04.11.2012 | Sarah Bohannon
As many PR professionals and marketers may agree, the ability to prioritize multiple assignments and stay on track with a myriad of projects requires strong organizational skills. Recently at Communiqué PR, we started utilizing Smartsheet.com for our project management needs and to facilitate online collaboration.
Introduced by the Bellevue-based company in 2006, Smartsheet.com is an online tool for tracking any type of work. Whether your focus is in marketing, sales, human resources or project management, the Smartsheet project management and collaboration tool can help. Every Smartsheet account is unique and secure. It provides a workspace whereby information can be imported and shared (by invite only) with an unlimited number of people whether they are inside or outside your organization.
For instance, we use Smartsheet.com on behalf of one of our clients, Verdiem. All of our current PR activities are listed by task name and include the anticipated start and finish date as well as who they’re assigned to. We have access to the sheet, which was created by our client, and the PR team in the U.K. also has access to the sheet. This enables us to see the status of particular activities and ensure we’re not duplicating efforts.
We have found the tool to be incredibly helpful, straightforward and convenient. We use Smartsheet for synchronizing the development of press releases, projects for clients, case studies and tracking speaking opportunities. With its Excel-like appearance, it is fast and simple to update and we can update it from any computer with an Internet connection.
As you can see in the image, everything I need to stay on track is in one space, at my fingertips. Each day I use it, I need my notebook less and less. Here are a few other noteworthy reasons why I think Smartsheet.com is especially helpful for PR teams and marketers:
- Project planning and task management: Users can conveniently monitor progress of projects from any computer, tablet or smartphone with an Internet connection. This feature is great for off-site meetings since we can literally take our work materials with us. The grid and calendar views, under the toolbar ‘view’ button, provide flexibility in monitoring personal progress. I feel more confident and focused with project planning and setup because I can see all of my deadlines displayed on one spreadsheet when I am in or out of the office.
- Version control and collaboration: Smartsheet assists us with collaboration across organizational boundaries. For team efforts, Smartsheet helps with version control, preventing replications, saving time and energy. As mentioned above, we can also collaborate with clients.
- Easy to use templates: There are a variety of Smartsheet templates to choose from, depending on the task or team objective. For instance, those interested in marketing or project management can chose from project tracker, issue tracker, event management and marketing department goals templates. These templates are motivating as they visually conceptualize the status of any project as well as future steps needed to reach end results and due dates.
- Goals: One of the main appeals of using Smartsheet is its goal-oriented interface. With timing of the essence in PR, social media, marketing and event planning, managing work from an omnipresent, cloud-based platform helps us keep sight of what we wish to achieve. Additionally, there is a discussion box where users can add notes at the bottom of task lists and chat about desired objectives and outcomes.
This tool is integrated with other technology partners including Google Apps, Box, Salesforce, Zimbra and Amazon web services. According to Smartsheet.com, the award-winning tool is trusted by more than 10,000 subscribing organizations in more than 100 countries. These numbers are not surprising considering the numerous customer success stories that the company has posted on its website.
If you are managing a team and looking to improve collaboration and coordination, we highly recommend checking out Smartsheet.com.