Team Blog Online Communication and Collaboration Tools

How to Manage Virtual Contributors for Team Blog Success

By definition, a team blog is written by a team of contributors. Often those contributors are located in different places and might even be in different time zones. That means team meetings can be very challenging to coordinate. To make things more challenging, contributors are often freelancers or volunteers who work regular jobs in addition to writing for the blog. As a result, it can be difficult to instill a feeling of camaraderie and teamwork among contributors. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools you can use to manage team blog contributors online and on a looser schedule than traditional meetings require.

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[John Lund/Blend Images/Getty Images].

Many team blog communications and collaborations are conducted using traditional forum tools. Both free and affordable forum tools are available. Typically, a team blog forum is private with folders dedicated to news, story ideas, questions, and so on. This is where contributors can privately discuss issues, collaborate on stories, and learn. The team blog editor can require contributors to subscribe to specific folders via email, so critical information is easily shared and viewed by the entire team. Some forum tools can integrate directly with the blogging application used to publish the actual blog.

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You can create a private group using Google Groups, Facebook, or LinkedIn and invite your team blog contributors to join and participate in discussions. Some tools even allow you to create subgroups for more focused conversations and collaborations. Considering that most people already have a Google or Facebook account, it often requires no additional knowledge or learning on contributors' parts to join and use your team blog group on one of these sites. Furthermore, since many of these tools offer mobile sites and applications, it's easy for contributors to view messages and participate in team discussions from their mobile devices and at their convenience.

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Redbooth (formerly Teambox) is a social project management and collaboration tool. The Redbooth goal is to make online collaboration and project management easy and fun. The tool focuses on ease-of-use and offers features similar to social networks such as activity streams, threaded conversations and commenting, inbox management and alerts, RSS feeds and more. A free version is offered to users with only a few projects to manage and a tiered pricing structure is available to people who need more features.

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Basecamp is one of the most popular online collaboration tools, and it works very well for managing a team blog. You can upload and share documents, have discussions, create calendars, and more. Basecamp is offered by the same company that offers Backpack, but Basecamp is considered to be the next step up from Backpack offering more powerful features and functionality. There is a tiered pricing structure depending on the features, number of users, pages, and space you need. Before you invest in Basecamp, you should definitely try the free trial of both Backpack and Basecamp to determine which tool is better for your team blog.

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Office 365

Office 365 comes in many shapes and sizes to fit small business needs to enterprise needs. Pricing varies, so depending on your needs, it could be an affordable option. Take a look at the Enterprise Plans which include a long list of collaborative tools.

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Huddle is a content collaboration tool. You can use it for file sharing, file collaboration, team collaboration, task management, social collaboration, mobile collaboration, and more. It is targeted to larger teams and enterprise use, so be sure to try the free trial before you buy.