Stop Pulling Data by Hand! Try this Guide to Build a Database that Fills Itself

Lately, we’ve shared a series of posts suggesting easy ways to streamline your workflow with integration tools like Zapier.

In this post, we’re looking at how you can set a Google Sheet to auto-update when new data becomes available from another app. To show you how it works, we’ll be walking through the steps to make a “Content Curation Database”.

Newmind puts out blog posts (like this one!) to provide content that our Delivery and Growth teams can use to deepen relationships with our clients and contacts. Shareable content can give context to conversations being carried on by both teams, but not everyone has time to keep an eye on the company blog. By doing this process once, you’re saving your team (and yourself) the time it takes to sift through pages and pages of old material on the blog.

65 pages of blog posts
65 pages…? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
 

Creating a Marketing Content Database with Google Sheets

The first few steps will connect your website—we’re using WordPress in our example, but you can do this using an RSS feed too—to Zapier, and on to Google Sheets.

Step 1: Prepping database architecture

If you’re familiar with WordPress, you’ll know that there are a lot of details attached to each piece of content beyond the title and text itself—fields like Category and Tag are built-in for ease of navigation within your site, but they’re also key to building a valuable database for your team.

Look through the back end of your WordPress blog and take a mental note of the fields that you want to show up in your database Sheet. You’ll be able to select as many as you like, but your team should only need a few specific ones to get value out of it. In this example, the most important pieces of information are:

  • Title
  • Category
  • Tags
  • Author
  • URLs

On the WordPress side, these distinguishing factors are what you’ll be looking for:

wordpress important fields

Step 2: Google Sheet Setup

Create the Google Sheet where your content details will wind up after something new is published. You’ll want to create a column for each item you’re pulling from the website (Title, Tags, Author, etc), but you can order them in whatever way you find valuable.

Here’s how ours is laid out.

Newmind Marketing Content Database

Step 3: Building the database with Zapier

From your dashboard in Zapier, you’ll want to click “Make A Zap” and follow the directions below:

Select a Trigger

  1. Choose “Make a Zap”.
  2. When asked to choose a trigger app, select WordPress (if you use another platform, select that).
  3. When asked to select a trigger, select “New Post”.
  4. You’ll be prompted to select your account (if you’ve already connected your website to Zapier), or log into wordpress and authorize Zapier to connect to that account, if necessary.
  5. When asked to set up your post, you’ll be able to set the Post Status and Post Type which will Zapier will pull from when adding new items to your database. Choose:
    • Post Status: Published
    • Post Type: Posts (though you can get creative by adding other forms of content later, if necessary)

     

    Select an Action

  6. Select Google Sheets
  7. Select “Create Spreadsheet Row
  8. You’ll be prompted to select a Google account, so choose the one which owns the Sheet serving as your database (and authorize Zapier to connect that account, if necessary).
  9. When asked to Set up Google Sheets Spreadsheet Row, you’ll be presented with a list that looks like this:

    Sheet Row Setup List Content Database

    At minimum, you need to fill the lines which correspond with the columns you’ve made in your Sheet:

    • Title
    • Category
    • Tags
    • URL

    You can get as creative as you like with your setup, choosing other details to be pulled into your database, but these basics are a strong start.

  10. Once you’re happy with the way Zapier will pull information for your Sheet, you can click “Continue”, where you’ll be prompted to test the Zap, and you have a chance to preview the way that information will appear in it’s final form.
  11. When you’re done fine tuning, you can click “Finish” and the Zap will be active and functioning!

 

So what’s the final result?

Now, every time you publish a new post, it’ll be sorted by category, author, and more. You’ll only need to set this up once, with the rest being done automatically, saving you time, and enabling your team to quickly serve up links to your valuable web content without searching for the right shareables.

Google Sheets and Zapier have tons of depth worth exploring, so I encourage you to take these basic ideas and find other ways to bring automation to your workflow!

As you use integration tools to get tedious tasks to run in the background, the value you can bring to work will skyrocket. We’d love to take a look at your team’s day-to-day and help you find ways streamline the little things. Give us a call.

Posted in Business, Innovation.
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About

Garrett Wenger is a storyteller and marketer at Newmind Group, and a native to Kalamazoo, MI. He received his BFA in English Literature from Western Michigan University, and has heritage in Southwest Michigan’s creative writing community. He published his first book of poetry in late 2013, and he has been featured in numerous literary journals. With an eye for human stories, he hopes to imbue an emotive sheen to the message Newmind Group is putting forth. He spends much of his spare time reading, writing, and rotating a growing list of tech toys.