Blogging with multiple contributors is a great way to keep a site full of fresh content, present different viewpoints, and encourage discussion from readers. But it can also feel like nailing jelly to a wall when trying to get all the contributors working together. Someone might start a post and leave it unfinished in the content management system without a word, while another makes a change to the material design of the site without letting the others know. It’s a problem for all involved even though everyone had the best of intentions. Following are some excellent collaboration tools to prevent frustration and keep the good content flowing.
Image via Flickr by Microsoft Sweden
Office 365 makes it easy for users to put everything into one centralized location. Authorized users get access to files stored in the cloud and can work on them together. Someone who logs in to work on their own time can leave notes behind for the others. And Office 365 has the ability to send out notifications to everyone in the group any time there’s been a modification to a file.
Google Docs is part of the Google Apps suite of software. Anyone who has a Gmail account gets access to all the apps for free as part of their user account. Non-Gmail users are able to use the software as long as they have a link to get into a specific document. It makes more sense for all collaborators to have a Gmail account in order to take full advantage of Google Docs.
One of the clever things Docs does is to allow users to do real-time collaboration. One user opens up a sheet and starts typing. The other users watch to see what’s being typed, then can do their own writing and commentary. Everyone has the opportunity to write their thoughts down as they happen and get input from everyone else at the same time. And all users have access to the documents and file folders after the collaboration session has ended.
Trello has all kinds of features that simplify the collaboration process, and the best part is that it’s free. The software is a visual bulletin board that lets users track projects, set calendar dates, and create to-do lists. Users have the ability to upload files to the board, leave notes, and assign work to other users. It also integrates with Evernote, Google Drive, and Slack to name a few. Another feature is the ability to leave links to resources or items of interest for others to read when they log in. No more emailing items of interest and losing track of who sent what.
Dropbox is ideal for all kinds of sharing. Whether it’s images, videos, blog posts, or publishing schedules, Dropbox helps you keep everything in one place and allows you to give access to those who need it. On Dropbox’s free plan, you can share any file or folder with your contributors, or colleagues. Dropbox even offers a business plan for those who might need extra storage space. The business plan offers convenient revision history, more admin control, and other helpful features that the free account doesn’t include.
With voice calling, video, and text chat options, Skype puts you and your team in the same room. Sometimes you need to see someone’s face or hear their voice to get your ideas across or understand their questions. Skype is also free and group calling can allow you to talk to up to nine people at one time. If you want to add credits to your account or sign up for a subscription, you can even forward Skype calls directly to your phones and make calls directly. While the free option is perfect for most uses, with a paid account, you’d never miss a chance to communicate.
The idea behind collaboration is to let everyone have a voice and share their interests with the world at large. Clear communication among all parties is key to getting voices heard while maintaining a coherent and cohesive blog. Using collaboration tools and software simplifies the process while getting everyone on the same page in the least amount of time.