We’ve been talking this school year about building systems that will help you create a better yearbook – yearbook ideas, page layouts, style guides, editorial calendars. In talking about them, though, we’ve only briefly touched on an important aspect: each is only helpful if you share them. And besides, yearbook editing is a shared process.
That may sound obvious, but sharing is more involved than it might first sound. You can’t simply print out a style guide and call it a day, for instance. Instead, for your style guide to really be of benefit to your yearbook, you need to make it accessible to each member of your yearbook staff and ingrain that content in each of them.
So, how do you get your guides to work for you? Simple: Cloud-based file sharing.
Even if you’re not using this technology yet, you’ve likely heard of the brands in this space. Dropbox, Google Drive and Box are a few of the more notable ones.
Additionally, TreeRing provides schools with the ability to share page layouts, photos and other important assets in a free online account (shameless plug ;)). You can request a free trial of the TreeRing software to see how cloud computing has come to the yearbook.
Though they each have differentiating factors, they are all dedicated to making file sharing easier for groups of people. And all of them require the same set of basic principles to make sharing your files easier.
Define Your List of Users
Before you even begin sharing yearbook files over the cloud, you’ll want to create a list of individuals who will have access to the shared data.
The list shouldn’t be long; outside of you, your yearbook team and some other individuals who advise on the yearbook, there are likely not many other individuals who should have access to your shared files.
Keep access limited for security and collaboration purposes: For the same reasons you don’t invite the whole school into the yearbook office, you don’t want to invite the whole school to see your style guide, editorial calendar and page layouts. Keeping the “access group” limited will reduce the risk of your documents getting altered and the risk of unwanted suggestions.
Because of how easy file sharing programs make uploading your yearbook documents to the cloud, you will want to put a premium on organization.
Many of the programs can allow you to sync a desktop folder to the cloud, meaning anything in that folder will be available across the file-sharing platform. It’s important, then, to make sure you and your team aren’t simply dragging and dropping files into that folder. Doing so will create a mess of files, making finding what you’re seeking a problem. Instead, try to keep your documents sorted in a well labeled, easy-to-understand folder structure.
It may not be an issue in the beginning, but, as your file sharing grows, you’ll see that a good organization will positively impact your productivity.
Limit What You Share
It becomes easy to use one of the platforms as a “catch-all” or data backup for your yearbook. But always be mindful that there are safer, more secure ways to store sensitive data.
If, for example, you are collecting payment information for yearbooks (TreeRing’s free marketing platform handles all transactions securely for your school), you do not want to keep completed order forms on the cloud. Do the same with pictures for which you don’t yet have permission to use.
Use a Passcode
One way to further increase the security of your documents is to require the use of passcodes. Do this for both mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and for the file-sharing platforms themselves. Doing so will help you limit access to yearbook documents, should a mobile device be lost or stolen.
Star Your Favorite Documents
Some of the more popular file-sharing platforms have a “favorites” feature, which allows a user to “star” a document. Favorites are usually easier to find and available offline, important for people who may be trying to access a yearbook style guide or other document in a room with a poor wireless or cell connection.
Are you using file-sharing platforms? If so, we’d love to hear how you make them work for you.