Archive for the ‘Case Studies’ Category

Content Promotion Case Study: liGo

Today’s post is a case study on content promotion from our friends at Hit Reach

Building content assets that attract links can be an expensive business when you factor in all the costs from research to design, development and, finally, outreach.

Fortunately, we live in a world where there’s tons of great information already out there, and we don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every campaign. Curating useful content into a practical resource, putting everything people need into one place, is a great way to build cost effective content assets.

 

Case Study: liGo Electronics

For a recent liGo Electronics content asset, we decided to “chunk-up” to give the asset a broad reach and wide appeal whilst remaining relevant to the product ranges being sold.

The customer demographic of liGo is generally older adults aged 45-70 who are quite tech-savvy, so we decided to build a a guide which would provide details on how to save your smartphone battery across a range of makes and models. The guide provides support for almost 150 different handsets.

content-asset

Content Promotion Strategy

I have written several times about the way in which I leverage Paid, Owned and Earned media promote content to give my content the best chances of earning links and if you are new to promoting your content then there are some great articles here on the Buzzsteam blog such as the Advanced guide to content Promotion.

Owned Media

The client promoted the content via their owned media assets including their blog, email lists and social profiles. We also ensured that the content asset had the Twitter cards validated and the Facebook OGP metadata was implemented.

Paid Media

When we carry out a content promotion campaign we often utilise different paid channels to help us increase the reach of our content and give us the best chance of reaching our target audience as well as getting our content in front of power users and bloggers. For this campaign the best results came from Twitter and StumbleUpon.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

When I carry out StumbleUpon campaigns I like to build up custom audiences based on our outreach personas. Not surprisingly the content was well received by people in our target customer demographic (UK users aged 45+) and also with people aged 25-35 who like mobile phones, life hacks and gadgets. If you are new to StumbleUpon marketing then this guide is invaluable.

Laser Targeted Twitter Ads

For this campaign in order to keep the costs of promoting the content down we targeted a number of journalists and bloggers using the Twitter custom audience’s tool. If you haven’t used it yet there is a great tutorial by Patrick Hathaway.

We also created a second Twitter custom audience with a custom Topsy scraper which allowed us to find influential Twitter users who had shared similar content and target Twitter advertisements at them.

Earned Media

At Hit Reach we are huge fans of Buzzstream as it makes managing our outreach campaigns super easy by letting us tag and segment our link prospects as well as assign different team members to different sections of the project.

For this campaign we started out with over 300 link prospects who we wanted to get our content in front of. As we specialise in helping clients in the technology sector, we had a number of existing relationships which made getting this piece in front of them a little easier.

However, there were a few prospects especially in the mobile technology space who we had never spoken to before, so for this particular high level prospect I used the Information Gap technique. By asking for permission to send across a link you know that they will be more likely to actually click the link and see your content.

Here is the “cold outreach” template I used for this campaign:

Hi [First Name],

[Personalised section….]

I just wanted to let you know I have built an online tool which has over 100 different phones and you can select your phone to see which settings to change to improve battery life for that particular device.

Would it be ok to send across a link?

The Results

The asset was well received and was featured on the homepage of the Daily Mail online, the homepage of Digg, and was covered by Inc., Lifehacker and many more technology sites.

BBC Radio 2 picked up on the piece and invited liGo to chat live on air during their Drivetime show. Radio 2 currently has the highest number of total listeners in the UK at over 15.5 million, as well as being mentioned on BBC Radio 5 and London’s LBC radio station.

content-analytics

Future opportunities

As a big of fan of utilising content for link earning I am often frustrated by content assets that are short lived and act solely for a one-off event. If these assets fail to attract any attention, they fail hardest of all as once the event has passed it can be hard to repurpose or reuse the asset.

New Phone Releases

As we have committed to keeping this tool up to date it will be a piece of evergreen content that can be pushed out again and again as new phones or mobile operating systems come on to the market. This means that the client has a valuable content asset on their site which will continue to earn them links for many years to come.

We have made it so that people can link directly to a handset of their choice which will mean that people will be able to point other people to the information they are looking for whether that’s a blog post, forum post, email or social media.

International Outreach

As liGo carries out a significant amount of business in Europe we have had the content asset translated into German and Spanish (thanks to Altura Interactive) so that we can utilise the content for outreach on their other properties.

Content Upgrades

As the asset can be embedded, there will be opportunities for contacting people who have written about smartphone battery tips which we can offer to help them improve upon their content.

We’re now working on the next campaign for liGo which will hopefully eclipse this one by a long way.

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Research: How To Write Subject Lines that Drive Open Rates

In a survey of 500 top-tier publishers, Fractl discovered that 81% of editors prefer email pitches over other channels like social media, contact forms, and phone calls. We also found that 85% of editors open pitches based on your subject line. With subject lines being the ultimate gatekeeper for your open rates, Fractl and BuzzStream decided to collaborate on a new publisher survey to discover how they would improve your subject lines.

Publisher Research

1. Lifestyle, Entertainment and Technology writers take the brunt of your pitches 

In our study, we found Lifestyle, Entertainment and Technology writers account for 60% of the verticals getting pitched over 300x/day. Knowing that these verticals suffer the most news release fatigue, you should trim down your pitches to the preferred 100-200 word count. In comparison, there is significantly less competition in verticals such as Jobs, Animals, and Climate, each of which receive an average of 10 pitches/day. (more…)

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Case Study: Building Links in the Travel Industry

Today’s post comes from Shawn Cohen of Standing Dog Interactive, a full service digital agency in Dallas, Texas.  

The travel and hospitality industry is inspiring to work in: you know you’re helping travelers reach their destination and once they get there, you are there to ensure that they will have the best time of their lives.

airplane-2

Case Study: Building Links in the Travel Industry

However, it’s a crowded digital space with a lot of limitations. Depending on the brand, content, budget, and time can all be tight restrictions on SEO link building campaigns. That means we have to think creatively about where to find reputable sites that will link to individual properties that have tiny SEO budgets, run of the mill content, and just a few hours of linking time per year.

Yes, that’s right—a few hours of linking time per year.

With these limitations in mind, we’re pulling back the curtain on how we’ve built thousands of reputable links for hundreds of hotel properties since the founders of our hospitality-oriented agency opened up shop nine years ago.

Case Study: Vacations by Marriott

First, though, we’d like to bring your attention to a case study of a more sophisticated travel and hospitality link building campaign we did for Vacations by Marriott, the official travel package program of Marriott International. (more…)

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Using BuzzStream to Avoid Disavowed or Blacklisted Domains

Today’s post on keeping track of disavowed and blacklisted domains comes from BuzzStream customer and friend, Martin Woods of salt.agency

It’s blindingly obvious that you shouldn’t make the same mistakes twice, especially when it comes to a Google penalty. According to Matt Cutts, the consequences for the second breach of their terms & conditions are even more severe than the first.

Google

But how do you keep a track of all the websites and contacts which you don’t want to work with? It’s especially hard when you are a large outreach team working on multiple campaigns at the same time, as it’s vital to keep everyone working holistically. (more…)

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Targeting Mid-Level Influencers with FollowerWonk and BuzzStream

As marketers, we often talk about building relationships with influencers. Sometimes, though, it makes more sense to connect with the people in the middle. They’re usually pretty persuasive to their small followings, but they just haven’t hit “major influencer” status yet. Here’s a walkthrough of how you can use FollowerWonk and BuzzStream to find and reach them, using a real-life example, a campaign from our recent ebook launch.

 

Targeting-InfluencersTargeting emerging influencers and niche experts can lead to campaign success.

When we launched the Advanced Guide to Content Promotion last month, I created a tiered outreach strategy to promote it, heavily focusing on “emerging influencers” and “niche experts.” Together with some paid amplification efforts, that strategy helped us earn thousands of views and hundreds of shares. I relied heavily on FollowerWonk and BuzzStream to do it.

Prep Work: Strategy, Personas, and Goals

Just like we recommend in the book, I began by identifying and prioritizing target audiences. Getting in front of (and helping) “Forward-Thinking Link Builders” was my primary goal.

Creating the top tier prospect list was easy. I know our industry pretty well and could easily list twenty heavy-hitting SEO super influencers (and, lucky for me, BuzzStream already had a relationship with most of them).

But the bulk of my list needed to be what I call “emerging influencers” and “niche experts.” These aren’t the superstar CEOs, but the people who are a few years into their career. They’re beginning to develop specialities and personal brands. Some of them might be managers, others not, but they’re all still pretty close to the daily work of content promotion, link building, strategy, and outreach.

I cared most about these guys, because they’d be the ones who would find the most value in our guide. (It was written with them in mind.) They’re also the ones who can be very persuasive inside organizations and on teams. I did hope they’d read and Tweet the guide, but, really, I wanted them to read it, learn from it, and share it with their coworkers and bosses.

 

Using FollowerWonk to Find Influencers

Using tactics similar to what Richard Baxter shared in his 2013 MozCon presentation (this is sort of like what he did, but reverse) and lessons my teammate Matt Gratt learned with targeted Twitter advertising, I decided to use FollowerWonk to build our list of emerging influencers and niche experts.

 

Influencers-Followers

We started with influencers and used FollowerWonk to find their audiences.

 

First, I brainstormed groups of two highly specialized experts for various disciplines (e.g., Paddy Moogan and Jon Cooper for link building; Adria Saracino and Kelsey Libert for content and outreach). I was familiar enough with the industry to do this without the help of any tools, but had it been a new industry, I would have turned to BuzzSumo.

I loaded each duo and the @BuzzStream twitter handle into FollowerWonk to get a list of people following the three accounts.

It was important to me that I only selected people who were already following @BuzzStream, because it meant I could be confident they were at least somewhat aware of us and had, in a sense, opted in to hearing what we have to say.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 7.40.19 PM

We focused on the people who followed all three accounts.

I always chose to pull the triple-overlap group. (If you follow Paddy Moogan AND Jon Cooper AND BuzzStream, you’re probably quite interested in link building.) And, in some cases, I pulled groups that followed only one of the influencers and BuzzStream.

I created a bunch of Excel reports in FollowerWonk and downloaded them all.

 

Cleaning the Data: Filtering the List

I combined all of the documents and then removed duplicates (there were a lot.) Next, I sorted by follower count. A lot of the superstar CEO influencers floated to the top of the list, and I deleted them out, since they’d already been accounted for elsewhere. I also deleted anyone who had less than 150 followers.

Using Excel’s filters, I got rid of inactive accounts by excluding people whose most recent tweet was earlier than Jan 2014 and people who had tweeted less than 100 times. To address spam accounts, I only included people who had a follower number greater than the number of people they were following.

Basically, I whittled down my list until it had about 100 people, which was a reasonable amount of outreach for the time I had allotted.

 

BuzzStream for Outreach and Followups

I saved my doc as a .csv and uploaded it to BuzzStream (Note: I was working in the People section of BuzzStream, not the Website section.) BuzzStream automatically matched FollowerWonk fields to contact records.

I tested a few different outreach templates and personalized them pretty heavily. Since I’m an active member of the community I was reaching out to, it was easy for me to bring up personal connections. I could mention conferences we’d both attended, stuff they’ve written that I liked, friends we had in common, etc.

 

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Sending outreach in BuzzStream.

 

The template that performed the best was personalized, fairly short, and featured a friendly request for a share.

 

Our Results

Response to the guide was very positive. Lots of people shared on Twitter and a bunch let me know that they’d also shared with their teams internally. We got a lot of views, and — with the exception of a small list of things we’d do differently next time — we deemed the project a success.

The outreach has proven successful in other ways, too. So far, it’s led to people pinging us when they have content of their own that our audience might like, a delicious coffee meeting that involved insightful conversation about the industry and our work, and a bunch of shoutouts in presentations and blog posts.

 

Conclusion

Getting linked to or written about on huge sites is great, but sometimes smaller niche blogs make more sense for your business. Going after the mid-level influencers and niche experts can drive the right views from the right people (and great links, too).

How do you create prospect lists? Where do you go to find influencers? Leave a comment below or talk to us on Twitter.

 

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How to Use Buzzstream to Clean Up Your Link Profile

Today’s guest post comes from one of our favorite customers, Wayne Barker, SEO Manager at Boom Online Marketing. You can connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.

With the recent updates Google, it is more important than ever to know who is linking to you and how they are linking to you. Link pruning has been on a lot of smart SEOs agendas for years – or at least being incredibly familiar with your backlink profile.

However, following the surge of Webmaster Tools ‘Love Notes’ and the Penguin update, link removal has become necessary for many sites.

I have recently been working with a client that has a domain that they can’t just ditch like Matt Cutts suggested a while back – the simple fact being that it cost a shed load of money. So what do you do in that situation?

Whether you have had an unnatural links warning or you have been hit by Penguin you need to start looking at cleaning up your link profile.  

Link profile cleanup has some interesting requirements:

  • you need to get rid of as much garbage as you can
  • you need a way to organise this, as you potentially looking at thousands upon thousands of links (if not more!)
  • you need to document what you have done (for an unnatural warning you need solid documentation for Google, for Penguin you need it for your own records and potentially for Google further down the line)

Although there are plenty of tools that seem more than capable of helping you out with this this problem for your site or a client site, I chose to use Buzzstream because of my familiarity with the tool and I am already a paying user.

Here is run through of how you can use Buzzstream for link removal rather than link building or blogger outreach.

Gather your data

You aren’t going to get very far without some solid data. If you are looking at link removal, then the odds are good that you are in trouble with Mr Google himself. Head over to Webmaster Tools and download all the link data that Google is going to give you. The odds are that the issues that you have with your link profile are lurking in the somewhere!

(more…)

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Case Study: How eLocal.com Builds Partnerships with BuzzStream

 eLocal.com eLocal USA LLC - The easiest and most convenient way to find local businesses online. Search our top national directories and city guide.Sam Bookler is the Director of Online Marketing at eLocal USA, an Internet advertising company that connects consumers with local businesses.  eLocal owns and operates some of the nation’s top online directories as well as OnlineCityGuide.com (“OLCG”), one of the oldest online city guides.  eLocal’s directories help consumers find businesses in their local neighborhood (from roofers to plumbers and lawyers to dentists).  

Our Workflow

We have a team of business development specialists who manage a lot of different professional contacts. When we started, we were using Excel
spreadsheets. However, as time went on and we started dealing with more and more partners, it became difficult to cross check and update our database. We found a few of our specialists attempting to work with the same prospective partner!  It was becoming unmanageable, so we needed to find a system that would allow for easy input and cross referencing.

We focus on developing quality partnerships, where we can develop long-term relationships.  To do this, our Business Development Specialists perform extensive research to find online organizations that are a good fit. We use BuzzStream’s Link Buzzmarker to tag all our contacts and get them into the database.  BuzzStream then cross references all the contacts among our business development team to make sure no two people are working with the same organization at the same time.  We manage all of our communications in BuzzStream, which allows us to effectively manage both present and prospective partners.  We’ve found that adding Buzzstream to our process has substantially cut down on time we used to spend updating excel sheets and cross-referencing contacts internally.

Why we Chose BuzzStream

We follow a lot of leading SEO, social media, and business development blogs and websites. BuzzStream kept popping up across these sources, so we reached out during the site’s launch and became members of its private Beta release. We conceptually liked the service BuzzStream was offering, and we particularly liked how its team was very responsive and professional.  However, at the time we didn’t have a large team of business development specialists, so we didn’t become full-fledged members. As eLocal’s business development team grew, it became more cumbersome to manually manage all our partner contacts. At this point, we knew BuzzStream was the right fit for our needs.

Our Favorite BuzzStream Features

Our experience with BuzzStream has been great. Not only is the system top notch, but the BuzzStream team has also always valued our input and works to regularly add new features and functionality.  We love how Buzzstream is a very easy, reliable system to use for managing the contact information and relationship stage of potential web partners. It cross checks all members of our business development team to make sure no one is working on the same partner, which is really important.  Also, in the cases where we receive links from partners and would like to track them, BuzzStream notifies us when there are changes, removing the need for any manual reviews. This makes our workflow more efficient.

Lastly, we’re impressed with how reliable the BuzzStream staff is. If you have a problem, they respond promptly and do everything in their power to fix it. You can’t say that about every business, and it is something we’ve grown to love about BuzzStream.

