Have you ever collaborated with your team to create a new piece of content? Chances are, you’ve felt the burden of email overload. Each new version is getting tossed between people to read, review, comment on, suggest edits, and make changes.
There’s a better method to the content creation madness.
Using Google Docs, a free tool, simplifies the writing, editing, and organization process. It frees you up from the burden of sifting through strings of emails and eliminates the risk of losing changes in the document between changes of hands. (at the ProduceDept we use the business version, Google Apps which includes their email offering among other things)
No matter whether you’re the only person creating the content or if you’re collaborating with a team, Google Docs simplifies the creation process
Google Docs doesn’t just give you a place to write your content. It also improves your writing efficiency.
Let’s face it. Distractions kill the creative flow. Formatting decisions are one of the most frustrating interruptions while writing. Google is still evolving the formatting tools available to writers. Even still, the writing tools currently available make it just as easy, if not easier, to use than offline docs and other writing tools.
Need to look something up while writing? Do it all within the Google doc using the “research” tool. This tool will open a Google search in a sidebar so you don’t have to jump out of the document to find what you’re looking for. You can even search within your other Google documents. All your research information is available in one window.
Many people shy away from Google Docs because they worry they have to be online to write. This isn’t the case. Google allows you to write when you don’t have an Internet connection using your Chromebook or mobile device.
Business writing is a team process. You’re usually working with a freelance writer or with your team to perfect the content. Sending emails to collaborate during the editing process is messy. Google Docs makes it cleaner and more organized.
Edit and Track Suggested Changes
When you send the document to your team, they can make edits or offer suggestions for changes.
The default setting for all Google docs is edit. This allows a person to make changes without tracking what was updated. To monitor which changes are being made, have your team change to “Suggestions.” In that setting, you’ll see the changes that are made, after which you can approve or reject with a single click.
You can also watch edits happen in real-time. Multiple people can work in the same document at the same time, regardless of location. This is especially useful for geographically diverse teams, or if you’ve outsourced work to a contracted writer.
Have a question about where the writer found a specific fact? Want to share your opinion with your team about what you love or hate about a specific statement? Leave a comment.
Comments allow you to discuss the content within the document. It keeps the conversation central so you do not have to toggle between your email inbox, a Word document, or a project management tool.
Want to revert back to an old version? No problem. See how your content unfolded by looking at past revisions.
To access revisions, click on File > See Revision History. You’ll then see a full listing of past changes to your document.
You can give the people reviewing your content as much or as little access as you’d like. Vary how each person interacts with the document with the following options:
- Can edit: This gives full editing power to make changes, add suggestions, or leave comments.
- Can comment: This allows the person you’re sharing the content with to comment only. No changes allowed.
- Can view: This gives the person viewing rights but it doesn’t allow them to change any of the content.
Organization is a challenge in any business. Google Docs makes it easier, especially when working with a group of people to create content.
Easy to Set Up
Google Drive (where the Docs are housed) allows you to set up folders in a similar manner as you would on your computer. Organize your content in a way that makes it easy and fast to find. No more sifting through past emails or downloading/uploading large files as you go.
In each folder, you can add a description. This keeps important notes about a project front and center, so they’re always top of mind.
You can also upload reference files to these folders to keep information consolidated to one place. Add all resources needed to create the content, such as PDFs, images, charts, etc. so it’s easy to find and access quickly while writing.
Easy to Share
Add anyone to your folders and documents with the click of a button. The people you add do not have to be within your organization. You can add contracted writers, clients, or anyone else you want to have access.
Once you share a folder, each person has access to it whenever, wherever they need until you revoke that access. This eliminates the need for going back and forth by email and creating unnecessary extra steps.
Use Google Docs to store templates for specific projects. For example, create a template to organize you’re the social media marketing for your blog posts. At the ProduceDept, we use a Google Doc with the following template:
- Post date (referenced on our editorial calendar)
- 3 alternate titles
- Post keywords
- 5 tweets
- 5 Facebook updates
- Links to post images
By consistently using this we are certain to never skip an important step or miss a marketing opportunity.
Easy to Pull Up Anywhere
Gone are the days of lugging USB or media drives to meetings. Pull up your documents on any phone, tablet, or laptop for instant access to your work.
Why make the switch away from word documents to Google docs?
- Writer faster. Google docs lets you create content faster with built-in formatting and research tools.
- Collaborate better with your team. By viewing edits, watching changes happen in real-time, or pulling up the revision history of your document. It’s all kept neatly in one place so collaboration becomes easier and more efficient.
- Organize your work. Create shared folders to organize all of your content for a specific project in one place. Organize workflows and expectations by adding details to each folder and document.
- Access it anywhere. There’s something freeing about knowing you have access to your content anywhere, anytime. Access your Google docs on any mobile device and leave your clumsy USB sticks at home.
Have you ever used Google Docs to create content? Tell us about your favorite part about this tool in the comments below.