File folders and stacks of paperwork are so retro. These days, digital data is increasingly the preferred medium for businesses to store and share documents. Products such as Dropbox have appeared to make the digital transition easier for individuals and brands alike by offering lots of cloud (i.e. online) storage.

Evernote is an option that includes cloud and offline access to all of your key files. The service has proven immensely popular for casual users, but brands have also started to take advantage of Evernote’s new features designed specifically for more heavy-duty users. Here’s a look at what Evernote can offer your brand and your organizational teams.

1. Capture, Store, and Organize Anything

The key feature that distinguishes this product from other cloud-based file storage systems is its ability to turn almost anything into an entry. Text files are the most obvious choice, but the tool is also equipped to take audio, photo, and video logs. You can even save entire web pages, complete with images and links, with the tool’s web clipper.

Not only is Evernote a place where you can digitize all of your brand’s pertinent paperwork, research, and brainstorming, but it also makes those different items easy to find when you need them. The tool has a nested organization system. Each document you create is a Note, and these are grouped into Notebooks. For higher level classification, Notebooks can be grouped together to form a Stack.

While you can obviously set these items up with whatever system works best for your business, think about creating Notebooks for each of your departments. That way all of your pertinent documents for payroll, human resources, sales, or customer service are all easy to locate.

A Stack could also focus on specific projects or clients. This gives you a centralized location to share communications, and early drafts of your work. A final option is to have a Notebook for each of your team members, so they can access all the files they might need in a single place.

2. Tools Just for Business

While there are many great features in the free tools, the company recently launched a new specialized version called Evernote Business. This paid account is a more streamlined way for large brands to connect all of their key employees on the platform.

This tool has separate Notebooks for business and personal accounts, with the business ones appearing in your main screen in gray with a small briefcase logo below the name. Evernote Business also features the concept of a Business Library. This is a place where you can include all of your team’s Notebooks and search across all of your available brand items.

To oversee the management of your team’s accounts, the tool has the Evernote Business Admin Console. The admins of a business account can track the people using the tool, as well as see all of the Notebooks members have created.

Another option for more powerful Evernote features beyond the free version is a Premium account. This is a helpful intermediary service with functions similar to the Business account but for a lower monthly cost. If you need more than a regular Business account can provide, Evernote Business Premium upgrades all of your users to the features of the basic program, plus both the Premium and Business products combined.

3. Access on Any Platform

Evernote makes it easy to roll out for any company by offering its service on a complete range of platforms. The program is available in a web version, in addition to apps for just about any operating system. Evernote has versions for Windows Desktop, Windows Phone, Android, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. That flexibility means your team members can be linked in to your business data no matter what their device of choice is.

Notes can also be shared easily. You can post them to one of several social media networks (a feature that community managers will likely find useful), or you can email a Note directly to another person. You can also opt to share whole Notebooks, inviting people directly by email or creating a public link to your set of Notes.

As with so many other tools, with the ease of access and sharing comes the need for a clear understanding of how your employees should use Evernote. Be sure to educate your team members about what materials your brand can and cannot share on the tool. Everybody from your company using Evernote should know how to protect any confidential or proprietary information. Once your team is trained and prepared for what the tool can do, Evernote can help your brand to create, share, and communicate better.

Has your business experimented with Evernote? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: Heisenberg Media, Joachim Schlosser, Ziggy Creative Colony, Niels Heidenreich]