Content calendars are such a powerful tool for a content engine. They help increase the predictability and consistency of content creation. Bring all team members on the same page, allowing for better coordination and collaboration.
We recently wrote about how to set up a content calendar with Trello and Asana. In this article, we are looking into Airtable. Airtable is very powerful and flexible. Especially great when you have to manage a lot of external writers.
You can create your own or you can start with an existing content calendar template. Like the default content calendar template from Airtable or the more extensive template provided as part of this article.
Here is how to create your own.
You will need to have at least one table where you can add all of your content. On this table, you also will want to manage your content pieces as they go through the process.
After you created the table, you need to add the needed fields. Think of these as what is the information you to best manage a content piece as it flows through the process.
Here is an example of fields that we used in the template you can download below. The list below includes the name of the field plus the type in parenthesis and a short description.
- Title (Single line text) - Title of content
- Status (Single choice) - What’s the stage the content piece is in, in the creation process
- Summary (Long text) - A summary of the content
- Keywords (Long text) - Keywords you want to focus on for SEO
- Publishing Date (Date) - The publishing date once known
- URL (Single line text) - The URL where it will be published
- Headline (Single line text) - The headline
- Subheadlines (Long text) - Multiple subheadlines
- Owner and/or Writer (User or Single line text) - Owner and or Writer (can also be a separate field) HINT: You can use Single Line Text to manage external writers that are not part of your Airtable account.
- Tasks (Link to records in a “Task” table) - A reference to a task table to see what tasks need to be completed for the content piece to move forward.
This should give you and everyone on your team a good understanding of what to expect. This can also function as a brief for your writers.
With the table and the fields defined, each row that you add will represent a content piece. You now visualize your content pipeline in different ways based on the use case.
A Kanban view is a great way to visualize your content creation process. Add a Kanban view to your content pipeline table and group it by “Status” *(assuming you have added a status field). This will allow you to visualize where each content piece sits in the content creation process.
A typical process looks like this:
- Content Backlog - This is where your content ideas go.
- Planning - In that stage you are getting the content ready for your writers. A content brief is a great tool to share all the needed information with your writers.
- Find a writer - Great when you work with external writers. Once the content brief is ready, you need to find and brief your writers
- Writing - The content gets written, and reviewed. It is now mostly done.
- Editing - Here the content gets finalized and made ready for publishing. This includes proofreading, SEO optimizations, adding internal links, etc.
- Publishing - Once the article is finalized we need to prepare everything for publishing. This includes creating design assets, adding content to the CMS, checking HTML structure, adding meta descriptions, optimizing images, etc.
- Published - Content is published and ready for promotion
- Promoting - Content is getting actively promoted and pushed.
- On hold - Something is blocking the content from moving forward
- Done - Celebrate. You published and promoted yet another content piece.
Another critical view for content calendars is - drumroll - your calendar view. Add a calendar view to your table and visualize the content by publishing date. That gives you a holistic view of when new content will go live. It allows you to better coordinate and find opportunities for co-promotion of different content pieces.
Great when you are working with multiple writers. By adding a “Grid” view and grouping it by “Writer” you can quickly see which writer is working on what content pieces. Highly valuable to stay on top of everything.
Make the tasks visible that need to be done at each content stage. That helps with coordination and sets expectations for the team on what needs to be accomplished. It also ensures that nothing falls through the cracks and that you stay on target with your content publishing cadence.
Create another table and define the fields:
- Task Name
- The content piece they belong to (This needs to link to the content pipeline table)
You can see how this is done in our template that you can download for free.
Use an interface to share what is in the content pipeline with people outside of your team. You can show the content that is being worked on. You can provide a form for people to add new content ideas to your backlog.
In our template, we include a content overview, calendar view, and form to add new content ideas.
Remove manual interventions. Use the automation feature to automate creation of tasks when content moves from one stage to another. Or to send emails, Slack updates when a content piece reaches a certain stage.
A Table that stores all the content pieces, all information and their stage in the content pipeline.
- Content Pipeline (Kanban View)
- Content Calendar (Calendar View by publishing date)
- Content Overview (List view of all content being worked on)
- Author’s Workload (List view showing content by writer)
These are your main views to manage your content.
A table that allows you to capture and link tasks to content pieces.
- “All tasks”
- “Tasks by owner”.
The tasks in this table are linked to the content in the Content Pipeline table. When viewing a content piece in the Content Pipeline table you will also see the tasks that are associated with it.
Analyze and collect how your content performs. Add key performance metrics of your content promotion to this table. This allows you to stay on top of your content performance as a team. (Copied from the official Airtable content template.)
A set of playbooks to provide instructions on how to perform certain tasks. This includes how to optimize images, a technical SEO audit, and a promotion checklist.
Here are some other helpful resources:
Content Dashboard with 3 pages
- Upcoming content - Shows all content pieces that are being worked on.
- Content Calendar - Provides a calendar view of publishing dates for upcoming content
- New content ideas - A form allowing others to add content ideas to the content backlog
Make the template yours. Adapt it to your workflows and everything you need to publish great content. Have a backlog of new content ideas. Know the status of each content piece. Get a holistic view of when all your content will be published. Make it easy for stakeholders to contribute and get insights into the content program.
A content calendar is one of the key tools enabling a predictable and scalable content engine.