Make a simple sponsor management calendar with integrated ad copy
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Make a simple sponsor management calendar with integrated ad copy

Whether you manage sponsors for a single episodic show or hundreds of shows, you need a well-organized structure to ensure nobody misses a beat.

An Airtable base can take care of the tedious work for you, so you only need to add shows and sponsorships and let the rest of the work take care of itself.

Note: This article focuses on the types of sponsorships you’d need to manage for web series like MinutePhysics or podcasts (both video and audio) like Serial, as television sponsorships require a different format that requires a lot of network-specific fields. That said, a simpler base, like the sample included within this article, can adapt to more complex advertising structures like those found in broadcast television—but this article will focus on a more generalized approach.

Keep it together

Sponsors help pay for the production of quality content, so you naturally don’t want any talent to record the wrong read or miss an episode’s ad(s) entirely. Unfortunately, when you’re juggling multiple sponsors scheduled for specific days that process can get a little messy—especially when you’re managing an entire network. A calendar can help keep things on track, but you also have to make sure talent has the correct ad copy to read (or improvise from) on their show. You create weaker links in the management chain when you solve these problems separately.

Because you can store lots of text and file attachments in Airtable, and link records from different tables together, you can keep sponsor data and ad copy in the same base you use to track your shows. You can even create a sponsorship calendar for an entire network, or a series of various views specific to shows (or talent, if they have multiple shows) to avoid any confusion. Additionally, you can even schedule notifications a couple of ways to make sure no one forgets to take care of the part of the show that pays the bills.

Let’s take a look at how to make a better whole out of all these different parts.

Let’s get organized

Take a look at the example base below. With only three tabs and a little logic, you can generate sponsorship calendars in a near-instant for all shows. Take a look at the Sponsorships table and change the view to “Calendar” to take a peek. We’ll get into how this all works in a moment, but you should check out the awesome results in advance so you know where we’re headed.

Let’s take a step back to the Shows table. In the example base, you can see shows have names, hosts, URLs, air days, and notes. Most of these fields explain themselves, but let’s take a look at the two that do more than meets the eye.

First, the Host(s) field lets you add collaborators that you invite to the base via email so they have access to the base. If you prefer to collaborate another way, you can always change this field to a Multi-Select or just a text field and enter the names of hosts/talent manually.

Second, the Air Day field specifies the day the show airs on. That may not seem like much, but a hidden field in this table translates the air day to its numerical counterpart (e.g. Monday = 0, Tuesday = 1, Wednesday = 2, etc.) so you don’t have to remember what day the show airs when marking each and every episode on the sponsorship calendar. Instead, you can just specify the first day of the week and the base will calculate the correct air date for you—but more on that when we get to the Sponsorships table.

Next, let’s take a look at the Sponsors table. Here you can add the name of any sponsor and the ad copy for any show’s host/talent to read. If you prefer, you can add an Attachment field to this table to upload PDFs, DOCs, or other file types to keep track of ad reads. If you prefer to utilize a third-party system like Google Docs, you can add a URL field instead for better organization.

Finally, head on over to the Sponsorships tab, where the magic happens. The first and last fields (Show # and Air Date) are formula fields that fill themselves out so you don’t have to. Simply choose a show, type in the episode number, select a sponsor, and choose the first day (Monday) of the week that episode should air. When you’ve finished, you’ll see the Air Date field update with the correct episode date and the Show # field display the show title and episode.

Some of this may seem redundant, but remember the calendar you looked at before? These formulas feed the calendar the information it needs in a way that provides more useful information at a glance.

Create your calendar

The sample base includes a handful of shows and sponsors as well as plenty of actual scheduled sponsorships. With the Sponsorships table selected, click on Grid view to switch over to the calendar so you can see how everything comes together.

On the right side, you’ll find a list of sponsorships grouped by show and ordered chronologically within those groups. On the left (and larger) side, you’ll see an adjustable calendar with each of those scheduled sponsorships on the correct air date for each shows. Those aforementioned formula fields form a more precise calendar, rather than one that simply shows every episode airing on a Monday.

You can move show dates around with a formula field, however, and you can’t track shows with inconsistent days of the week or multiple weekly airings this way. While the formula field takes some of the scheduling pain away, if you need to get more specific and specify your dates manually, simply change the calendar to use the “Week of” field, delete the Air Date field, rename it to something more appropriate, and tell the calendar you want to use the proper date field. This will require more manual input, but will provide the freedom to drag episodes around on the calendar.

Formula fields are convenient for automatically scheduling dates, but if you're looking for more fine-tuned control over each episode's scheduling, you can

Regardless of how you create your calendar, don’t forget one of the best features: you can download the calendar and add it to iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook, or anything else that accepts the iCal format. Just click the ellipsis (...) in the Airtable toolbar to find this option.

Create your filtered views

If you want to create a view that just displays data for a specific show, so that you don’t confuse hosts/talent with unnecessary information, switch to the view called “Welcome Back, Bird!” (one of the fake series created for this sample base). This is a gallery view, displaying cards with the episode number, sponsor(s), and the specific air date. It provides a simple, concise view of all the episodes with their corresponding scheduled sponsorships.

You create a view like this from the same location you’ve been switching between views. Instead of choosing one of the existing views in the base, however, click one of the types below those options where it says “Add a view.” You can filter any view but Form view, so choose whatever you like and we’ll add a filter for a specific show.

Once you’ve got your new view, click the Filter button in the toolbar and you’ll have a couple of options. Most likely, the default will read “Where ‘Show’ contains ________.” In the blank, simply type in the name (or portion of its name). Airtable will filter your results in real time and you’ll see your view only contain the necessary information. If you want multiple shows in this view, just click Add Filter and input another show name.

By default, this filter will become an additional rule that must be satisfied. You can see this in the first word: “and.” Click on “and” and switch it to “or” so that this new filter is one of two possibilities instead of a more limiting rule that will display nothing at all.

Do even more

You can do more than we’ve already covered through Zapier integrations. For example, you can use Zapier to create an email integration that automatically contact hosts when new sponsorships are added and sends them the ad copy. You can learn how to do this in the Airtable Help Center, along with other time-saving integrations.

Integrations will help you do more with your bases by doing less, so play around and see how can cut out some of the tedious tasks involved in your work. Also, don’t forget to copy this base to your account so you can expand it to meet your needs. If you make anything amazing, submit it to Airtable Universe. You’ll find all the great stuff individuals and companies are making on Airtable there, too.

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