While seeking out some options to manage an editorial calendar for one of my personal sites, I came across Airtable with its promises to bring the power of a database to a spreadsheet. My position on spreadsheet project management is documented so I was a wee bit skeptical at first. Besides, I’m not a believer in tools that promise to be everything to everybody. Airtable stays away from that trap while still offering a range of templates to govern some current and upcoming content project management needs of mine.
Airtable works on a workspace model that they call a base. Out of the box, there are some useful tools for content creators who are looking for a tool to provide more structure to their strategy and publishing workflows.
Content marketing management base
Even back when I was writing technical documentation, I saw the value of managing publishing as a process even if my employer or client didn’t ask for it directly. The Content Marketing Management feature of Airtable is well-presented and graphically-appealing. It’s a screen that lends itself to be projected on a screen during a meeting.
While I see Airtable for content marketing management for mature departments or teams because it offers so much out of the box for content marketers letting them manage content ideas, personas, published stories, verticals, and SEO keywords for an entire content initiative.
When you click on a publication in the Content Marketing Management table, a record appears which is fully customizable. While the out of the box solution presents some typical publishing milestones, I like a more checklist-based approach that a tool such as Asana, Todoist, or Trello offers but that’s just me. When I dug into the customizable fields, I did find a checkbox field so if you’re like me you could build out your own editorial checklists.
It’s a robust view into content marketing, you can even add new tables to the Content Marketing option to customize Airtable to your publishing workflow
Blog editorial calendar base
Managing a corporate or personal/professional blog is best done with a strategy and plan. Airtable includes a Blog Editorial Calendar workspace that works much the same as the Content Marketing Management base with the same level of customizability.
The next time I have to meet a requirement to manage an editorial calendar, Airtable — if feasible — will certainly enter the discussion as a possible solution.
I do fault Airtable on the deliberate complexity of its user interface terminology. It has workspaces, bases, and tables. While I applaud the UX of the app, I did need to verify the terminology when I was writing this post.
Their iOS mobile app appears impressive on my iPad Pro and iPhone 8 Plus offering full access to all of Airtable’s features. As I am an early bird in an industry of late risers, full access from a mobile app means I can consult project information during off hours
Airtable comes with a 14-day trial of its premium features. You can choose from tiered pricing.
While Trello remains a go-to tool for me, I must say Airtable has my attention and I can see myself using it on a project at some point in the future.
I’m a technical writer and content development manager living and working in Northern Virginia. Over my career, I’ve written bylined articles for ITSearchOperations, DevOps Agenda, Mobile Business Insights, CNET TechRepublic, and others. My areas of interest include cloud computing, DevOps, enterprise mobility, and collaboration tools. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly.