Written by


Don McGray

Filed Under

Guide for marketers


Using Airtable for content operations

From campaign management to product launches, we’ve seen hundreds of teams build effective processes with Airtable.

This guide will walk you through the steps needed to set up your own content operations base. When you’re done here, you’ll have a fully functional base that will help you speed up your time to publish.

Getting started

First, let’s define what, exactly, content operations are. Content ops is the who, what, and why of content. It brings together processes, tools, and disciplines to help organizations decide who to target, what content to create, and how to measure results. Once you have all these parts in place, you’ll have a workflow that helps you—and your team—create better work.

So let’s get started.

First, you’ll want to create a new base from scratch (if you’re looking for a foundation to build on, check out this content ops template). Next, start customizing it. Give it a new name, choose an icon, and select a color (don’t overthink it—they’re all great colors and you can always change it later).

Next, it’s time to set up your tables. Your base should probably have some permutation of these four tables:

  • Content deliverables and requests. Where you’ll store all your ideas, requests, and pitches coming from your team and partner teams.

  • Campaign tracking. Where you can see how your content is distributed and see how it performs.

  • Objectives. Where you can align every piece of content and every campaign with your team’s objectives.

  • Team. Where you can store your team’s information like a profile picture, name, office location, and title.

Some organizations also like to create a reference table for their results (for example, import a Facebook results CSV that you can reference in your Campaign tracking table).

Once you’ve created your tables, it’s time to add some fields (think of them a bit like “column headers” in a spreadsheet—at least for now). Create “Content deliverables” and “Requests.” Here are a few fields we’ve seen in effective content ops workflows:

  • Project name: a single-line text field, where you’ll put...well, the name of your project

  • Priority: a single-select field, so you can categorize your projects by their priority. For example, you might label your content as “High” priority when it’s critical for a launch or “Ongoing” for a blog post series that you publish twice a month

  • A “Status” field: a single-select field, where you can stay up to date on each project’s status. We recommend you have a selection for each state from “Request” through “Published”

  • An “Approved?” field: with a checkbox, so you can approve (or reject) requests with a click

  • A requestor and a producer field: for collaborators, where you’ll track who requested a project, and who’ll produce it

These are only recommended fields—we definitely encourage you to explore field types and add fields that work for you.

Now that you’ve got your table and fields set up, you’re ready to add your first record, or row. Start by adding your first project and from there, you can keep adding records as you list your projects. You might start with a project like “Announcement email” or “Marketing whitepaper” and from there you can start to see how you’ll turn this table into a workflow for your whole team.

A more powerful base

Airtable can do much more to accelerate the way you create and distribute your content. Here are a few pro tips we’ve learned from other teams running content operations in Airtable:

  • Linked records connect data across tables, so you can see how content and objectives are related. We suggest linking a team member to a project, so you can easily see who is producing every piece of content at a glance.

> Learn how to link records

  • Rollups are a powerful field type that let you easily see how many linked records are connected to each other. For example, a rollup can show you how many deliverables are on every team member’s plate or how many requests are tied to a campaign.

> Read about rollups

  • You can review and approve assets in Airtable with our asset review feature. Teams use asset review to give feedback on marketing assets so they can move through approvals faster. And since the work is all happening in the same place, it’s easy for teams to stay on track.

> Learn about asset review

  • Lastly, creating a form makes it easy for your partners to request new content from you. Once you’ve created a new form, you can easily select which data you need and add additional context to get the right detail. And because you’ve set up an approval field, it’s easy to approve all those requests.

> How to create a form

Now that you’ve got the main structure of your base ready, you can start adding content and meeting your goals with Airtable. 

Next steps

Great job! You’re well on your way to creating better work, faster. Here are a few extra tips for making a great workflow:

  • Views are important! In fact, they’re probably the best way to understand your data. We recommend at least two views for content operations: A calendar view so you can keep an eye on upcoming due dates and a kanban view so you can easily sort each project by its status. Looking for extra credit? You can also add a gallery view to see your assets linked with content, authors, and any other field.

  • Another way to add more power to your base is to use an Airtable App. Adding an app to your base can let you easily see your results or keep a brainstorming session next to your content. Explore our curated apps for marketers for more.

  • You can also create automations in your content operations base to connect your data to other tools. For example, you can create an automation that sends an email when a request is approved or an automation that publishes social posts directly to Hootsuite.

Nice work! We know that was quite a lot of information, so now is a good time to putter around and start daydreaming in your base.

About the author

Don McGrayDon McGray is a Product Marketing Manager at Airtable, with a decade of experience in marketing SaaS, sass, and coffee.

Filed Under

Guide for marketers


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