How To Use The Power Of Google Docs For Your Content Creation
Google Drive is an extremely powerful tool. Probably even more powerful than a Jedi knight. Or The Terminator. Or Harry Potter’s wand. (I’m not really sure how I could prove any of that, but just trust me on this one.)
If you have a Google email account (or, rather, a Gmail account), you probably know what I’m talking about. But, in case you don’t, Google Drive is an online file storage and synchronization service. In layman’s terms, it’s a way to save your stuff online (“on the cloud”) and access it whenever (and pretty much wherever) you’d like. And it’s a free service for all Gmail users!
(From within your Gmail account, you can find it under your “Apps” section in the upper right-hand corner by your account information.)
Within your Google Drive, there’s an even greater force to be reckoned with—Google Docs. Google Docs is an online office suite that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. But that’s just scratching the surface.
The feature that really takes Google Docs to a whole new level is the ability to collaborate. While you can keep any document to yourself, you can also share a document or spreadsheet with anyone you’d like, and any number of people can view and edit it at once—all in real time. There’s none of that saving-and-re-sending-after-making-changes nonsense. It all happens like that.
This makes Google Docs the perfect tool to assist you and your co-workers/employees with content marketing. Here are three powerful ways we use Google Docs here at Nectafy for our content marketing efforts, that can transcend any type of business.
1. Content Collaboration
Like I explained above, collaboration is a huge part of the appeal of using Google Docs. Simply saving a document where everyone can access it is a nice concept, but what happens when two or three people want to work on or add something to it at the same time? Well, it’s almost impossible not to save over someone else’s changes. Or you end up with multiple copies of the same document with different time stamps and authors, and you have to take the time to look through each one to make sure you have all the necessary information before deleting the extras. It’s a nightmare.
When you share within Google Docs, your document is not only saved in that central location where everyone can access it, but it also gives you the ability to see who is viewing it at any given time and, if they’re given editing privileges, exactly how they’re editing it. Plus, you can “chat” within the document if you need to ask a quick question while you’re both working within it.
Sharing the document is, of course, effortless. (You just click the blue “Share” button in the upper right-hand corner of the document.)
Here, you can see that I’ve shared this blog post document with Lance. We are both working within the document right now… I can even see where his cursor is! In order to pull up that chat to ask him a question, I just clicked the speech bubble at the top by his picture.
So how does this help with your content marketing? Well, for one, it’s great for collaborating on content ideas. You can just create a new spreadsheet or document, share it with your colleagues, and have everyone start inputting their blog post ideas. Pretty soon, you’ll have a shared document with all the ideas you need for future material!
You can also use this teamwork feature to work on collaborative blog posts. Maybe you’re writing about an area that a couple of employees have expertise in. You could start the document, then have someone else add in their ideas and content to what you’ve written. It makes tweaking a post to perfection super simple.
2. The Editing Phase
Once you’ve written a blog post, you definitely want another set of eyes on it before it goes out into cyber space. Google Docs makes this editing phase a breeze! Like we’ve already talked about, another colleague can go into the document and easily make changes. Plus, there are two more features that are extremely helpful—revision history and commenting.
When you click the “File” menu item within a Google document, and then choose “See revision history,” it’ll pull up a bar on the right-hand side of the page that gives you the option to sift through each “stage” that the document has been through. It’ll tell you who made what change and when. You can even compare changes from before and after to see what your editor has fixed!
Another helpful tool for editors is the commenting feature. If you highlight a section of document and right-click, or click the “Insert” menu item and choose “Comment,” you’ll be able to leave a comment that shows up in a box on the side of the document. For example, you can see in the below screenshot that Lance left a comment asking me to change something. I replied, and then, after I fixed it, I hit the “Resolve” button, so we both knew it had been taken care of.
3. Saving PDFs
This may seem like a minor one, but it’s huge when it comes to creating downloadable content for your website visitors. So, not only can you create content for a download within a Google document, but you also don’t have to take it somewhere else to format it and save it as a PDF. You can just do it right there! You even have access to any Google Font that you’d like, so you can “pretty” up your work all you want. It’s as easy as “File,” “Download as,” “PDF Document (.pdf).”
Talk about powerful. (Now you know that I wasn’t just trying to downplay “the force” earlier.) Really, these few ways to use Google Docs just scratch the surface of all of the many possibilities it has. Once you dive in, you’ll find that there are endless ways that it can streamline your life and your business. So, do you love Google Docs yet? If you’re already familiar with it, what do you use it for? And what’s your favorite feature?