5 Useful Project Management Tools for Content Marketers
For decades, the concept of a workplace has typically looked something like this…
Employees work side-by-side for a specific time frame each day at a designated indoor location–whether it be limited to one room or a whole building on a city block.
Meetings are conducted in board rooms (or rooms so tiny they could be a closet!), and departments are organized spatially by floor or section of a building or room.
That’s all changing now.
With the flexibility and freedom technology provides business, an office has transcended physical boundaries, and employees may not be located within the same city…or even the same time zone or country.
In fact, a report authored by the World Economic Forum deemed flexible work, including virtual teams, “one of the biggest drivers of transformation” in the workplace.
The report goes on to say, “Telecommuting, coworking spaces, virtual teams, freelancing and online talent platforms are all on the rise, transcending the physical boundaries of the office or factory floor and redefining the boundary between one’s job and private life in the process.”
It may sound like a manager’s nightmare, and some business leaders still scoff at the concept.
Is it really possible to trust people to do their work (and do it well) if they aren’t located within the same physical office?
The truth is–it’s completely possible, and some say it may even be a more conducive option for work.
In a study conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Business, researchers determined that “dispersed teams can actually outperform groups that are colocated,” if the right sort of collaboration is in place.
This effective collaboration can be achieved with the right project management tools.
Whether you are considering having your team go remote, or are already telecommuting, you may be seeking suggestions for such tools.
As a remote team ourselves, we’d love to share what we know to be the top examples available on the market…
Asana was founded in 2011 by two former Google and Facebook employees (in fact, one was Facebook co-founder Dustin Moscovitz) who wanted to find a way to better collaborate and manage workflows.
If you’re a yogi, you may instantly recognize the term “asana” which refers to any particular posture or position of your body within a yogic practice.
In a similar sense, Asana as a technical tool helps teams manage the positions and tasks of team members to maintain a better flow, just as yogis aim to do in their practice.
Asana allows your organization to:
- Create various projects and assign tasks and subtasks to team members within those projects.
- Arrange tasks hierarchically, based on priority.
- Add due dates, files, comments, and even likes to each task.
- Easily integrate Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox.
- View tasks by person, project, or calendar.
- Access a helpful and fast-working customer support team as well as training videos.
Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of Asana is its responsive, intuitive, and beautiful interface–the platform’s design is top-notch and feels very clean and simple.
The free version of Asana supports up to 15 team members.
The premium version (costing $9.99/month per team member) allows for more members, grants you priority support, and provides higher functionality when it comes to search, tracking, and other features.
Teamwork creates business management apps for marketing teams, one of which is Teamwork Projects, their project management app.
Generally speaking, Teamwork Projects is considered to be more robust and less focused specifically on “tasks” than Asana.
However, though it offers a 30-day free trial, to use Teamwork Projects long-term, you’ll need to pull out your credit card.
Plans start at roughly $45/month, and regardless of which plan you use, you can add as many team members as needed.
The more expensive product options of Teamwork Projects provide increased storage and allow you to create a higher volume of projects on the platform.
Some other functionalities of Teamwork Projects include…
- Creation of projects with associated tasks, milestones, messages, files, and more.
- Easy file upload from Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.com, and One Drive.
- Time tracking for specific tasks and projects.
- Billing and invoice management for team members.
Though it may have more features, Teamwork Projects’ interface is less simple and clean than Asana’s, so if you want to keep things more visually intuitive, this may not be the tool for you.
Like the other platforms, Apollo is a project management software that has eliminated the need for email for team communication, which many companies have applauded.
Similar to Teamwork Projects in that Apollo offers a free 30-day trial before it starts charging you for using it, their paid plans start at $23/month. The basic plan allows for unlimited team members, 18 projects, and 5GB of storage.
Some helpful things that Apollo’s platform allows you to do include…
- Save time with tasklist templates. If you have a relatively set publishing process, these lists can be pre-set to follow your flow and edited for the specific project.
- Merge projects together when they grow in scope and overlap.
- Store and search contacts, from fellow coworkers to business prospects.
- Track your time spent on each task.
Apollo doesn’t provide billing management like Teamwork Projects, so if that is important to you, then the latter is a better bet.
Like Asana, Trello is very visual, and if you like to imagine ideas and tasks spatially, it’s worth giving it a try.
Projects and subprojects are divided up and organized via Trello “boards” arranged from left to right. You can color-code boards with various labels that are up to you to create.
Trello’s features and functionality include…
- Assigning team members to certain boards .
- Power-Ups that allow you to integrate a range of helpful apps, from Google Drive and Slack, to Evernote and Zendesk.
- Specifying due dates, associated checklists, attached files, and more.
There is a free version of Trello that allows for unlimited team members, but it’s limited in functionality and storage. Premium plans start at $9.99/month per member.
Google Drive is one of the most commonly used tools for document storage and creation.
That said, it can’t replace project management tools such as the ones listed previously, but it’s wise to use in addition to these platforms, as it can be easily integrated with each.
For many modern professionals, Google Drive has begun to replace Microsoft Office programs, especially since you can collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with other members in real time.
No more hassle with attaching and sending Microsoft Word documents back and forth via email.
What a relief!
Some other benefits of Google Drive include…
- Your documents auto-save, so in the case that your browser quits unexpectedly, the most recent version of your files will be saved automatically.
- 15GB of space are provided free of charge. Beyond that, you will need to pay but storage plans are very cost effective–the smallest plan provides 100GB priced at $1.99/month.
- Even if you didn’t use Drive to create them, it’s possible to upload various other file types to be stored in Drive–from MP3s to MOVs to PDFs.
- You can adapt privacy settings for the files you store or create.
Digital marketers and content producers are in one of the perfect industries to transition to remote work.
According to successful entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Media, Richard Branson, “to force everybody to work in offices is old school thinking.”
However, to have a successful work process and dynamic, you need to evolve your systems for tracking projects, materials, team members, and tasks.
Signing up for the tools we’ve listed can be your first step forward into a new world of work.
If you’re an entrepreneur or marketer that is looking for more ways to optimize for efficiency, check out these five apps to increase productivity.