Airtable Demo: Creating An Editorial Calendar
- Articles, Blog

Airtable Demo: Creating An Editorial Calendar


– [Instructor] In this demo, we’ll be going over how to use Airtable to create an editorial calendar like this, to manage your content production process. One of the best things about using Airtable for your editorial calendar is that it saves you so much time. It allows you to plan out all issues, whether they are on a weekly or a monthly basis, assign content and deadlines to your team, and prepare for editorial team meetings by using the exact same system. No longer do you have to jump from email to spreadsheet, to some other project management tool. The other great thing about Airtable, is that it significantly minimizes any unnecessary or duplicative data entry. Let’s imagine for a second that we work for the fictitious magazine called the Voyager, which is a travel publication targeted towards your everyday jet setter and global citizen. The Voyager uses Airtable to plan and manage all editorial content for both print and online. As you can see here. So let’s go ahead and dive right into this base that I created. In this base we’ve got four main tables. Our issues, team, print schedule, and online schedule. Each October our editor uses this table to basically construct the 12-month plan for the following year. It includes all the key details that we need to stay abreast of, such as the theme, description, and other important dates like the ad close date and on sale date, which are mostly very helpful for our advertisers and freelancers, but also our internal team to stay on track. Our team table features every member of the editorial team at Voyager. It includes their role, their contact information, and where relevant the territory that they cover, which is hugely helpful when it’s time to assign region specific content. Our print schedule is where our editor actually spends most of their time. Here’s where all the magic happens. Every single piece of content that is scheduled to appear in a particular issue is planned in this table, along with any relevant meta data. This table’s also super useful because this is what we use to handle every single content assignment and manage all key deliverable deadlines. Our online schedule is pretty similar to our print schedule in that we maintain the theme for a particular month and we also use it for content assignments and deadlines. However, there are a couple of key differences. For example, in online we tend to focus more on short form and highly sharable content like top 10 list. And so somethings that appear here you won’t see in our print schedule because it won’t be in our print issue. The other difference is that we tend to operate on a slightly different timeline because content is produced much more regularly online than for print. And so that is also reflected in our table. For today, we’re going to be focusing on flushing out all of the planning for our March 2017 issue, which is focused on one of my favorite things, food from around the world. Our goal is to build out that print schedule for our March issue and then prepare to present it to our editorial team meeting and share different updates based on individuals that we’re speaking with. So, let’s go ahead and get started. One of the first things that we do when we’re back in the print schedule table is to start by listing out all the standard content that always appears in an issue, regardless of the theme. So I’m just gonna add a few rows here like hitting shift and enter. And I’m gonna go ahead and include things like our front cover. The back cover will need a table of contents. And then of course, we’re gonna want some stories and features that are specific to our particular theme. So we are fortunate enough to get a feature with Celebrity Chef, Anthony Germain. If I can only spell his name. Great, so we’ve got his Caribbean food journey. Then a couple of other stories that we think our readers would love. And let’s see, let’s do one more story. Just for fun. Oops, what I meant to write was bubble tea resurgence. Perfect! So we’ve got our stories in there all good to go. We got some of the key content that we need. Now what I want to do is assign all this content to a specific issue. Which in this case will be our food issue. Because my issue field, which you can see here, is linked to my issues table, which we took a peek at earlier. I can go ahead and click this plus sign and access all the issues that are listed out in my issues table. When I scroll down just a bit, I’ll find our March 2017 issue on food, which we’re looking for. And since all this content here is gonna be in the exact same issue, rather than having to link that record each time, I can just use the drag handle and quickly fill in these cells. I can even double check to confirm that my issues table is populating with my stories for March. As you can see here, we’ve got all the content that we just added to our print schedule table. The next thing that I’m gonna want to do is assign a writer and editor. As you can see, these cells here are representing linked records and so these both ladder up to our team table. So again, I can access content from my team table by clicking this plus sign. I’ll see all the members of the Voyager editorial team and I can go ahead and select a writer and editor for each piece of content. Well, for our cover, for our standard content, we’re just gonna use one of our editors. So I’ll go ahead and select a couple. And then, let’s see, who else is in here? Let’s do Jonathan. And then for our writers, again, here is where our territories come in handy. You can see that Kayla handles the Caribbean and Latin America. So I’ll use here there. And then, let’s see if we’ve got anyone who would be great. Ah, we have a freelancer who can take care of that article. And I’m just gonna use the drag handle here for our assigned editors. When I set up our section in our status fields, these are both single select. And what I was able to do was predefine the options that we would use for the dropdown. Our section field basically represents or displays all the different sections that are in our magazine and are pretty standard for us. So, I’ll go ahead and start assigning some content to these various sections. Select cover. This will be a culture piece. These two are definitely focusing on food. And our status, that represents the internal workflow processes that we have at the Voyager. And so, you can see each of the different elements or stages within our process. Since I’ve only just assigned all this content, I’m gonna go ahead and select that. It’s again using the drag handle, which is super nifty. I’m able to quickly