Organizing content and tasks might lead some marketing agencies to look for easy ways to keep everything together. The path of least resistance might lead managers on the hunt for free solutions. If the agency teams use Google for mail, the tools found within Google may seem like a quick fix for the agency’s needs.
Can agencies use Google for project management tools? Does Google even have project management tools? There are many tools that Google offers to organize work and even draft content. We’ll look at the options available via Google and how they might or might not work for a busy agency.
Toggl’s article about Google pretty much sums up the answer to the big question regarding the existence of Google project management tools. The headline: “Google Project Management Doesn’t Exist… Now What?”
Google doesn’t really purport to be an end-all solution for project and task assigning and organization. It does, however, offer many tools that can be used for putting together an a la carte entrée of project management. And Google’s offerings may be helpful for small businesses on a budget, because no one can really fuss about free.
Google’s Apps for Project Management
Visiting the Google search engine home page brings up a three-by-three icon on the far right corner that pulls up all of Google’s apps. These can be used for multiple purposes, and may be helpful to both individuals and businesses.
Google’s apps include links to YouTube, Maps, News, Search, Photos and Shopping. However, scrolling down reveals the apps that may be most useful for business (and marketing) purposes: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Books, Blogger, and Hangouts. In addition, Drive, Gmail and Meet also may be useful for basic daily organization, email and virtual meetings.
What do all these apps do and how might they be useful in creating a DIY-type project management system?
Google Docs lets agencies write and create content. In fact, many project management platforms (including Gryffin) work or sync with Google Docs to simplify content creation. Docs can be shared with other team members.
Think basic spreadsheets. Agencies could use them to create a simple editorial calendar to track assignments or outreach activities. Sheets can be shared with team members.
This app can be used to create a slide presentation.
Message or call team members. This can be added to a phone or other device.
Creating a blog for the agency? Blogger might be an easy platform to use. It’s fairly easy to navigate and offers some basic layouts.
Save docs and sheets or other files to the Drive for easy storage.
Google’s email platform also syncs to content management programs. A Gmail account also will sync to other apps via Google.
Google offers many different app functions that can be used for day-to-day activities, and team members can share Sheets and Docs. When content is updated, every team member who has received permission to view will see the updated version of the content.
Agencies could use these tools to create a DIY project management program, but the capabilities of Google’s offerings may be limiting. Especially when compared to dynamic and comprehensive project management software that is developed for workflow automation, SEO audits and content management.
Beyond the Docs
Google’s apps and tools allow for basic organization, but project management programs like Gryffin take these tools and elevate them within a more dynamic system.
Gryffin uses Google Docs for content creation. All blogs, articles and any written content is saved via Google Drive using Google Docs. While Docs are synced into the content management system, Gryffin also includes other tools to complement Google Docs. With Gryffin, the Google Doc link is found on a task’s individual workspace. This workspace also includes options for users to add file attachments. Emails also can be uploaded or saved to this space (Gryffin also syncs to Gmail).
Hangouts vs. Project Management Software On-Page Messaging
Marketing teams may be virtual, as Covid restrictions may be ongoing in some areas. However, some agencies also include a team of remote freelancers that might be located hundreds of miles away from the actual agency. Email isn’t always the most efficient way to keep in touch or to ensure that everyone stays on the same page.
Google offers Hangouts, and the app can be downloaded on a phone or other device. However, like other chat functions that are separate from other programs, messages can get lost in the shuffle. Or in the content stream. Team members could be working via Google Docs and then have to click on a Hangouts chat to find pertinent information. All the info isn’t necessarily in one place, and this can mean a data scavenger hunt…not ideal for team members working on a tight deadline.
On-page messaging capabilities are included in project management software like Gryffin. Each workspace on Gryffin includes messaging capabilities that allow for team members to chat about project updates or make inquiries about content. Writers can open up their Google Doc in a separate screen and still have easy access to the task workspace, including all chats and messages from team members. No more data hunts! Everything stays in one space.
Can Google Automate Tasks?
While Google Sheets can allow agencies to create basic spreadsheets that track content and other data, Google Sheets currently doesn’t have the technical capabilities to automate tasks within the spreadsheet. These sheets are one-dimensional and designed more for basic organization purposes.
This means that if the team doesn’t update the spreadsheet to include information about a project status, other team members may be in project limbo. Project management software like Gryffin, however, allows agencies to create a multi-dimensional editorial calendar that includes click-through capabilities to project pages, SEO updates and other pertinent data.
When a task is created and added to Gryffin’s editorial calendar, users also can automate and assign the workflow for the task. For example, a blog article assignment might include multiple work stages before it’s published and archived. The blog may be sent to the writer first, then moved to the editor for review, it may go back to the writer for rewrites, and then move back to the editor again. The SEO team may review to add links and photos. The client may be sent the article for approval, and, once the sign-off from the client is granted, the article is sent back to the editor to be published.
Automated workflow moves along through the assigned path until every team member checks off their responsibility. Managers can review the workflow status via Gryffin’s Executive Dashboard. All these capabilities mean that assignments don’t simply fall through the cracks.
Relying on a basic spreadsheet, however, might lead to human error. If a team member doesn’t update a task, a deadline might be missed. This could throw the entire project timeline behind…and maybe affect the budget.
Can Agencies Google Project Management?
While Google offers many different apps and tools that can provide basic organization to small agencies or individuals, Google’s offerings can’t automate workflow or offer more advanced capabilities like on-page messaging.
Agencies could use Google’s apps and tools to create a DIY approach to organization. However, agencies that need a full range of tools should consider project management software like Gryffin that combines Google’s tools with the power of workflow automation. In addition, Gryffin also syncs to Google Search Console to provide agencies with easy access to SEO data.
Not sure if Gryffin is right for your agency? Try it for free today!