We use Google Calendar and shared documents and folders on Google Drive to help manage our content and that of our clients. But, one of the most interesting and powerful tools we’ve put into place as a Content Calendar, is Smartsheet.
We’ve tested many content calendars – basic spreadsheets to collaborative systems. In doing so, we realized that we wanted a unified content calendar across clients. Smartsheet is a project management tool but has an effective calendar view. We decided to see how it worked as a content calendar. We’re happy we did.
What is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a powerful tool for effectively producing & managing your own content and, for social media/content creation consultants or agencies, the content of your clients. Also, it is no secret that I admonish my coaching clients that their calendar is a benevolent dictator… it tells you what to do because it knows what is best for you.
Creating content – and yes, even creativity – can and should be scheduled. Remember, “What is NOT INTENTIONAL is ACCIDENTAL!”
I’ve mentioned Smartsheet before. It is a simple but powerful Project Management tool based on the concept of a spreadsheet. Since Excel is a spreadsheet tool pervasive in project management, Smartsheet is intuitive for most users and has many advanced collaborative features.
Smartsheet features we love are:
- It is cloud-based: our team is everywhere, our tools need to be there, also
- It allows us to segment projects/sheets by work-spaces and permissions
- It provides in-sheet discussions & file attachments by individual tasks (rows) or across the entire project/sheet
- It allows us to setup auto-notifications based on due-dates and other criteria
- It allows us to request updates from those OUTSIDE the system (vendors)
… and many others…[space_20]
This is NOT an exhaustive training/tutorial on Smartsheet. You’ll have to test it out yourself but I will discuss and demonstrate a few key features specific to using it as content calendar.
As soon as a new client is added to the sheet, we use conditional formatting to establish a row and calendar color for that client. It helps us quickly visualize content by client on the sheet.
We also have conditional formatting on the “due date” field. We use:
- Grey background, if blank
- Yellow background, if due in 2 days or less
- Red background, if past due
This allows content managers to quickly see, via color, their clients’ rows and which items are due or will be soon.
Of course, the sheets can be filtered and sorted to show just the rows for specific clients. We can also filter and sort to see everything that is past due or due in the next few days.
Grid (Spreadsheet) View & Calendar view
Smartsheet has a Grid view – similar to a spreadsheet, a Gantt chart view, and a calendar view. For our content calendar, we use Grid and Calendar views only. We switch to calendar to see what is coming up and to drag items to a new due date when necessary. The images below show the sample data in in each view.
Using a calculated field
Smartsheet displays the “Primary” field for a sheet in the calendar view. I created a calculated field as the primary field to display: the client, the media type, the title, and who is responsible for that content.
We can edit the data directly from the grid view (spreadsheet view) or by double-clicking the item in the calendar view.
Below is a brief video demonstrating the standard sheet view, calendar view, and conditional formatting.
[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPEUCqzmFk8″ ]
I hope you found this interesting. If you have ANY questions about content creation, calendaring in general, and Smartsheet specifically, please ask.
Also, if this was helpful, leave a comment and consider sharing.
Founder, Pulse Infomatics, Inc.