fill in all these different records. Because we enter into agreements with our printers on the number of pages that we can budget for each content and for each piece of content and for each issue, it’s important that we track that. And so this field is of helpful for me personally to keep track of how many pages we’ve got allocated in each issue. So I’ve quickly filled that in. And I’m moving along to deadlines. So like I mentioned earlier on, this is one of the key ways that we use this table. Is to keep track of deadlines and to obviously assign deadlines for different pieces of content. Of course, as I’m assigning deadlines, I’m gonna want to keep in mind what the On Sale Date is for my issue. And so rather than having to jump back to my issues table, scroll down to the March issue, scroll over to check out our On Sale Date, or even having to do that in this table here, I can click here and scroll down and see it. I don’t have to do either of those things. What I can do is use something that’s called a Look Up. What a Look Up allows me to do is access the details from the linked record that’s in another table and display those details here. So I’ll show you exactly what I mean. I’m gonna go ahead enter a new field here, it’s gonna be called On Sale Date. And I’m gonna customize this as a Look Up. And in this case, I’m interested in using the issue on this table, which is also a record in our issues table. And then looking up the On Sale Date and presenting that information here. So, just like that, I’m able to quickly see our March 2017 issue, it’s going on sale February 20th. So now I know to make sure all our deadlines are well ahead of that On Sale Date. So I can go ahead and input some deadlines here. And again, let’s just use the drag handle for simplicity and then some final edit deadlines. Totally meant to make that February. One more. And then my nifty drag handle is coming out. Great, so we’ve got our deadlines, we’ve got all our content in place. And now our writers and editors can add links to the content whether it’s on Dropbox, Google Sheets, or some other platform. And then we can add images for each story piece, which is very helpful for our creative director to take a quick look and see in line exactly what’s being planned for an issue rather than having to go off to a link or some other place. So, let’s go ahead and click that and add a couple of images. Since this is an attachment field, I can attach different file formats to each content piece from my computer, a web image, or anyone of these sources here. Fortunately I’ve got everything on my computer, so I’ll go ahead and just pull them up from here so you can see we’ve got our appetizing crickets that are going to be attached to our cricket piece. And then we’ve got a bunch of great images that Anthony Gormain had given to us from his food journey in the Caribbean. So I’m gonna go ahead and open up these here and upload it to that story. So, I’ll look at that, looks super delicious. And as you can see, I’m able to attach multiple images at once. And I can even attach images for multiple stories at a time and it doesn’t affect anything. So, if I go over here and click this double arrow, I can go ahead and expand this content piece and I’ll see all the key details associated with this particular story. If I scroll down I’m able to see who the writer is, the editor, what section it’s slated to appear in, its current status, number of pages, all the important dates, and our beautiful images that we work together to put in here. One of the other things that I can do, is I can give my team a heads up. For example, in this case, Kayla’s the one who’s working on this writing this piece. And so may I can just ask her whether or not she’ll be available. So, hey Kayla. So I can ask her if she’ll be around next week. Kayla will then get an email notification as well as a notification in Airtable that there is a comment or an ad mention on this particular story waiting for her to check. So this is super helpful when it’s time to collaborate with the team and to sort of keep communication pretty live and active in your editorial content planning. What you’ll see above, is what we called our record level history, where you can basically see any change that has been made to a particular content assignment, including who made the change and when the change was made. So all these details that we basically together made and updated on the content for our content calendar are recorded here. Great! So now I’m gonna go ahead and jump into our online schedule and basically show you what that’s like to add a story that’s related to something from the print schedule. So like I mentioned, we’ve got a couple of things that are different between online and print and one is that we tend to repurpose some of the content that goes in print and present it on a more online sort of digital format. So in this case, what we’re gonna do is use Anthony Germain’s feature and create an online editorial piece for that. So, Anthony Germain’s top 10 Caribbean food spots. And now here I can go ahead and select the related content. And so that of course is going to be that piece that we just added to our print schedule. I can go ahead and add the issue, the assigned writer, but you see all that so I don’t need to do it again. But one thing that I want to point out is that this here is a Look Up field, which you may remember from the Look Up On Sale Date that we used in our print schedule and you’ll notice that it’ll automatically pull in the images based on the way that I have it set up, which you can take a peek and see here. It’s pulling from related content and what it’s pulling is image. I can already have direct access to those images, which is helpful for me if I want to either get some inspiration as I find new images, or if I decide that these are the images that I also want to use on web. And we can go ahead and assign a status. The deadlines again, we don’t need to do because we’ve already walked over. But here’s one thing that I want to point out. For online, it’s important for us to post content at a specific time and not just the day. So here I’m able to track that time that I want everything to post. So by making this a date field and including the time field, I can go ahead and select the online launch date as well as the time that I would like it to go live. And of course, we include links to copy. We’ll add content tags because it’s helpful for discovery. So we like to obviously follow anything that Anthony Germain does. So we’ll include a contact tag for him. As well as the Caribbean. And then, we would include the link to the published content. So now that all the content has been