Using the Airtable App to Create an Editorial Calendar
What is the Airtable App?
First…I would like to stress to you HOW MUCH I HATE USING SPREADSHEETS!!!! I know…I know. A TON of you are currently screaming at me through your monitors. Spreadsheets are so neat and tidy and easy to read!!
WRONG!! I have a learning disability (dyscalculia…I won’t go into details now) that makes spreadsheets look a little more like a coloring book filled in by a five year old to my eyes. My brain has problems processing any technical data that isn’t laid out into color coded pictures.
Oh wait…IIIIII’M the five year old. 0_0
Anyhoo! Airtable is my new bff. They call themselves “the spreadsheet, re-imagined”…and coming from someone who HATES spreadsheets, I’m giving them a total high five. Their “spreadsheets” allow me attach files, color codes, keywords, subjects, notes and more!
The app syncs to my iPhone as well as to the app on my mac desktop (if you aren’t mac user, you’ll just need to log into their website directly…but the interface is still amazing!)
Now…before you put Airtable into a “spreadsheet” brain box, just invest TWO minutes into the next few paragraphs (don’t worry…I’m providing pictures). I’m going to show you EXACTLY how I use Airtable to create Editorial Calendars, 30 Day Challenges, Product Trackers, Product Planners and more! The versatility of this app is INSANE!!
Oh!! Oh!! And before I forget…before you start saying “ok…what is it? $30 a month?”. Nope. It’s free. Every. Aspect. Is. Free. The ONLY time you’ll need to think about paying is if you create more than 1,200 records and need more than 2GB for attachments…and even then it’s only $12 a month!
(The links throughout this post ARE affiliate links…but you certainly don’t have to use them! Just head to Airtable.com directly if you’d like!)
How to Use the Airtable app as a Blogger
Whew!! Alright! Let’s jump in! I’ve been using Airtable for a little over a year now…and it’s CRAZY addicting. I’ve become like the Monk of blogging. 0_0
What spreadsheets have I created using Airtable?
- Editorial Calendar
- Breakdown of all of our 30 Day Challenges
- A Product Planner
- Task lists for my VA
- The Video Library Calendar
- The Free Downloads Tracker
- Customer Reviews and Where they were given
- Affiliate Links (Where I’ve Used Them & How Much I’ve Made)
- Login Information (Non-Sensitive)
- PR & Guest Blogging Agenda
- Goal Tracker
- and a Book Catalogue…because I’m a Dork like that.
I used to have everything spread out over Google Drive and desktop files…but now it’s all organized in one place. *sigh* Organized. I get all tingly thinking about it.
For the sake of keeping it simple, I’m going to show you EXACTLY how I created my Blogging Editorial calendar. (I predict you’ll say “Oh My God” at least three times…not even kidding.)
Before we get started…head over to Airtable.com and create your account! You’ll be able to share this account with anyone you choose (this is called “creating a team”). *Nods wisely*
If you are a mac user, you’ll want to download the desktop app as well as the iPhone app! Trust me…this is where your first “Oh my god” will be coming in…
How to Navigate Airtable
All set up? PERFECTO! I’m going to QUICKLY go over a few tips to navigating the Airtable app and website. When you first login, you’ll see this screen and an area with your “example team” as well as a few example spreadsheets already set up. The first thing you’ll want to do is either change that “example team” name OR just create a new team right below it. I chose to call mine “The Uncorked Team of Kickassery”. It has a nice ring.
That “Share” button allows you to invite any outside users with an email into your newly created Team! If you have more than one team, they will ONLY be able to access the one they are invited to.
Each new project can be color coded and branded with an image from a gallery. (I’m still waiting for them to give us more colors…I WANT BRANDED BOARDS. #brandedbusinessproblems )
The way I work mine is:
- purple = calendars
- green= money related
- red = project related
- blue – products and downloads
- black – team and VA related
- gold = Goals
7 Steps to Creating an Editorial Calendar Using the Airtable App
Next, you’ll want to do a bit of exploring. At the top of the screen, you’ll see “My Bases” (which is the screen you are currently inhabiting) as well as “Browse Templates”. Click this second one! It will take you directly to a smorgasbord of templates that you’ll be able to use for your blogging needs.
As you can see, Airtable isn’t JUST for small businesses and bloggers. It’s for apartment hunters, eater outers, collectors, personal accounting and tons more!
Step 1: On the left hand side of your screen, you’ll see an area called “packs”. That first section called “Startup” is where all the juicy small business templates are…so give that one a click!
