File organization is the lifeblood of agency work.
It’s key to staying organized and productive. When you save your team’s shared files with a good storage structure, you immediately improve your speed and quality of work.
The agency folder problem
Problem is, a good folder-based file system is complicated, with several layers of sub-folders. You’ll also need to create codes to identify types of files and to guess what’s in a file if someone else saved it.
And it doesn’t matter what type of agency you run – marketing, design, operations, sales or anything else. If you have lots of shared files, then you need to be well organized.
Alex Khmelevsky, Clay’s UX Director wrote a pretty exhaustive post on their well-designed file system. But as you can see below, it’s complex and you’d have no idea what each file is if you weren’t the person who saved it.
Example of a well-structured file system by Clay
On top of that, you can’t combine files from different systems. What if you need to use a combo of Dropbox files, Google Drive docs and Dribbble shots from the web? There’s no way to combine them in a folder system.
What about the client?
Sales and account management would be more effective if you share files, like proposals, references, etc., with your clients as well.
You’re not going to give them access to your agency’s shared file system. You might upload each file to a project management platform for the client, but you’re just duplicating work (and it’s often hard to organize nicely).
How agencies should work with Neatly
Neatly’s features are perfect for the way agencies work.
1. Organize for speed
You save a lot of time with Neatly since you can more quickly scan categories than clicking through sub-folders.
Add sections to each category to break up your files based on a theme. For instance, a category could be Client xyz and sections could be proposal, development and analysis.
Sections are stacked vertically with the newest on top. This is great for projects where you’ll usually focus on the latest stage in the project.
Be neat (pun intended 😉). Save yourself and your team from the headache of having to open files just to figure out what they are. Add a description to each file to make it clear what its contents are.
Below each file name is editable description text
2. Include all sources
Put everything in one place, including web pages.
Neatly saves links to files so it doesn’t matter what the file type is. Add files from Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. and the web (like Dribbble, for instance).
You can further organize files by creating file groups. Clicking on a file group name will open a popup with a list of files.
This is perfect for keeping similar files together.
3. Create client categories
Neatly can be used for both internal company documents and as a media dashboard to share with your clients.
This is because Neatly allows your client to be part of the project without exposing your sensitive documents. Clients can only see categories that are shared with them.
The client view on the right will only display the category that’s been shared with the client
As an agency, you should be doing two things with Neatly:
- Add categories for internal uses, like marketing, sales, hr, operations, etc.
- Create a category for each client and share that category with the client
If you use a project management app with client access, paste the login link (automatically goes to the shared dashboard) to your project management app and stop updating multiple platforms.
Being organized obviously goes a long way to improve teamwork, morale and productivity.
It’s important to plan how you want to organize your work before jumping in.
More ideas on to use Neatly for agencies? Let us know on Twitter!