planned, we are ready for editorial team meeting. Let’s start by going back to the issues table. Here you can see all the different issues we have slated for the year. And the if we scroll over, we can see all the print and online content that we’ve got planned. Before my team meeting, one of the things that I want to do is ensure that we are well within the limits of our allocated number of pages for the food issue this month, which is a whopping 50, because other people love it as much as I do. So one of the things that I can do is use a, or add a new field here and use a feature called a Rollup. Again, by connecting through a linked record, specifically, the print content in this case. I’m able to summarize the details of a specific field that’s currently on the print schedule and then display that summary here. So I’ll show you exactly what I mean. I’m going ahead and add a new field. I’m gonna call it current number of pages. I’m gonna scroll down and select Rollup. Like I mentioned, I’m gonna pull from the print content and what I’m looking for is the number of pages. And the function that I’d like to use is a summary function. So I’d like to sum the total number of pages that have been assigned to the food issue from the print schedule. And I hit save and I can see that we’ve got 17 pages currently assigned. So we’ve got plenty of room to keep adding more content and get a really great food issue out for this March. One of the other things that really sets Airtable apart is that Airtable allows every collaborator on your team to look at editorial content in an unlimited number of ways. And so because I’m headed to the editorial team meeting, that’s gonna be crucial for my team. They all like to look at content in different ways, whether it’s on a calendar, in a Kanban board, in a grid, or with lots of filters. That’s something that I’m able to do with them. So let’s go back to our print schedule, and we’re gonna do, what we’re gonna do is set up a couple of different views. One of the first things that I personally like to do is take a look at how the table of contents for our issue is shaping up. So rather than looking at all the content planned, as you can see here, we’ve got January and February. I really just want to focus on my March 2017 issue. So I’m gonna come down here where I had the option of creating a new view, then select grid, because I want to create a new grid view, and this time I only want to focus on March 2017 content. So I’ll rename that view. And then what we’re gonna do is filter it so that the issue contains the word March. And so here we’re able to see only what we’ve got scheduled for March. And I have a better sense of what my issue is looking like. Another option that I have is to then group it by the section. And so I can really get a sense of whether things are balanced or I need to really focus on one particular area over the other. And so here you can see, I’ve got some content assigned and these two items I forgot to assign, but it’s not an issue. I just scroll over. I can still select where it belongs from our section field. And it’ll automatically update. With Airtable all views are automatically saved and all the original content pieces are preserved. If I go back to all the content that we were working on constructing together, you’ll see it here, even though I did filter out our January and February issue from my March 2017 view. If perhaps I wanted to take a look where all my content was within the production process, I can do that as well. I can hop over back to the menu bar and this time select a Kanban view. But fortunately, because I’m able to save views in Airtable, I went ahead and pre-created it. So I’m gonna click on the production process here and you’ll be able to see all the different content pieces that we have planned and where they are within our production process. If somehow during the meeting Kayla got a jump on things and quickly finished the first draft of the cricket craze on Mexico, I can even just drag and drop that story from the assigned queue to the draft queue. And the great thing about it, again, is that it will be reflected in my original content. So here if I scroll over, you can see that this is no longer in assigned status, it’s now in draft. And so I can continue to move things throughout the process as I get more updates for my team during the editorial team meeting. We also have the option of creating a calendar view, which will show all the content in a calendar and in this case, based on the draft deadlines. So here you can see, January 30th was a pretty busy day for us and we’ve got some other content pieces planned for some other dates here. Again, just like in Kanban view, I can drag and drop items that are listed on the calendar from one date to another. So if for example, our table of contents really should be done around the same time as our front cover, I can drag and drop it here. I can even take things things that have not yet been assigned or content pieces that have not yet been assigned and go ahead and assign a deadline. Fortunately all these are assigned so we’re all good. But if you imagine that this wasn’t assigned, I could then also drag and drop it from there and place it here. In this case, it was previously on the 26th, so I just bumped up that deadline and you can see that it’s reflected right here on the 21st. And one of the last things that I want to show you is that views are not specific to just one table in your base. Every table in your base has the ability to, for every table in your base, you do have the ability to create lots of different views. So I’m gonna go back to the issue table once more and in this case, maybe our creative director, like I mentioned before, really wants to get a better sense of what our issue covers have been looking like for the year before he finalizes our March 2017 issue. So the last few that we haven’t taken a look at is the Gallery View. And what I’ve created was a gallery view of our cover images. In this case I focused on just the issues that had cover images in place. And so you can see what that might look like. And so that wraps it up for editorial calendar demo. I do encourage each and everyone of you to visit Airtable.com to check out some of the other really cool demos that we have, as well as some of our templates that could be really helpful in getting you familiar with Airtable and some of the amazing use cases that you can use it for. If you do have any questions, I encourage you to reach out. I can be reached at [email protected] and look forward to hearing from you.

About Ralph Robinson

Read All Posts By Ralph Robinson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *