EMPOWERING ORDINARY MARKETERS
TO BUILD EXTRAORDINARY LINKS.

Quick & Effective Outreach with Buzzstream

by Jon Cooper
54 Flares 54 Flares ×

We have enough SEO analysis & prospecting tools, but we’re usually stuck with 3 main manual tasks:

  • Qualifying prospects
  • Collecting contact information
  • Outreach

I understand that the first two need to be done manually for the most part, but those of us who aren’t blessed with a custom agency solution for outreach could use a tool to speed up the process.

I don’t think Buzzstream is 100% completely there yet, but I really like what they’ve done with their outreach features. I’ll walk you through one way I use it.

Note: there are affiliate links in the post, but I wouldn’t be writing about Buzzstream unless I thought it was well worth your attention. 

1. Start with a list of prospects & contacts

Before you can use the tool, you need a list of prospects & contacts in Excel like you see below. 

Sort the list by those you have emails for, copy & paste the two columns into a new spreadsheet, and save it as a CSV. I highly suggest you find first names as well, but it’s not completely necessary (just makes outreach more personal).

 

2. Import the CSV

Next, go into Buzzstream and import the CSV you just created in your intended project’s “People” tab. Choose the “Match My CSV” option:

Then match up the different columns in your spreadsheet with the Buzzstream value (love this feature!!).

 

3. Select & Create Template

Now that you’ve got the contacts in Buzzstream, select the checkbox next to each (can select all or filter down, then select all), then select “Create a template” (if you don’t already have one). 

Here’s what the “Create a template” page looks like.

I usually create my template in Word first, then transfer it over and use the correct Merge Fields, but it really doesn’t matter. If you included the first name of each contact, then use an opening line like “Hi [First Name]!”

Here are a couple outreach templates that I like to use.

Broken Link Building

Hi [First Name],

I was surfing your website when I encountered a few broken links. I didn’t know whom I should get in touch with so they could fix this, so could you point me in the right direction?

Thanks!

-Jon Cooper 

For this template, I like to act like a casual visitor, and my number one goal is just to get a response. Since this is harmless enough, I usually do get one. Once they respond, they’re much more likelier to not leave me hanging after I send them another email. They’ve already invested in the conversation and shown that they’re reading the emails.

Club Sponsorships

Hi [First Name]!

My name’s Jon Cooper, I’m the VP of Marketing at *CLIENT*.

I just wanted to say that everyone here is a big supporter of your club! We especially loved what you guys did with *RECENT EVENT / SOMETHING PERSONAL*. We’d love to become a sponsor of your club, but since our budget for nearly everything at the moment is so small, we can only afford sending $50 your way. I know it’s not much, but I was thinking every bit could help a school club like yours.

Let me know what you guys think, and hope everyone is having a great start to the spring semester!

Cheers,

Jon Cooper

VP of Marketing

*CLIENT*

In this template, I used a regular email footer to show we’re a legitimate business, as well as saying something personal to show we actually do keep up with them in some way.

Note: you can also use other custom fields to your advantage. If you’ve got multiple people working on the same project, you can use the fields “[User First Name]” and “[User Last Name]”. I’m still trying to figure out how to import a CSV with the field “Primary Website” so I can use that field in the templates. 

4. Conduct super fast outreach

Once you’ve got it setup like that, you’re ready for some lightning fast outreach. Before I get into it though, I wanted to show you one more cool feature. Once you’ve used a template at least a few times, the next time you select all prospects and click Outreach > Select A Template, you’ll see you have response rate %s next to each!

 

(As you can see in this example, I need to step up my game with those clubs…)

Alright, now that you’ve created or selected a template, you’ll get this screen.

(Had to delete any sign of my client, and used a slightly different template than the example because we could give our product in exchange for a sponsorship instead of just money.)

If your merge fields are correct, then first name will fill in without you doing a thing. If you want to say something personal, you can write it in before you send it off, but if you don’t, just look things over and you’re good to go.

Note: I highly suggest you take advantage of the Send Later function; just choose one of the specified times and you’re golden (week day mornings FTW). You can also undo this by going into that prospects profile page.

Now, for my favorite part: Once you click send (or send later), it automagically takes you to the next prospect with the filled in template and everything! Sounds like nothing but saving me a few clicks, but if you do a ton of outreach, it’s a HUGE time saver.

Also, if your entire list isn’t only emails, you can select all, then click the “Remove” button next to Send Later and skip it. Really convenient if you know a few of them you either only have the Contact URL for or if it needs more of a personal touch.

Another thing I like to do is add a column marked (I think?) Notes, which then shows up in the history panel on the left. The note I leave is the type of template I might want to choose, because, in this case, I was doing outreach to both marketing and art clubs. I can then switch template on the right to the Art Club one, and vice versa.

More on Buzzstream

For those who don’t know, Buzzstream is a link building CRM that keeps track of relationships, so now that I use it for all of my outreach, it’s extremely to keep track of those contacts and their history.

Before, it was a little bit of a pain to get Buzzstream running properly because I used Gmail for my outreach, but now that BZ’s outreach features are superior, it’s really easy to sync up and take advantage of the CRM features as well.

Future Outreach Updates in Buzzstream

I’ve luckily had the chance to chat with Paul May, the founder of Buzzstream, over email, and after asking him a few questions of features I’d like to see, he told me about some things they were working on.

Follow ups. Every link builder needs to be disciplined in properly following up, so this was naturally one of the things I needed that was currently lacking in BZ. Luckily, though, Paul said that not only was it one of their top priorities, but he also introduced me to a new way of doing it.

Instead of individual emails or notifications of follow ups you needed, you could get a daily email (or something similar) that shows you all of the follow ups you need to make (organized my project). I also suggested having follow ups done in the click of a button with preformatted templates like in the way initial outreach was done, so that might be a future update as well!

Bonus: he sent me this video on how to hack together followups until their new addition is ready. There’s also a few other cool features he included in the video.

He also passed along this tip with the video:

The RSS feed is included in the outreach module. This can be helpful for personalizing and for determining if it’s a live blog (last publish date).

More built-in metrics. The response rate feature is awesome, but why not do it for open rates or others as well? They’re currently trying to get around an issue with deliverability, but once that’s out of the way, they should have that feature as well.

Possible Rapportive-like features. I used to use Rapportive a lot in Gmail to get personal (shows me prospect’s recent tweets & other profiles), and it’s definitely hurt losing this feature. But again, Paul is working on a solution like this, it’s just about finding space in the Outreach screen.

Other features? See something that might be missing in the outreach tools? Let me (and the BZ team!) know in the comments below. If I like it, I’ll really push it on them to make it happen :)

So, what next?

If you haven’t tried Buzzstream out for at least a free trial, I suggest you do. They’ve made so much ground in the past 12 months in terms of product features that I’m confident the majority of all non-agency SEOs (and even a good amount of agency SEOs) will be using it as their outreach & relationship management platform in the near future, but even now, it’s superior to other solutions in my opinion.

Make sure you follow me on Twitter and checkout my link building course; it’s packed full of tips & tricks like this.

Note: the above link is an affiliate link. I only wrote about Buzzstream because I think it’s genuinely helpful to link builders. If you do choose to use the link, thank you so much for supporting me & my blog!

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 121 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

NEED LINKS?
Relax - I send out free emails full of
cutting edge link building tips.
26 Comments
  1. Buzzstream seems like a really awesome tool.

    I’d love to try them out. But the fact that it’s just an outreach tool (possible it’s biggest strength and USP) rather than a complete link building solution is stopping me.

    I have SEOmoz PRO. I use Google docs for link outreach. For finding broken link contacts, I have subscribed to brokenlinkbuilding.com. What if I stop using Buzzstream? Can I export my data and start using on Google docs again?

    • Jon Cooper says:

      SEOmoz and Buzzstream are two tools for completely different things. SEOmoz is more so for campaign analysis, management, and tracking, and Buzzstream is for outreach and relationship management. Unfortunately there’s no one tool that will give you everything you need (even outside of these 2 I use a bunch of others).

      Thanks Adarsh for dropping by!

      • Shouldn’t SEOmoz & Buzzstream just get married in the near future? SEOmoz has been acquiring many companies recently, but one of the few things still missing is a decent link building management tool. Voila… SEO match made in heaven :-)

  2. Hi Jon,

    Great timing… I have just been mailing and conferencing with Tim Bramer from Buzzstream the last couple of days :-) The end result is that I’m now using it for own projects and am recommending it to clients.

    I agree that there is still some room for improvement, but the customer service is perfect and new releases are being rolled out constantly.

    The learning curve is a bit more steep than with outreach tools in allround SEO suites like Raven, but it’s worth digging in to.

    Regards, Joost

    PS Kudos on all your content, it’s much appreciated!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Agreed, I’m more so excited for the future and where they’re going based off what they’ve improved recently. And yeah, learning curve is evident, probably the reason stopping most (and me at first).

      Cheers Joost! :)

      • Russell Lundstrom says:

        Jon,

        Joost raises a question for me either of you might comment on.

        I am looking for a solution to this as well and was considering Raven, but like Buzzstream’s CRM functionality.

        Does Buzzstream also have decent link prospecting tracking tools like Raven?

        I would imagine you use it in conjunction with Raven and not in place of…

        Thanks, great stuff as usual.

  3. Tom says:

    Cheers Jon, thanks alerting us to this free Buzzstream trial.

  4. Joel Widmer says:

    This is awesome! Buzzstream has come a LONGGG way since I checked them out last. This saves so many steps piecing together Gmail, Rapportive, Yesware and multiple Excel docs etc. Thanks for the detailed walkthrough!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Agreed. About a year ago I feel like you couldn’t do ANY outreach from Buzzstream (without maybe jumping through a few hoops), which is why I was excited when I found out you now could with all these other features.

  5. Zeph Snapp says:

    Hi Jon,

    Enjoyed the post. We started using Buzzstream recently, and it has certainly helped with our outreach efforts. Enjoyed the templates the most, and would be very interested to learn more about how you qualify target sites. Qualification is probably the most time consuming process (at least for us). Cheers!

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks Zeph! Yeah, qualifying sucks. I’m not efficient at all in this area, which needs to change ASAP. If I come up with a process, you guys will be the first to know.

  6. Victor Pan says:

    I have only good things to say about BuzzStream. If you’re able to adjust to adapt to using it, it’s certainly a very great tool. I’m sorry, great is an understatement. It’s spectacular with unicorns flying across your browser.

    That said, I feel like it’s not built for a one man team. It’s a system. If you’ve already got a familiar system in gDocs, the transition will slow you down – you can’t just force whatever messy outreach system you’ve created onto it and expect it to work 10X faster. However, if you’ve got an actual team, it’s much, much more effective. Who covered what, the details – it’s all there without keeping multiple mental notes.

    My two cents :)

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Completely agreed. Only used 20-25% of its features for things like above (quick outreach), but I’m starting to do all my management in there, not because it’s faster, but because I’m currently building out a team, and they’ll be much easier to manage in there.

      Thanks Victor for leaving your 2 cents!!

  7. Shawn Cohen says:

    Another cool feature (hopefully I didn’t miss it if you mentioned it) is the “Buzzmarker” bookmark bar widget. When you’re prospecting, you can add sites to Buzzstream on the fly by just clicking the buzzmarker button in your bookmarks bar. Saves a ton of time if you don’t need to bulk upload but just have one-offs to do.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Definitely, it’s so helpful times, especially if I’m looking for contact info on the fly. Would’ve mentioned if I wasn’t talking solely about outreach here though, because as I said, it’s awesome.

      Thanks Shawn for commenting :D

  8. I’ve heard some buzz about buzzstream, but now I know what it’s actually all about! Looks to be a really nice tool. I’m especially impressed with the built in response rate % so that you can a/b or multivariate test different outreach templates.

    I’m not yet at the scale where I need an outreach CRM system; but hopefully it won’t be long!

  9. David Adams says:

    John,

    Another great post!

    I’ve never actually used Buzzstream, so I’ll give it a whirl. Excel spreadsheets can only last so long before they become both confusing and counter-productive..

    $29 seems a bargain too, it’s always good to get an honest opinion!

    Thanks,

    David

  10. buzzstream dose have cool features but for what you are describing mail merge does the trick including that there is no problem using primary domain you mentioned

  11. Gareth says:

    Buzzstream is good but gets expensive if you are a freelancer with a 30k+ DB, currently looking for a cheaper alternative.

  12. Jon

    Our website has been a thorn in our side for years. Too busy to keep it updated and ahead of SEO and effective blogging. We are doing some research on correcting that at the moment and your website is a great resource!

    Thanks
    Marie-Therese

  13. I would love a “pending payment” option when adding a new link, as currently it assumes you’re paying for the purchase immediately – which doesn’t work out too well for agencies. Plus, an option to upload articles to keep track of our guest post articles would be so welcome.

    Thanks for the post Jon. We just started using Buzzstream last week and so far I’ve been loving it.

  14. Ryan says:

    Hey Jon. Always a big fan. Completely off-topic, and maybe it’s just my computer, but your social toolbar that appears while reading the post, happens to be just left of center of the middle of the page – kind of a pain as it covers text as you scroll down. Can send you a screen shot if needed! Thanks!

54 Flares Twitter 35 Facebook 10 Google+ 8 LinkedIn 1 54 Flares ×