This guide to Airtable for bloggers features affiliate links for Airtable and Dubsado. If you sign up using these links I may receive a small commission or referral fee (but it won’t cost you any extra!)
As a blogger and marketer I’m always on the lookout for new tools for productivity, planning, and to generally make life easier. Some are a bit hit and miss, or really expensive, but I’ve found an AMAZING companion for bloggers in Airtable.
In this post I’ll share why it’s great for planning blog posts, keeping your contacts organised, and tracking your stats.
As a heads up, this isn’t a collab — it’s simply a tool I use and love! 💛
What is Airtable?
Airtable is a hybrid between a spreadsheet and database tool, which means that it’s great for storing, organising, and analysing data. Think of it as a cloud-based, modern, and really useful version of something like Microsoft Excel.
Refreshingly, Airtable is one of those products that doesn’t feel restrictive.
Everything about it is flexible and I can see it being useful in so many different industries. I first discovered it by chance while looking for a project management tool to organise marketing projects at work, and it’s great for that too.
Where it really shines for me though is in blogging. It’s become a tool that I use every week to help me stay organised.
How Airtable has changed the way I approach blogging
Like a lot of lifestyle bloggers, this blog started as a hobby and somewhere to document the things I loved in life.
Since then it’s grew and it’s now a major part of my life, and it’s a business which means it needs to be run like one. Not in a stale, dull way, but definitely in a more organised way.
One thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I can get overwhelmed easily — especially if all the thoughts, deadlines, and to-do lists are in my head. Moving that information over to Airtable has made a huge difference in the way I felt about blogging and my sense of calm. I don’t need to organise my blog in my head any more — it’s all there on my screen.
You might already be a pro at making lists or you don’t feel overwhelmed (which is amazing!), so I thought I’d share some of the other ways that Airtable has helped change the way I blog.
Because everything’s in one place, I spend less time:
- Searching through my Inbox for contacts, details of collaborations, and deadlines
- Worrying about what I have planned for the next month and what to write
- Trying to remember which products I’ve agreed to feature (e.g. in a gift guide)
So I can spend more time:
- Writing, taking photos, and creating content
- Developing relationships with brands, PRs, and agencies
- Planning future content and working on my brand
Thanks to being more organised and running my blog like a business, I’m also more on top of my brand collaborations and don’t feel that anxiety when reporting back on a campaign. I have a better view of my blog, what’s happening and when, which makes communicating with brands easier.
How can you use Airtable for bloggers?
Would it be cheating to say ‘in lots of ways’? It’s vague but true, and is one of my favourite things about it.
I started using Airtable as a way to keep track of my ideas for blog content. Then I added more fields, deadlines, and a calendar view and suddenly it became a fully-fledged editorial calendar. I’ve also used it to store and organise collaborations and products for gift guides.
Here are some ways you could start using Airtable to organise your blog.
One of the most powerful ways to really make the most of the software is to combine data in different ways, like you would with a traditional database. For me, that’s by using it as an editorial calendar for my blog.
I have one ‘workspace’ set up for my blog, with a ‘base’ for my blog content. Within this a tab for my editorial calendar. Here I add fields for a title or theme, columns where I can tick off whether I’ve taken photos or not, a date field with a planned publishing date and more.
You can also link to records from other ‘bases’ (spreadsheets). Say you’re planning a brand collaboration and want it to show up in your editorial calendar — you can link the data so you’re not duplicating it. Clever, right?
One of the best things is that you can create a ‘calendar view’ from this data using the planned publishing date and voila — see at a glance what you plan to publish and when.
List of content ideas
Sometimes we’re still at the idea stage and don’t want to commit to a whole plan for a post, right?
Another great use of Airtable for bloggers is having a tab dedicated to storing your content ideas. You can note down ideas for blog posts, videos, or collaborations.
Plan blog collaborations
Along with the editorial calendar, this is one of the tabs that I use the most — and one that’s made one of the biggest impacts on how I stay organised with my blog.
As bloggers we often live in our inbox and it’s where we store everything about the brand collaborations we’re working on. While it’s easy to categorise these (thanks to labels or categories), it can be way more productive to store this information somewhere else.
To do this, I set up a tab for my brand collaborations and keep everything I need to stay on schedule and create the best content I can. I add in fields for my brand contact’s name, their email address, the brand/agency name, the project/collab title, project due date, and any content requirements.
Unlike using email to manage your blog collaborations, here you can add in as many notes and reminders to yourself as you want or need. Like with the editorial calendar, you could also set up a calendar view so you don’t miss any important deadlines.
Keep on top of gift guides
Every year I tell myself I won’t publish any more gift guides, and every year I break it and you know why? Because all the brands and PRs that I work with are so lovely and I really enjoy the styling and photography aspect.
The side I don’t enjoy — or didn’t until recently — is keeping track of everything. You could be working with lots of contacts, each with multiple products, and things arrive a few at a time. It’s hard to stay organised with gift guides, especially if all that information is in your Inbox.
Instead of looking back through emails and keeping a list in a notebook, I now keep track of my gift guides within my Airtable base. I have a tab dedicated just for this, with details like my contact, the product, a link to the product, a tickbox to say whether it’s arrived yet or not, my planned publishing date, and everything I might need to make it a success.
If you are planning a gift guide this year, I’d seriously recommend signing up for Airtable and giving it a go.
Store your contacts
Anyone else guilty of not having a contacts list? Yep, that’s me.
This one’s still a work in progress for me, but eventually I want to keep a list of my blogging contacts within Airtable too. At the moment I refer back to my emails and, while Gmail’s search is amazing, it’s not the most efficient way of doing things.
You can easily set up a new tab and create all the fields you need for your blog address book. Store your contact’s name, company, email address, the projects you’ve worked together on (by linking this field to your editorial calendar!). You could make this really in-depth if you wanted to. It’d be a great resource to reflect back on and help you stay in touch with people you’ve enjoyed working with.
Track your stats
Whether you are driven by your blog and social media stats and follower numbers or not, it can be helpful to make a note of them regularly as a way of celebrating your hard work. It also means you have this information right in front of you if a brand requests it, or to help you keep your media kit up to date.
You could set this up like you would a spreadsheet, with your social media platforms listed (like Pinterest) as rows and have a column for each month. This is something I haven’t done yet, but is definitely on my to-do list.
Price your collaborations
As well as using Airtable as a place to store ideas, plans, and information, you can also use it to help you with the financial side of blogging.
I use a tool called Dubsado to track my income and expenses, but something I’ve found useful is having a tab in Airtable where I calculate and build packages for brand collaborations.
You can use formulas — so you might have a price for a blog post, a price for a social media post, and you can then build packages using formulas to display them. This has been really helpful if I want to go back to a brand with a figure for a project, knowing that I don’t need to sit down with a calculator or look back through previous invoices to see what I usually charge.
Other ways to use Airtable for bloggers
You can do anything that you normally do with a spreadsheet or even a notepad, so you could use it to:
- Track income and expenses
- Make a list of blog posts to promote on social media
- Create a projection of your income for the year
- Manage projects and collaborations (if you have a team or contributors)
- Plan a marketing campaign or rebrand
- Keep track of your affiliate links and programmes
- Plan an event or meetup
- Store outcomes for a campaign for reporting
- Set and tick off goals
- Store feedback from readers or brands (using the form tool)
Honestly, the list is almost endless and you can be as creative as you like.
How to create your Airtable account
Now that you know a little more about the tool and how it’s great for blogging, why not set up an account?
The best thing is that this is all free. There are paid add-ons available that could enhance your experience, but you can do everything I’ve mentioned in this post with a free account.
Head over to Airtable and enter your email address to create an account.
Once you’re set up and verified, you’ll be able to access everything and either create your own workspaces from scratch or use the templates (like the examples below) and edit them to your own style.
Airtable has a really intuitive help system, including intro videos. Instead of reinventing the wheel by creating a guide here, the best place to look for practical guidance on getting started is the Airtable Guide.
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Will you be using Airtable to help organise your blog?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you think this is something that will really help you manage your blog content and collaborations? What system are you using at the moment? Are you already using Airtable and want to share a few tips in the comments below?
Photographs via Unsplash