Scaling Relationship Building for Local Visibility Using BuzzStream

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If you’re a national business whose digital marketing strategy depends on local SEO, you know how challenging it can be to build a presence in hundreds of different local markets. And with recent updates to Google’s location page guidelines, local SEO just got a little harder. Earning links in local markets can improve your local and mobile rankings over the competition, and if done right, it can improve brand awareness in those markets.

Budget Dumpster is a national dumpster rental company. We operate in over 250 markets across the United States – you can imagine how challenging it can be to earn local links in over 250 different cities. BuzzStream allows us to scale our local link building efforts across multiple cities, covering more ground in a shorter amount of time.

Here is how BuzzStream helps scale our local link earning efforts:

Finding Great Opportunities with BuzzStream

With BuzzStream’s link prospecting feature, we can automate the search for very targeted link partners in each of our local markets. At Budget Dumpster, we use link prospecting to find a variety of opportunities for relationship building in our local markets.

One of the most effective methods of link earning for us has been through story telling. We look for local non-profits and community leaders who are working to make urban areas better places to live. We work with these community leaders and groups to tell their stories and often donate dumpsters to help clean up the communities we serve. Not only do these stories help us earn links locally, but they are more likely to get shared in social media.

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Keeping Organized and Ending the Spreadsheet Nightmare

If you’re tracking your link outreach in spreadsheets, stop. BuzzStream offers a dynamic environment for organizing and databasing potential link partners and influencers. You may have link partners that can be used for multiple campaigns once you’ve built an initial relationship and BuzzStream makes it easy to find those opportunities. This is particularly useful if you have multiple team members working on outreach.

We organize our link efforts by campaign in BuzzStream. Within each campaign we can filter by city, so our team can view only the sites that are relevant to their efforts in a particular local market. This allows us to easily share outreach email templates and for team members to see what others are doing with a similar task so they can share and learn from each other. Using BuzzStream over spreadsheets improves not only performance for our team, but also efficiency.

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Better Outreach with BuzzStream

BuzzStream makes the process of doing outreach a breeze, giving you more time to invest in the research that can make or break your link earning campaigns. It also gives you the ability to schedule email sends, ensuring you are reaching people at the best possible times. This is particularly useful if you are doing outreach to different time zones.

We add outreach email templates to each campaign. Not only does this make the outreach process lightning fast, but the team can easily share and find templates to work from that were successful in the past. BuzzStream makes it easy to personalize outreach emails with the ability to insert dynamic fields such as city, website name and more. When you are working to scale link earning across multiple markets, this efficiency is essential to success.

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Automatically Tracks Metrics – So We Can Focus on the Important Stuff

At Budget Dumpster, we use BuzzStream to track a variety of metrics and activities related to our link earning efforts. Tracking certain metrics allows us to improve and refine our local outreach strategies over time, eliminating those that don’t work and expanding those that do. And as a manager, I can track the performance and efforts of my team members, easily identifying opportunities for coaching and training. Here are a few of the things we track that help us measure and track the success of our local link earning campaigns.

  • Response rates by email
  • Monthly links earned (total, by campaign, by city and by team member)
  • Number of link opportunities added (total, by campaign, by city and by team member)
  • Details around donations or giveaways

Other BuzzStream Use Cases for Link Earning

We’ve found a few creative uses for BuzzStream outside of our standard local content and PR campaigns.

Building Relationships with Customers

We recently implemented a system in which we pull data from our customer database to look for content partnership opportunities. We identify loyal businesses in our CRM who use our services and add any with a strong website and social presence to our database for future outreach.

Going After Competitor Backlinks

Considering we have different competitors in the SERPs in almost every city, BuzzStream makes it easier to look for targeted local link opportunities. You can explore the backlinks for any of your competitors in Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs or any other backlink tool and use the BuzzStream chrome extension to quickly add any prospects to the competitor links project.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we do local link earning at Budget Dumpster, shoot me a message on Twitter or LinkedIn!

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Stephanie Pflaum is the Content Marketing Manager for BudgetDumpster.com and Dumpsters.com where she sets content strategy and manages a kickass team of content and social specialists. Stephanie specializes in digital marketing strategies that include SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing and Online Reputation Management. She loves crocheting, cats and crocheting things for cats. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @StephPflaum.

 

 

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Best Practice Guide for Influencer Marketing Pitches

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Influencers spend most of their time in their inboxes sifting through lots and lots of emails. This takes time, and no matter who the influencer is, there is one guarantee: They’re always short of it.

When you email influencers prodding them to take a look at your latest campaign, you’re asking for their most precious commodity – time. And it isn’t something most are willing to give away easily, so your pitch approach means the difference between no response, a response, and the ultimate goal: a placement.

Here, we’ll walk you through a comprehensive guide – featuring 30 surefire tips – on the best practices for influencer marketing pitches.

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Inspire Your Next Campaign with These 6 PR Resources

One important quality top PR leaders share is a passion for learning, experimenting, and growing. Even though the field is timeless, it’s also one that evolves constantly thanks to new social media channels and communication mediums.

As a result, PR leaders have to wade through lots of noise.

Some reporters, for instance, are difficult to reach due to the hundreds of pitches that they’re receiving per day via e-mail and Help a Reporter Out (HARO). What PR leaders need are techniques to stand out and outsmart the accidental mess created by the industry.

This process involves learning and experimentation with new communication, content marketing, and information management tools—more importantly, it involves a paradigm shift in how the PR industry builds connections with the media world.

The time to explore and try new techniques has never been better. Here are 7 resources to help you make the most out of your next brain break.

1 – This TED Talk from Life Coach Tony Robbins

Watch time: 22 minutes

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5 Examples of Blogger Outreach Gone Wrong

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Editor’s Note: Today we welcome new guest contributor Kristi Hines to the BuzzStream blog. Kristi has spent thousands of hours on both sides of the blogger outreach table.  She’ll be sharing her insights and experience into influencer marketing as both a popular blogger and an experienced online marketer. 

As a blogger, I have been approached by many companies to do publicity or link building for their products or services. While I have seen many great campaigns, I have also seen a few that left me scratching my head. In this post, I’d like to share with you some examples of outreach tactics that seemed good, but nonetheless went wrong.

Note that in an attempt to protect the (somewhat) innocent, specific names will be left out. Also note that no payment was offered by any of these opportunities.

Subject Line: Images Partnership

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How to Execute a Winning Campaign Interview With a Publisher

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There are many goals for a content marketing campaign, including to maximize exposure, increase brand awareness, and initiate a conversation with your target audience. Whatever your end goal, an essential element for any successful campaign is a targeted promotions cycle – and the key ingredient in that strategy is earned media. However, a pitch doesn’t always mean an automatic placement: Publishers receive hundreds of pitches and press releases each week, and they only choose to cover a few of them.

The most successful pitches provide only a brief overview of your campaign, so in some cases, a reporter might have additional questions. This is when they’ll ask for an interview – and your answers can determine whether the story gets placed.

These questions can vary significantly: Sometimes a writer wants to learn more about your methodology; other times they want to dig into more sensitive topics. Regardless of the questions, you need to be prepared.

Here, we’ll walk you through a list of common questions, discuss how to answer them, and share the best ways to prepare for your interview:

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Sentiment by Subject

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If you want to maximize your outreach efforts, you should start list building while your content is still in production. A crucial step within the process is to determine which publishers are worth the exclusive versus which should be saved for syndication. When you have content that explores a controversial topic, this process should include one additional step that is often overlooked: Determine the tone of your campaign and explore how similar topics are presented in different publications.

BuzzStream and Fractl examined the sentiment around 10 contentious topics – climate change, evolution, health care, immigration, jobs, marijuana, minimum wage, net neutrality, privacy, and vaccination. Our analysis included 50 articles on each subject from more than 75 popular online publishers, and we determined sentiment using AlchemyAPI (i.e. This helped us determine the tone of article as either positive or negative. For example, a negative sentiment/coverage of a topic like minimum wage could be about protesters wanting an increase in it).

Here, we’ll walk you through four key takeaways to keep in mind during your next promotions cycle. This information will help you determine which publishers will lean more favorably toward your topic than others.

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How Strategy Digital Streamlines Their Outreach with BuzzStream

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Here at Strategy Digital, we’ve been working with bloggers for years. The old ways of ‘SEO guest posting’ died a very public death a while back now, but there are absolutely ways that you can still incorporate bloggers into a Google-friendly digital marketing strategy.

Over time, as the ways in which we work with bloggers evolved, the ways in which we needed to manage that outreach evolved too. It became less about large-scale link-building and more about developing genuine relationships with a select few bloggers that aligned with our clients’ brands.

Before BuzzStream: Drowning in Spreadsheets

Before we discovered BuzzStream, our outreach processes were mainly managed through Excel. There were lists of potential targets for a piece, lists of who we’d contacted, and who’d replied.

Which is mostly okay if you’re a one-man band, but we have a large, in-house editorial team consisting of researchers, writers, editors and outreach executives, and every one of them has their own way of doing things.

When it comes to spreadsheets, what makes logical sense to one person, takes another person on the team ten minutes to ‘decode’ and work out where the project is at.

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An example Excel sheet used to track blogger outreach. What does the green and grey colour coding mean? Who knows?

In BuzzStream on the other hand, everyone’s working with the same column headings and each column can only have one defined color-code, so everyone knows what a green or grey entry means. We did find it was easiest to have one person in charge of creating columns and color-codes for the whole team though!

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The Average Facebook User for 20 Publishers

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Knowing your audience is critical not only for successful content marketing campaigns but also for any form of communication – highly targeted messages are what compel people to share your content. You can also find out a lot about who is sharing your content via social platforms, which is what we did in our latest study.

Partnering with Fractl, BuzzStream analyzed 20 publishers’ active Facebook users via Facebook’s Audience Insights to uncover key characteristics and determine if there were any overlaps or unique differences. We charted demographics such as gender, age, education, and profession and compared them with the average Facebook user to see how these publishers’ audiences align.

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Facebook Audience Insights for NY Times

Here we’ll walk you through four key takeaways you’ll want to consider when pitching your next campaigns to top-tier publishers.

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Connect, Promote & Engage: How 2U Uses BuzzStream

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At 2U, we have reimagined the delivery of higher education. Our Platform, a fusion of cloud-based software-as-a-service technology and technology-enabled services, provides leading colleges and universities with the comprehensive operating infrastructure they need to attract, enroll, support and educate students globally.

We provide a range of services to our university partners, from traditional marketing to SEO strategy to content creation. In order to succeed in these areas, we must not only develop high-quality content, but also maintain strong relationships with vertical-specific communities. In some cases, we are supporting more than one program in a vertical (e.g., health care degrees), which is why our content strategies must go beyond topics about each degree program to tackle overarching themes relevant to the field.

BuzzStream allows our content and outreach teams to work independently and collaboratively to research topics, build relationships within relevant verticals, develop content and perform effective outreach. By being able to manage multiple lists, view the current relationship with people in a particular list, and listen in on various conversations via our project lists, we can better serve our partners in helping them reach a wider audience via creative content and innovative placements.

In 2011, when we combined our SEO and community management teams, we began using BuzzStream as a customer relationship management system to organize complex outreach initiatives and track projects. Today, using BuzzStream continues to help us maintain meaningful relationships as we scale.

Here are three examples of how we’ve used BuzzStream to engage with communities, connect with thought leaders and promote content in the mental health, data science and communications verticals.

Engaging With The Community

For our mental health programs, we leverage BuzzStream as a tool to support our community engagement and awareness efforts.

One of our social work partner programs, the MSW@USC, hosts an annual 100 Voices for Suicide Prevention campaign to break the silence around stigmatized issues such as depression and suicide.

100 Voices

In order to drive meaningful conversation, we first reached out to suicide survivors and clinical experts. The BuzzStream blogger search tool and the Buzzmarker allowed us to build a list of bloggers and organizations that add either personal testimonials or expertise on the subject.

Suicide Survivor

Once the list was built, we reached out using BuzzStream email and asked potential contributors to add their voices to the campaign.

