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Google Docs is where I do my blogging. I’ve mentioned it before, and listed my reasons, which include everything from interface to how it fits into my blogging workflow for both myself and freelance clients. Let’s not forget to mention that it is free.
There are a lot of other places you can do your blogging (Evernote, OneNote, WordPress), and there are good reasons to use them. Some of those tools, such as WordPress, can be extended through plugins to get them to do all that you need them to.
But now that you can easily attach your Google Docs into CoSchedule, let’s take a look at why Google Docs is a great place, from both writing and cooperative standpoints.
The experience you have when writing matters. This means the actual writing as well as everything else that goes into writing your blog post, such as research.
I love, love, love distraction-free writing. The appearance of the tool I’m using has an effect on how well I write.
While Google Docs isn’t technically “distraction free” (it actually has a lot of formatting options available on the writing screen), there is a strong semblance to it. Google has been steadily adjusting all of its products across the board to a more consistent and user-friendly appearance, and Google Docs is no different.
Part of removing the distraction of writing is removing the decisions you have to make to get to the actual process of writing. Google Docs, particularly if you are already a Google Drive or Google products user, makes it easy to get going on writing without having to deal with much beyond a few clicks.
Portability is more than a handy feature, especially if you are working either outside the geography of a typical office or outside of your blogging platform.
Freelancers and those with writing clients, especially, have this experience. Not everyone is using the same blogging platform or wants to give access to their blogging platform to outside writers.
There are two approaches to portable copy that I want to cover: working offline and flexible copy.
There’s some additional good news regarding just how portable copy is for CoSchedule users, and we’ll cover that at the end of the post.
While doing research with a search engine is easy enough, Google Docs has some tools that make it possible to do it all right from your Docs screen without having to hop into other tabs.
It’s not as if you can’t do these searches or find these tools elsewhere in standalone tools, but again, if you’re like me, you have enough tabs open at any given moment. Sometimes its nice to be able to do the research in the same place without always jumping back and forth. That’s part of simplifying your blogging workflow.
While research and writing tools are handy, Google Docs really shines when it comes to working with others. Whether with team members or with clients, it has both discussion and organizational tools that are helpful.
Google allows you to write a basic description of the folders and files found in your Google Drive.
As a freelance blogger, I give each writing client their own folder. I then use the description of their folder to add notes about client requirements, such as word counts, contact information, and other copy specifications. This makes it easier to keep important information straight.
For your blogging team, you might organize your folders based on blogging category, content campaigns, or workflow process (e.g. Ideas, In Progress, Review, To Publish). You can use the folder description to alert your team to what that category of content should be about, notes on the campaign from a team meeting, or the “rules” of using your workflow properly.
Even if you are a solo blogger, using folders properly in Google Docs will keep your Google Drive from becoming a huge mess. You may have a folder for images, ideas, for research—whatever fits how you work. The descriptions on each folder are a great place for notes of things you need to remember for any content that goes inside. While Google Docs has a great search function, that’s no excuse to be haphazard.
How I Set Up My Folders:
Being both a solo blogger and a freelance blogger, I put folders to work. I have the following top-level folders in regards to my blogging:
I save research as a PDF because sometimes Web pages and ebooks disappear, and I want to be able to reference them in future blog posts.
I have a few subfolders in the research folder to organize those PDFs by category so when it comes time to write on a related topic, I just have to hop in and see what I’ve discovered while surfing the Web earlier. I also have a Google Doc in each subfolder where I save quotes and interesting snippets from books and magazines I’ve read, with bibliography.
In this way, when I find interesting content even while “off the clock”, I can still help myself out later when it comes time to write. I just hop into the subfolder on the topic I need, find PDFs or quotes to build content around, and writing just got easier. It’s similar to people using Evernote or Pocket, saving Web content for later.
One of the big struggles when creating content with a team is the discussion around the content, versioning controls, and making necessary edits. Having that kind of discussion and activity happen alongside the actual content (instead of in an email with references to “changes in the fourth paragraph” or something similar) is very helpful.
There are four basic ways you need to work with your team when it comes to the actual content you’re all trying to create:
Of course, you’ll need notifications when things happen on your document. Each document has notification controls (all notifications, only yours, or none) so you get an email when someone leaves a comment.
You can alert specific team members by tagging them in your comments with @ or [email protected], but you’ll have to have shared the doc with them, of course. If you haven’t, you’ll be asked to do so. You can also email collaborators on a specific document that you’ve shared with them earlier through the “File” menu.
There are a couple of ways you can work with blogging clients who might need to approve your copy before it can be published. You can do it within the standard Google Docs setup, or you can use an add-on.
For most clients, the share and review process is enough, particularly if you’re using an app like CoSchedule where things like tasks and discussion are also happening. If you aren’t using CoSchedule, Google Docs also integrates with most of the popular project management tools (Trello, Asana, Zapier, etc.) and much of that workflow can be handled there.
Why not just use WordPress instead of writing in Google Docs?
CoSchedule now integrates with Google Docs as part of an all-in-one editorial calendar feature! You can write your posts—and any other kind of content—in Google Docs, and sync it with CoSchedule.
With this integration, Google Docs is combined with the great workflow tools available in CoSchedule. Freelancers can still manage and organize their content from their end, but easily send that finished copy right to CoSchedule without having to manually copy and paste.
That’s exciting stuff!
June 10, 2015
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