This post originally appeared on the Content Equals Money blog. It has been edited for this audience.
If you want to have the organization of a company-wide calendar, but don’t want to take the time to set it up or spend the money to have someone else do it, Google Calendar is a great, free solution.
1. Invitations and Sharing
Google Calendar opens the door to collaborative planning by allowing users to share events and even entire calendars with others both within their organization and outside. Each event allows you to invite participants (both internal and external to Google) to events. But Google Calendar goes even further—you can create multiple Calendars for different purposes and invite those who need to be involved in each of those calendars. This allows for customization of broad calendars rather than having to tailor every single event to specific people. Each calendar or event that you invite people to will be added automatically to their Google Calendar or can be downloaded to their own calendar system. When changes are made to the event, you can even choose to automatically email all participants to keep them in the loop.
Google Calendar works with CalDav, which means that you can publish your calendar for others outside of Google to view or subscribe to. Using CalDav, you can create a unique link that you can send to any participants of that calendar. With it, they can subscribe to the events, within their own calendar system. Beyond that, Google also allows publishing calendars to a web addresses, allowing you to integrate calendars into your website or send via a link for others to access; using this feature, you can control whether a viewer sees only whether you are free or busy or sees the details of each event on the calendar. Small business copywriting will be important here, because any calendar you make available outside of your company will be a reflection on your work. Make sure it is easy to access, error free, and well displayed.
3. Notes, Locations, Reminders
Google’s system contains many of the same fields as other calendar systems. Using location to record the address, room, virtual space, or conference number of the meeting allows everyone to instantly have access to that information on their calendar. Furthermore, with notes, you can provide information on what the meeting will be about, what participants need to bring, and what preparations need to be made. Within the notes, you can also include links to important documents that will be used during the meeting. Small business copywriting can come into play here too. Be sure your notes are clear and well laid out. Even internally, you want your calendar to look professional and well displayed.
A great new feature of Google Calendar is appointments. Appointments can be used to create “office hours” so that clients can set up times to meet with you without the back and forth of emails and phone calls. This can save both you and your clients valuable time of having to track down and plan out your appointments.
Google Calendar is a great resource to help bring your company together and keep them in the loop—and best of all, it starts at free! Though if you are serious about using Google for your business, a good Google Apps account is the way to go.