If you’ve ever used Microsoft Excel to create a content calendar, you’ve experienced the sinking feeling when your hard work didn’t save, a team member saved over your file on the shared server, or someone forgot to go update the dang thing for two weeks. (Been there!) Since the software was originally built for analysis, tables, graphs, and calculations NOT copywriting, character counts or URL management you know it’s not the best tool. However, I continue to see professionals who know the value of SEO marketing, public relations, and in-bound marketing using Excel to create a marketing content calendar.
There’s a better way.
And it’s free.
I’d like to introduce you to a tool I use to manage multiple content calendars, including my own. It allows you to view it as a calendar, kanban tiles, filter by author, sort by status, rate the ROI, link groups of relevant hashtags or keywords you’re targeting, review revisions and comments, assign to collaborators and save in the cloud.
Sound too good to be true? Good. Because it can be as easy and amazing as you can imagine.
It’s called AirTable.
And I didn’t even find it on my own. It was recommended to me as a solution to the same problems and pain points you’re experiencing now: the color-coded spreadsheets that have to be copy-pasted into a new tab each month, the rows upon rows that are grouped to keep alike information together, but also need to be different, and you can’t even save the graphics alongside the copy.
I swear. This free, online tool is the best free software or service for social media managers, content creators, marketing managers and solopreneurs who just need something that works!
How to use AirTable to Create and Manage a Content Calendar.
- Create a free account at AirTable.com. This will prompt you to answer a few questions so they can recommend some bases tailored to your needs.
- Once you have a workspace, create a new base. Think of it as a database that you’re going to fill with information (or an Excel Workbook if you’re transitioning from that).
- I recommend creating the following fields in these formats (aka columns):
- Topic – primary field (default, cannot be removed)
- Topic Category – single line text
- Category Concept – multiple select
- URL aka Link – url
- Media – attachement(s)
- Post Date – date
- Platform – multiple select
- Content Type – single select
- Relevant Hashtags – link to another record
- Relevant Keywords – link to another record
- Post Content – long text
- Source/Notes – long text
- Assigned To – collaborator (if you’re collaborating)
- Creation Status – single select
- After you have your fields (columns) set up you can just start entering information. If you already have your information in an Excel sheet, you can also import!
- Don’t forget to set up a couple of different views to get the most out of this tool. You can view the information as a calendar at a glance, sort and filter by different fields and also add additional tables in new tabs you can link to.
TLDR: You can use AirTable to construct a robust, dynamic database to manage your marketing content calendar. Snag my pre-built version in exchange for subscribing to our email list.