10 Tips for Choosing the Best Collaborative Writing Tools

December 23, 2021
Lindsey Allard
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Business growth can be challenging for companies. While expansion is a big step, staying on that path requires additional action. It means that you need to ensure that internal growth matches your external growth.

What does this mean? 

It means giving your employees the necessary tools to excel at what they do. For instance, one of the most important elements that set businesses apart is quality content. To produce it, you need people to work together. Collaborative writing tools can facilitate the process and ensure you get the best results for your business.

This article explores the benefits of using these tools and provides tips on picking the right one for your business. Keep reading to learn what are the key features to consider.

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Benefits of using collaborative writing tools

Every company works with documents in one way or another. A marketing agency creates content that gets published online. Developers actively use documentation to keep track of their progress. Other teams working on user testing questions collaborate to navigate a test correctly.

Businesses that opt for the right tools can make all the documentation processes well organized. The benefits are:

  • Better productivity — Employees can jointly work on projects and get more work done in the same amount of time. That speed leads to better productivity, as the tool is accessible from any platform.
  • Effortless collaboration — All the data is in the cloud. Those working on a document can keep all the document-related communication in it. The whole collaboration process is more straightforward, as everything necessary is in one place.
  • Reduced costs — Getting more things done in the same amount of time means fewer costs. Your team members will be more efficient, as they don’t have to go back and forth.

With that in mind, it’s obvious how beneficial collaborative writing tools are. Here’s how to pick the best one for you.

What are the key things to consider

Carefully approaching a new product will help you save time and money. For example, you won’t have to switch to another tool when your company gets bigger.

Pay attention to the following things if you want to ensure you’re making the right choice for your business.

1. Reliability

The most important feature to consider is reliability. The majority of collaborative writing tools are in the cloud. What is their uptime? Are they available at all times? If the system goes down, how long does it take to get back up?

Pick a tool that offers the most reliability. Even giant companies like Google fall victim to outages. If you take a look at the history of its uptime, you’ll see those outages occur only once every couple of months but get back online within an hour in most cases.

If the outages occur consistently, it’s better to opt for a different provider. As too much downtime will cause more troubles than benefits.

2. Straightforward sharing

Can you share your document with your friends in a click or two? Taking unnecessary steps can only slow you down, and opting for a tool that makes it possible in only a couple of clicks is the most optimal solution.

On the other hand, access control is crucial, especially for teams working with freelancers. There’s no need for anyone to have access to documents. Once the collaboration is over, you need a simple way of keeping your document private once again.

3. Editing and version control

Working together on the same document can sometimes lead to mistakes. When multiple people edit it, they might delete important parts of the text. 

A good provider will support various editing options.

For example, suggesting mode is a suitable way of providing edits without actually changing the structure of the text. When the original writer looks at the suggestion, they can accept or reject them.

On the other hand, if some misunderstanding occurs and the editor deletes the part of the text, version control can help roll back every change made. That kind of feature is useful for collaboration. No mistake is set in stone, and suggestive editing makes collaboration much simpler.

Therefore, make sure that the tool you’re exploring supports these features.

4. Communication features

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When it comes to communication in writing tools, you’ll find it to be asynchronous and synchronous. Collaborators can communicate by leaving comments about parts of the text. Also, it’s also possible to have real-time chat as long as both parties are in the document.

Communication plays an important role in collaboration. It keeps things straightforward and leads to fewer misunderstandings. Explore what kind of communication the writing tool supports.

5. Simple Collaboration

Can multiple team members enter the documents and edit them simultaneously? Is the process smooth, or do some types of bugs appear? Ensure that the tool you opt for allows several editors in a document. That will be more convenient for your teams, primarily if they work on long documents often.

With simple collaboration at hand, writing better-quality posts will become a smaller challenge. All team members will be able to join the document and add ideas on how to improve the next post.

6. Exporting options

Collaboration features are important for your teams. However, you need to adapt if you’re using documentation when working with other companies. That means if your client needs a PDF document, you need to provide it in that format.

Writing tools support various document formats. Make sure that the list includes the most commonly used ones. For example, Google Docs supports DOCX, ODT, RTF, PDF, TXT, HTML and EPUB formats. With so much variety, you can rest assured that you’ll always meet your clients’ expectations.

7. Pricing

Finding the best value will depend on the pricing of the writing tools you plan to use. You’ll find companies offering incredible writing tools for free. Giants such as Microsoft, Dropbox, and Google provide a lot of value. They start charging for suites of other tools that offer a complete solution for your internal teams.

Compare the plans and the features they provide to find the best fit for your business.

8. Integration

Any tool you incorporate in your business will make a difference for your employees. However, being strategic pays off in the long run. In this context, that means picking a writing tool that plays well with others.

For example, Wordable integrates well with Google Docs. If your team is creating content that needs to be published quickly, this tool will enable you to do it with a couple of clicks. However, if you pick a different writing tool, this integration would not be available.

Therefore, do your research about supported integrations. There are numerous tools for content checking that integrate with some of the collaborative writing tools. See which one supports the most integrations and opt for it. 

Even if you don’t need an integration now, you might need it in the future.

9. Scalability

Last but not least, scalability is an important factor to consider. Can the tool you want to use scale with your business? As you grow bigger, so will the demand for storage, number of folders, and documents. Does the brand’s cloud infrastructure have enough resources to meet your needs?

If it does, how does the scaling affect pricing? Will the tool remain affordable? Are there any limits?

Ask all these questions and find their answers. You can then make an informed decision for your business.

10. Platform Compatibility

See whether the platform supports different operating systems. Team members can access and edit documents on the go if there’s a mobile app available. Consider a tool that supports Windows, iOS, and Android. 

That’s important for team members who are often in the field. They can help with collaboration no matter where they are.

Which Tools to Use

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The writing tool space is very competitive. It’s no wonder since millions of businesses use documents daily. If you’re thinking about which to pick, here are a few service providers well worth the mention.

  • Google Docs — Google’s writing tool has become one of the most popular out there. The Google Suite has reached more than 2 billion users and is one of the tools with the most integrations. It comes with important features, making it a suitable option for numerous businesses.
  • Microsoft Office 365 — Microsoft has a long history with its Word. It’s a part of a vast suite that many people use. Like Google Docs, it packs all the beneficial collaboration features, making it a great addition to any business out there.
  • Etherpad — Etherpad is an open-source collaborative writing tool. If you want complete privacy of your documents, this is a solution for you. The system requires hosting the documents on your own, so it’ll require a lengthy setup procedure. Still, it’s the best way to have complete control over your business documentation.
  • Dropbox Paper — Dropbox offers a great collaborative writing tool. One of the reasons to use it is the support for embedding all types of multimedia files. It’s the perfect way to see how an article would look after publishing. It’s free, and the guides on the tool’s website showcase how its features can help businesses streamline their in-house tasks.
  • Quip — If you’re already using Salesforce, Quip might be a good solution for you. The tool integrates with the platform, making it easier to handle documentation in one place.

Concluding thoughts

The selection of available collaborative writing tools provides many options for businesses. Try them out to see which ones will fit your business needs. Use the tips from above to find the right match. It’ll help you opt for the most optimal solution that works well with other tools in your company.

Don’t forget to analyze the value of the available products. Most of them are completely free, allowing you to test them before making the final call.

Lindsey Allard
Lindsey Allard is the CEO of PlaybookUX, a video-based user feedback software. After seeing how time-consuming and expensive gathering feedback was, Lindsey made it her goal to create a solution to streamline the user feedback process.

About the Author

Lindsey Allard
Lindsey Allard is the CEO of PlaybookUX, a video-based user feedback software. After seeing how time-consuming and expensive gathering feedback was, Lindsey made it her goal to create a solution to streamline the user feedback process.