Though our team has found that building outreach templates for larger campaigns is helpful, we often get the best results with tailored outreach emails. Depending on the complexity of the campaign, we may reach out to hundreds of community members, which can be burdensome with typical email systems. The BuzzStream relationship field helps us stay organized in tracking each outreach round, submission and link-back statuses within each project.

For the 2014 100 Voices for Suicide Prevention campaign, we used BuzzStream to garner 100 contributors, which made this a hugely successful project.

Buzz Filter

BuzzStream’s CRM system also makes it possible for us to build a network of meaningful and long-lasting relationships that can be shared across teams. Should another team decide to create a campaign around a mental health topic, he or she can easily use the History feed to track past campaigns rather than starting from scratch.

Connecting With Thought Leaders

Last fall, datascience@berkeley created the “What is Big Data?” project using BuzzStream relationships to produce the richest possible content.

For this piece, we reached out to thought leaders in the data science industry and asked them to define the term “big data” in their own words. To accomplish this, we needed to reach out to bloggers, journalists, professors and a range of industry experts.

BuzzStream proved to be the perfect outreach tool that enabled us to upload a tailored list of participants and get to work right away, with BuzzStream aggregating contact information. The “Match My CSV” custom feature meant that we could tailor the lists to our liking offline and then let BuzzStream do the additional work while pulling contacts into its system.

Link Partners

In addition, BuzzStream’s custom relationship statuses proved valuable, as our standard “Link Accepted” goal did not apply. For this project, we measured success by the number of thought leaders who contributed definitions. By simply creating a custom relationship status of “Goal Achieved,” we signaled to our entire team that progress was being made on this even when links were not being attained.

Thought Leaders

Undertaking a project with so many moving parts (including pre-outreach, definition collection, and follow-up to let participants know their posts were live) would have proven difficult without BuzzStream. By tracking the status of each individual participant’s definition automatically, BuzzStream allowed us to concentrate our energy on content.

In the end, this outreach strategy proved very successful, with 43 participants contributing definitions that were ultimately shared by sites as diverse as Forbes, io9, the CDC, the Brookings Institute and Information Week.

Promoting Inbound Content

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In addition to creating content for our partner programs, 2U also promotes content once it’s live on program sites. Recently, Communications@Syracuse launched an infographic called Mad Men: To Rise and Fall at Sterling Cooper in celebration of the long-running show’s series finale.

For this project, it was crucial to have lists pre-built and ready to launch on the morning after the finale, as the window of viewer engagement would be relatively short. Since BuzzStream allows for an unlimited number of lists per project, we were able to build highly targeted plans for local media, entertainment outlets, Mad Men fan sites and more. We also used the integrated MozRank feature in the link partner view to quickly sort each list by MozRank, creating a prioritized outreach list. Our New York-targeted outreach led to the graphic being picked up by Syracuse-focused sites like The Daily Orange and Syracuse.com.

Malleable and Scalable

For 2U, BuzzStream is more than just a list builder and link tracker, it’s a malleable and scalable tool we’ve used to create and maintain relationships as well as perform qualitative research for content development. BuzzStream helps us be a better business — one focused on strong, genuine relationships that can create valuable, high-quality content for our communities.

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Stephanie Echeveste is the brand manager at 2U, where she strategizes, writes and designs content that brings together higher education and education technology. Stephanie is an inbound marketing veteran who works to innovate content development and outreach. Learn more about 2U @2Uinc (we’re hiring!) and connect with Stephanie @Stephanieetxe.

 

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6 Creative Ways PR Leaders Measure ROI

Let’s cut to the chase.

The PR community is under immense pressure to translate efforts to ROI—a task that often feels daunting, nebulous, and sometimes impossible. While common sense tells us that media outreach and community relations are among the best growth-drivers for our businesses, our spreadsheets are a little less forgiving.

Enter this blog post.

The beauty of data is that ‘success stories’ are often in the eye of the beholder. Because there is no universal tool or formula to measure the success of our efforts, we’re in a strong position to establish our own benchmarks.

We asked 6 PR leaders to share their best tips for measuring and communicating the ROI of their media relations, community-building, and SEO efforts. Here’s what they shared.

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