What We’d Like Added to BuzzStream

We always love more data and so we’d like to see additional SEOmoz metrics, such as page authority, added to each link’s details. Being able to get the data on all live links on a domain would be helpful, rather than needing to visit each specific page a live link is on. Lastly, as far as data, we’d like to be able to export all the “Notes” we keep on our contacts. We back up our information frequently, but notice it doesn’t export all the notes if you have more than one. This is an important feature for us, so being able to save that would be very valuable to us.

From an organizational standpoint, we’d also like to have the ability to flag a date directly in the column interface, which could then be sorted by date. This would provide us with a great way to monitor upcoming meetings directly from the dashboard view.

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Case Study: How Content Customs Conducts Large-Scale Link Building With BuzzStream

Corry Cummings, owner and founder of Content CustomsCorry Cummings is the owner and founder of Content Customs, an Internet marketing company specializing in content writing services.

About Content Customs

We conduct large scale link building for over a dozen different companies…What’s made us successful and what we think makes us stand out is that whenever we reach out to someone, we personalize it to the specific needs of each website owner, blogger, etc. Our approach with everything that we do is all about quality. We leverage our content creation skills and resources to build links.

As part of our link building efforts, we reach out to tens of thousands of websites to try to get placement in the areas we’re targeting.  Managing our activities was actually really simple when we were only contacting a few hundred sites, but when you scale this up, things can get out of hand.   It’s also very difficult to stay organized and maintain the quality that our clients and partners demand.  BuzzStream allows us to keep things organized, and to hit the scale we need. We have over 30 individuals who collaborate on link building projects at all times. This would never be possible to do efficiently without a tool like BuzzStream.

Our Workflow

For us, it’s really all about building relationships with other blogs and website owners. We have the resources to create high quality web content for a very reasonable price. That is valuable to many website owners. We want to reach out to them and see what we can do to get our content out there, which will in turn get more inbound links pointing to our sites (and our clients). We primarily use BuzzStream as our database for link opportunities and a workflow system for managing our outreach efforts.

We spend a lot of time researching sites that could potentially be link partners in the future. Our research team spends all day every day adding sites to BuzzStream. When they add a site to the database, they use Tags to categorize them.  We hold a high standard for sites that we are willing to work with. That enables us to basically just look for sites that hold those standards. Since we do such a high volume of link building, we are able to add any site (no matter what the topic) to BuzzStream because we know as long as it is a high quality site, we will have a place to contact and reach out for various opportunities.

When we’re working on a specific project, we use Filters to find the right opportunities for the client and then we move our contacts from our main database to a specific project. As we conduct outreach, we take advantage of BuzzStream’s relationship stages to manage workflow and we take a lot of notes with the note feature.

Why We Chose BuzzStream

It’s actually pretty simple for us…We’ve used a lot of different tools, and there really isn’t anything out there that compares.  BuzzStream is way ahead of the game when it comes to link management tools.  Even if there were comparable products, I doubt we would find another company that would work with us as closely as the Buzzstream team does. We have the need to scale very quickly, and BuzzStream has been flawless when it comes to working with us on that. When we have feedback and concerns about future developments of the product, our voice is heard and the feedback is actually put into work on new features.

Our Favorite BuzzStream Features

The ability to organize and track all of our contacts is absolutely huge for us. We don’t use all the bells and whistles that are offered.  The basics are key. Tracking our progress, and keeping notes on each of our contacts really is a huge time saver. BuzzStream also does a great job of pulling in the site metrics, which saves a lot of time. We have to know who we have already contacted, and who has been added to each project. We want to make sure that one of our team members is not contacting the same site that was just contacted yesterday for another project. That can get messy, and would happen consistently if we didn’t have Buzzstream.

What We’d Like Added to BuzzStream

The only way to check for live links right now is on a specific page.  If there were a way to check an entire site for our links, that would be extremely beneficial for us (and I am guessing most other BuzzStream users).  We’d want BuzzStream to  automatically find all of the live links that we have and add them to the contacts/potential link opportunities that we have added to BuzzStream. The ability to have custom statuses would also be nice. In other words, a way to change and add more relationship stages.

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