A new way forward
Gmail is more than just a mail system. Did you know that from a Gmail account, you can create, share, and collaborate on live documents? What we are referring to is Google Documents. Instead of bouncing documents back and forth between team members, or housing them on a shared computer drive, you can have them readily available for whomever you grant access, wherever they have access to a web browser.
Here at Online Marketing Agency we use Google Documents as a platform to document our plans, strategies, and content, to ensure we are consistently up-to-date with our progress, because the documents are able to grow as the business grows. We want to share with you how you can benefit from this too.
Google Drive acts as the house for all the documents you construct. If you want to create or find a Google Document, or file that has been shared with you, Google Drive is the go-to place. Now, you have found yourself in Google Drive, and you can see a big red button… push it. This big red button is not made to destroy, but for quite the opposite- ‘CREATE’.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Google Documents so you can decide if it’s best for you, like it is for us.
Docs + Spreadsheets
Documents and Spreadsheets are the two we utilise most, here at Online Marketing Agency, and you will find that they function most similar to other types of word processing and spreadsheet documents you will have created in the past. You should have no trouble navigating the formatting and editing tools.
Live collaboration and sharing
The real advantage, and what sets Google’s documents apart from those housed on your desktop, is that they are live documents. This means that you can ‘share’ your documents with other users, and they can view and/or edit them in real-time, according to which access level you assign them. Meaning, your fellow collaborators can always have access to the most recent version of the documents most pertinent to your business’ progress. You can even be editing documents, simultaneously.
The Comment feature in Google Documents allows you to make notes about the content, alongside it, without interfering with the actual content. What makes Comments most efficient, though, is that you can link your collaborators’ email addresses so that they receive an email notification of your comment.
The stress of an accidental ‘delete’, or a realisation that a first draft was actually superior to an updated version that is long gone, is one we all wish to avoid- especially in business where efficiency is paramount to forwards movement. Google Drive is able to save the day, and save you time, with its Revisions feature which saves all past edits, allowing you to revert back to that prior moment of true inspiration.
Basic word formatting options
The formatting options in Google docs are not as comprehensive as their word processing counterparts that you may be familiar with. There is a spell-check tool, but it does not have a grammar-check, for example.
Limited spreadsheet functionalities
As with the word formatting, there are certain functionalities unavailable in Google Spreadsheets that are available in their PC based counterparts. If you are accustomed to using high level macros or pivot tables, for example, Google Spreadsheets may not be ideal for you.
Maintaining a Google Apps for Work account
In order to maintain the most secure ownership of your Google Documents, you need a Google Apps for Work account. Managing yet another email account may seem like ‘yet another system to implement and learn to navigate’. On the flipside, Google Apps for business means that an administrator always retains control over document access.
The collaborative possibilities of utilising Google Documents in your workplace can keep you connected in a world where information travels so fast that you simply cannot afford to lose time or be behind on processes. We have found Google Documents most practical for content curation of email newsletters and social media, business planning documents, brainstorming with teams, and training and operations documents. It works for us because it means we remain committed to continually re-shaping, critiquing, and growing.