Maybe it’s a bit of frequency illusion, but lately it seems like every marketer I know is talking about Airtable.
I saw all the online love and reviews calling it “the world’s friendliest database” and “one of the easiest editorial calendars to use.”
Airtable had my attention, but I couldn’t help wondering: Isn’t this just another spreadsheet tool? What makes Airtable any better than my favorite go-to tool for editorial planning, Google Sheets?
Brittany Berger, a B2B content marketing strategist who coaches solopreneurs, showed me the light. It clicked when she said that “spreadsheets are for numbers people. But I’m a writer and I don’t feel at home in spreadsheets.”
Here’s a closer look at Airtable.
What Is Airtable?
Here’s what Airtable offers:
- A simple database that’s flexible. You can tailor the way you organize information for different work styles and flows.
- Creative visual views of your data.
- Ready-to-go templates designed for creative teams and agencies.
Because Airtable is such a visual tool, I can see why so many right-brained marketers and managing editors love using Airtable for content marketing and content audits.
Airtable 101: How to Use It
Start with a Base
Let’s say you want to keep track of ideas, manage your editorial calendar or conduct a content audit.
In Airtable, you start with a Base, which contains all the information you need for a particular project — like content title, content type, writer, status, links to the content draft, due dates, publish dates and anything else you need to track. You can even drag and drop file attachments or images into your Base. Since Airtable is a “smart” database, you can easily organize and cross-reference all of this information by linking records.
Brittany told me she likes Airtable because there are so many preconfigured Bases. You don’t have to start from scratch — you can use or modify existing Bases from the Airtable gallery, create your own or purchase Bases from a third party.
Experiment with Views
The magic really starts to happen with Views.
Unlike a traditional spreadsheet where every user sees the same rows and columns of data, Airtable allows anyone to view information in the visual format that works best for them — like a calendar (genius!), grid or Kanban board. Plus, anyone can filter out what they don’t want to see.
Airtable’s visual answer to content planning is a total game-changer. It becomes much easier to organize and manage all of the moving pieces in the content marketing process.
Airtable for Content Audits
Compared with creating and managing an editorial calendar in Google Sheets and Excel, Airtable definitely has major pluses. But another area where it can really shine is conducting a content audit.
Anyone who has done a content audit knows it’s extremely tedious to create a detailed content inventory, track keywords and URLs, and dig deep into analytics. Then there’s the process of translating your findings into action items, assigning those and tracking the status of next steps.
For Brittany, Airtable has been the ideal solution to tackle auditing and updating her library of over 200 blog posts — without the headaches.
Brittany shared her Airtable content audit tips:
- Tag content to sort and filter for different publication channels. In Brittany’s case, she uses a set of tags for each of her sites.
- Use Airtable’s long text fields to list all changes needed for each blog post, such as “update graphics” or “rewrite the blog post entirely.”
- Create a status field with drop-downs like “Not Started,” “What’s Next,” “In Progress” and “Done” to view your progress in a streamlined Kanban board.
- Set up a submission form for other team members or readers to submit content ideas or links directly into an Airtable base.
- Or my personal favorite, use the Rating star field to flag the amount of work associated with each action item: One star for those that only require a few minutes or five stars that require a serious sit-down. Brittany says this rating system has made it easier for her to work on updating content when she has a few minutes here and there — it’s easy to see the low-hanging fruit.
If you’re getting started with Airtable, check out these helpful resources:
- Airtable Blueprint + Video Training from Uncork Your Dork.
- Content Manager template from Good Email Copy.
- Jimmy Daly’s Pageview Tracking or Editorial Calendar templates.