Step 2: For the sake of this example, we are going to create a editorial calendar for your blog. Click on the icon that says “Blog Editorial Calendar”. (Duh moment of the day.)
Step 3: The next page will take you to a description with a live example of the template. Click “Use Template”. You’ll pull up something that looks like this:
Pick a name for you board. I recommend NOT getting cutesy or creative with this part. You’ll need to access these (on occasion) when your brain is like butter…so name them after EXACTLY what they are!
Click the color you want to use and the icon that makes the most sense…and slap that enter button!
Step 4: Airtable has done the hard work for you! They’ve started you off with some pretty great columns and tabs…but don’t worry! If they aren’t exactly what you are looking for, that’s easily adjustable.
You can click the teeny tiny arrow at the top of the column (next to the column name) to change the name, the column type, the sorting and more.
My current blogging schedule has these columns and types:
- Story – Long Text Field
- Status – Multiple Select (Scheduled In Airtable, Outlined, Written, Images Created, Scheduled in WordPress, Posted, Promoted, Pinterest Images Created)
- Date Scheduled – Date Field
- Title Options – Long Text Field
- Topic – Multiple Select
- Guest Post – Checkbox
- Guest Post Blog Name – Link to Another Record (I’ll show you how to do this)
- Editorial Notes – Long Text Field
- Affiliate Links – Long Text Field
- Products Attached – Multiple Select (each product I offer)
Not gonna lie…I got through all of that and then remembered you can just view my blogging agenda here. *sigh*
Step 5: It’s time to play with the tabs! As you can see in my blogging calendar image from behind the scenes, the tabs I’ve created at the top of the page include Guest Post Opportunities, Affiliate Links, and Paid Post Opportunities. (You won’t be able to see this on the public link above…but I’ve included their exact layout in the Airtable Small Business Blueprint!).
Why not just create a new chart?
Well…first of all, I LOVE keeping everything together. This is my blogging project…so everything blogging will go in one place. Second of all, you can CONNECT these fields! See under the “Post Blog Name” column where it says “MirandaNahmias.com”? When I click that blue link, it automatically opens up the adjacent “Guest Post Opportunities” tab! It has pricing, affiliate links, descriptions and even photos. This is also how I keep track of Guest Post opportunities, what I’m writing, when the posts are due, what downloads are attached and the blog submission guidelines.
(Have you said “oh my god” yet?)
TIP: For my guest posting tab, I’ve also created a “checklist” column titled “Post Mention”. This allows me to differentiate between a blogger that has published a post of mine, and a blogger that has mentioned one of my posts in one of THEIR posts. This might mean the blogger would be open to having me guest post and also indicates which topics they might be interested in!
Step 6: So, how do you link one column to another spreadsheet? I’ll show you! This is great for assigning a task to a VA or co-worker, an author to a blog post, a blog to a guest post, etc!
First click the arrow next to the column you’ll want to connect.
Click the top button that says “customize field type”. Click the next arrow beside the column type and select the first option “Link to Another Record”.
This will bring up a list of the other records you can link to! Once you’ve selected the correct record, the field will auto-connect to the right selection and more information from now on.
LONG STEP! But I think you get the idea.
Step 7: Alrighty…here is where the fun part starts. If you’ve filled in the dates columns (date scheduled, published, etc.) you’re going to be able to view ALL of this information in a detailed calendar form.
THERE’S that third, “oh my god!”. Told ya…
To do this, simply go up to the top left hand corner of your screen and click the arrow next to the “main view” button. You’ll have a few options that involve filters (great if you want to see already published posts or only guest posts, etc.). Scroll down and click the “calendar” view. Voila!! Insta-calendar! To the right you can see your detailed post information and to the left, you’ll see your beautifully laid out calendar.
I ask you…what more do you need in life?
The rest of Airtable is just fun and shenanigans…so play around, create checklists, schedules, calendars and more! You can attach promo photos, docs, and add team members. Airtable automatically gives you your own affiliate link, so if you decide you need more…just get your friends and family and followers on board! You’ll get a $30 credit every time someone joins!
Alright…I’m peacin’ out trouts. I have more planning to do and more Airtable to lurve!
If you want an even MORE behind the scenes view of how I use Airtable for my business, click below for the “Airtable Small Business Blueprint”. I show you the EXACT layout for everyone one of my customized Airtable docs and what kind of columns and information I include. If you are a small business blogger with free downloads, articles and products…it will take months off of your organization process.