I wanted to share another affordable (free) tool that I use that rivals the services used by major networks and corporations. Google Documents has a Spreadsheet feature that also allows you to create a form which can be hosted online. Prior to this discovery, I had to use paid services to create online forms for a variety of purposes, including online media credential processing.
Google’s Spreadsheet function can provide almost all of the items needed to create and manage an online media credential system. Having worked with major networks during awards season, I’ve had the opportunity to see how seamless this process can be if you cut down on the paper trail by managing as much as possible online. Seriously, who wants to be bothered with retrieval credential applications over faxes when you can receive email notifications and have an online management system in place. Another pro for this type of system is that a publicist doesn’t have to decipher the chicken scratch of the media on an application if they are required to complete a media application by hand writing their request. An online process eliminates spelling errors in email addresses and properly identifies the media outlets.
How it works…
1) When you open the Google Documents Spreadsheet function, select Create a form.
2) When the new window opens, begin entering all of the questions that you would have on your traditional media credential application, then save it under a file name.
3) Once you have completed all of the questions and saved the name, you’ll have the option to either embed the html code somewhere for online hosting or you can use the link to email to those that should be completing the application.
4) Then as press complete the online form, the information will be exported in to an online spreadsheet hosted under your Google Documents account. And if you set up the spreadsheet to send you (and people that you’ve selected) a notification, each time a new form is completed, an email notification will be sent to the proper recipients with a link to view the spreadsheet online. Also notifications will be sent via email anytime you make changes directly to the spreadsheet.
The only thing that this feature doesn’t provide (yet) that most of the expensive online form processing (credential processing) services provide is the ability to upload files. For example, if you have an event that you require the credentials request to submit photos or files like stories or media kits, they would have to email those items to you separately. However, considering how the form feature (offered by Google) is free, I’m not too terribly sad about not having the file uploading feature.