Hi all! This is going to be a long post, but we had a big release last week and there’s a lot to cover. We’ve added features that touch just about every part of the product and, on top of that, we finished a major infrastructure upgrade to improve performance. Here’s what’s new:
Support for projects has been a long time in the making and of all the things we added last week, this is the big one (with all due respect to Fred Sanford). So what is a project? A project provides a workspace where a designated group can work on a set of contacts, article, links, monitors, etc. An agency might designate a project for each of its clients. An in-house marketing group might set up a project for each product that they’re working on or for each agency that they’re working with. Access to a project is limited to the people who are assigned to it (unless you’re an admin). Here are some of the things that you can do when you’ve enabled projects that we’re excited about:
- Share contacts between projects. You can have a single contact assigned to multiple projects, with different information in each of them. For example, you might have a Person contact named “Walt Mossberg” and a Link Partner contact named “dmoz” that’s assigned to two different projects – one called “Apple iPhone” and the other called “Google Wave.” The contact info and metrics will be carried with these two contacts in all projects, but all of the other information could be different. They can be assigned to different people and you can have different values for Relationship Stage and Rating. Walt Mossberg in Apple might have a set of articles attached that are about mobile wireless services, while the version in Google Wave might have e-mail and collaboration articles in it. Similarly, the dmoz Link Partner might have different links for each project and the backlink checker might find links in one of the projects but not in the other.
- Copy contacts to new projects. For agencies, when they add a new client, they can easily filter their contacts to find the right influencers and link opportunities for them. Copying these contacts to a new project can be done in two clicks.
- Copy to multiple projects from the buzzmarker. The buzzmarker also includes the ability to copy contacts to multiple projects. Quite valuable if you come across an influencer or link opportunity that’s well suited for multiple clients.
- History filtering by projects: For each contact, you can filter the communication history in two ways: 1) view all communications, and 2) view communications only for this project. This gives you the info about the project that you need in order to communicate effectively with the contact while still giving you the big picture view that you need in order to prevent communication snafus.
Here are two videos that provide an overview of projects…the first shows them being used for BuzzStream for PR and Social Media and the second show them for BuzzStream for Link Management.
Overview of Projects – BuzzStream for PR and Social Media
Overview of Projects – BuzzStream for Link Management
We invest a lot of time on our filtering capabilities because, once you have a large number of contacts in BuzzStream, the ability to slice and dice your contacts, monitors, links, article, etc for segmented outreach becomes really valuable. We added two new filters in the latest release:
- Filter people and media outlets by metrics: on the People tab, you can filter by PageRank, unique visitors, etc. and it will find all people associated with media outlets that match the filter. You can also filter people by their twitter metrics. This is useful for segmenting outreach based on level of influence or reach.
- Filter monitoring results by publication date: you can now sort your monitoring results by influence rating and then filter by publication date to quickly find content by the most influential people within a certain time period.
Usability and performance improvements to monitoring
Since we launched it into beta two months ago, the monitoring module has undergone a ton of work to make it more usable and to make it perform better. Some of the things that we’ve done:
- Monitoring performance and reliability. We felt the bite of the TechCrunch effect after they posted about us and monitoring performance was just plain poor for the first two weeks. We’ve spent a significant amount of time squashing bugs, adding database indexes, improving our threading, etc., all to improve this. All of this has made a huge difference on performance. If you haven’t used the monitoring in a while, you’ll notice a big difference next time you log in.
- Usability enhancements. We haven’t added any specific usability enhancement that’s a “wow” type of feature, but lots of little enhancements that should add up to a much better experience. Some of the changes:
- Changed pagination to make it easier to navigate through results
- Fixed a scrolling bug that would cause the screen to constantly scroll to the top as results were retrieved or whenever you clicked “Block.”
- Header now shows the number of results for the search that’s selected.
- Added mozRank and juice passing links to “Export Results” for a monitor
- Added a “Name” field for RSS searches (so you know what the RSS feed is for when you view it in Results).
- Cleaner navigation in the Results.
To improve performance, we also undertook a major upgrade of our server environment. The database is now running on it’s own server, we’ve improved our monitoring tools and we’re operating on much bigger servers. It was a hard-core upgrade, but it’s made a big difference.
What’s Coming Next
After two very big releases, we’re now going to focus on some bite-sized features. Some of the things we’re working on now:
- Filter by communication history – i.e., show me all people who I’ve e-mailed with, tweeted, called, etc.
- Adding article statistics to Export in monitoring: In the Monitoring module, we integrate with Backtype to provide article statistics like Number of tweets, Number of Comments, and Number of Digg Comments. We’re adding these to the Export file, which will make it easier for people to add this information to coverage reports that they provide to clients, management, etc.
- “Quick add” for People/Media: When we first launched BuzzStream for PR and Social Media, we focused virtually all of our effort on making it easy to add contacts through the Buzzmarker. What suffered was the usability of adding people from within the app…right now, when you’re in the app and you’re trying to add a person and associate them with a media outlet, it’s approximately a 746 step process that would make Rube Goldberg proud. Spectacularly bad interaction design on my part, which we’re going to fix.
- Adding mozRank and Juice Passing Links to the Buzzmarkers: we currently collect these SEOmoz stats in the Monitoring module, but we don’t include them in the Buzzmarker. This is being fixed.
- Projects clean-up: there are still some bugs we need to clean up…things like drop-downs where the values in them aren’t sorted alphabetically, bugs in certain headers, etc.
Once we’re done with these, we’re going to tackle our next set of big features…we’ll start delivering these features in iterations over the next four to eight weeks.
If you have feedback, need help with bugs or just want help understanding how to use BuzzStream, don’t hesitate to contact me at paul (at symbol) buzzstream (d-o-t) com!