making it easier to collect and manage submissions.

By Will Blunt ・4 min read
Business & Marketing Strategy
ShortStack Tips & Tricks

Having users upload files for participation in a marketing campaign is nothing new.Photo and video submission contests are powerful ways to engage with your customers and collect user-generated content in the process.But what about other file types? Have you considered the concept of accepting PDF uploads in your campaigns?ShortStack recently added a PDF upload feature that allows you to accept PDF submissions on your landing pages. You can also view, sort, and select PDFs as you would with any other contest entry on the backend.

Why use PDF uploads in campaigns?

You may be wondering what benefits come from accepting PDF uploads on your landing pages.PDFs enable you to collect different types of information from participants. They’re a secure and encrypted form of data transfer. PDFs can be set to “uneditable” and are easily previewed like an image on a computer, without the messy process of opening Word Documents and other file types.If you’re gathering text-based content of a sensitive nature from a large group of people, the ShortStack PDF upload feature could be just what you need.

What are some examples of PDF uploads?

The exciting thing about the PDF upload feature is that it goes beyond a simple marketing campaign. Yes, you can use this feature to collect submissions for contests, but there is also a range of other ways it is beneficial.

Contest entries

Contest entries are the most obvious of the PDF upload functions. You may be looking to accept submissions from participants that go beyond a simple photo or video.PDFs provide a compressed file with more information than an image or editable document of the same size. They also render as an image on a computer screen, so you can see a quick preview of someone’s entry without opening the document in full.For example, story submissions could benefit from this feature. Stories have a lot of text that won’t fit on a simple image. PDFs allow for extra creative elements with a short story, such as borders and sketches, which aren’t shown effectively in Word Docs.ShortStack’s story template will help you create this kind of contest in minutes:


ShortStack’s story contest templateView and Create Your OwnGraphic design contests are another example. PDFs allow for more complexity and can also be opened in design editing software, such as Adobe. Consider a logo design contest. With one PDF, a user can submit a logo with all its color and use variations and the specs such as the color codes, font, and more.PDF upload entry forms are also excellent for internal company giveaways. It’s common to run private contests with your team to boost morale and reward employees. You could offer additional vacation days or a particular team prize to an internal company contest winner(s). But if your giveaway requires team members to submit content, such as a marketing plan or flier, for the chance to win, managing all the entries can be complex. Using ShortStack’s PDF Upload feature and Entries Manager makes this process simple and will save you a ton of time.

Work submissions and job applications

Beyond contests and giveaways, you can use PDF upload forms to collate submissions of work or job applications.During the job search process, it’s common to require candidates to submit a resume, cover letter, and some work product. For example, if you were hiring a designer, they might send you a PDF file of their portfolio. Or, maybe you’re hiring a content writer and want to read some of their best content. PDFs are great for that, too.Rather than having candidates send you these files via email, which can get very messy, the ShortStack PDF upload feature and Entries Manager can streamline the process. If you have hundreds of candidates for a role, it’s inefficient to manually handle all of the documentation.

Sensitive information

One key ingredient of a PDF is its security. PDF settings allow you to make them uneditable, lock the document so they’re only accessible to certain users, and securely transfer them via the internet without corruption. That’s why they’re perfect for collecting sensitive information from people, such as medical history or identity checks.Collecting medical forms is a standard procedure when hiring a new employee in many industries. Several specialist industries also require medical forms before events or during an application process.Other critical documents you can secure with a PDF include legal contracts, sensitive applications, and financial information.

How to use PDF uploads in ShortStack

Using PDF uploads in your ShortStack campaigns is similar to other entries such as videos and photos.When creating your landing page and adding an entry form, select the file types you want to accept as submissions - various image types, videos, or PDF documents.


File upload types with a ShortStack formWhen a user submits a PDF document, it will show up in the Entries Manager on the ShortStack backend. The Entries Manager is a robust tool for filtering entries and selecting a winner. You can filter PDF entries by a range of criteria, including the campaign, user votes, location, and more.


ShortStack's Entries ManagerIf you’re running a giveaway, you can automatically use the Advanced Entry Picker to select a winner. Alternatively, you can use this feature to sort and analyze the PDF submissions if your campaign is for job applications, medical forms, or other documentation.


As you can see, PDFs are a widely used file type with many purposes and unique security features.When running your next marketing campaign, accepting job applications, or collecting sensitive information from a group of people, consider using a secure landing page with a PDF upload form to collate and sort the submissions.Get started with ShortStack’s PDF upload feature here.

About the author

By Will Blunt ・4 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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