Archive for the ‘New Features’ Category

Qualify & Research Opportunities Even Faster: Introducing Keyboard Shortcuts for the BuzzBar

We know that content promotion is time consuming. Sorting through sites, researching new opportunities, and reaching out to busy people all take up valuable hours.

So we made it easier with our newest feature:

Introducing Keyboard Shortcuts in the BuzzBar

The BuzzBar now has keyboard shortcuts to make qualifying, research, and working with link/promotion prospects faster and easier.  (You may have seen the beta version, quietly hiding in the upper right corner of the BuzzBar.)

Now you can zoom through lists of prospects, approving, disapproving, adding notes, viewing metrics, and even doing otureach – all without ever your mouse.

You can see all of the new keyboard shortcuts here:

shortcuts

 

Prospect Faster

With the BuzzBar, you can sort through sites in your prospect list faster. You can use the new keyboard shortcuts to mark sites as qualified, disqualified, or blacklisted.  To do this, just hit Alt + ↑ to make a site approved, and then hit Alt + → to go to the next contact in the list.  You can also mark contacts disapproved with Alt + ↓, or blacklist them with Alt + Delete.   (As always, the Approve/Reject/Blacklist Prospect options are available in the prospecting module.)

Qualify Faster

You can also use the BuzzBar keyboard shortcuts to cut down your research time.  You can see metrics in the BuzzBar by hitting Alt + M and view pages on the site you’ve added to BuzzStream by hitting Alt + L.  You can also edit the About field (for when you research a site) with Alt + A, and add people and contact information with Alt + P and Alt + C.

Connect Faster

You can use the new keyboard shortcuts to do better outreach from the BuzzBar.  You can open the open the outreach module with Alt + O, and add notes about new activities like calls or in-person meetings with Alt + N.

Now you can be more effective with BuzzStream.  And whether you’re sorting through junk sites looking for the good ones, researching prospects and understanding what they’re looking for, or reaching out to them, you can do it faster.

Please let us know what you think – drop us an email at support@buzzstream.com, or tweet us @BuzzStream.  We read every single message, and we’d love to hear from you as we continue to make BuzzStream more powerful and easier to use.

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Introducing Follow-Up Reminders: Never Forget to Follow Up Again

Today, we’re excited to announce Follow-Up and Reply Reminders in BuzzStream.  Now you’ll never forget to follow up on placement opportunities – and dramatically improve the percentage of opportunities that convert to placements.

Why Follow-Up Emails are Important

Experienced outreach professionals know that polite follow-up messages get great results:

“Always, always follow up on your outreach. I can honestly say that on most link building campaigns, I’ll get more links as a result of my follow ups than I do on the first round of emails.”

- Paddy Moogan, Consultant at Distilled,  Author of the Link Building Book

James Agate’s team at SkyrocketSEO found they received more than 30% of their positive responses on the second or third followup:

james agate follow up percetanges

Time and time again, outreach professionals have found a friendly, brief follow-up message can dramatically improve response rates.

Follow-Up Reminders in BuzzStream

To make follow-ups easy in BuzzStream, we’ve added a couple of new features:

Reminder Notificatiosn

There’s a new icon in the top right corner of your BuzzStream screen:

new icon

(more…)

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BuzzStream Product Update: Starred Items and Improved Multi-Select

BuzzStream Product Update

We’ve added two features that should help you with activities like list building and activity tracking.

Starred Items

If you’re a gmail user, you may have noticed that the familiar “starred items” has been added to BuzzStream.

Starred contacts

Starred items give you a way to quickly mark a record as one that needs follow-up, merits attention, etc.  So, for example, if you’re going through your master database and evaluating contacts’ relevance to a campaign you’re planning, you could star them as you qualify them and then continue evaluating your contacts.  Once you’re done, simply click ‘Filters’ and click ‘Starred’

filtering starred contacts

Then select all items and copy them to a new project, add tags, etc.

(more…)

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BuzzStream Product Update: Improvements to Backlink Discovery and Link Monitoring

BuzzStream Product Update

We have a number of new features to talk about that should make your link building efforts more efficient.  Let’s take a look.

Auto-Discovery of Links

We’ve made it easier to manage your existing backlinks in BuzzStream by automatically discovering them when you first set up your account and when you add a new project.

To auto-discover links for a new project, follow these steps:

  • Go to ‘Settings’ (top right-hand corner of the app) and click on the ‘Projects’ tab
  • Click ‘Add Project’ in the top left hand corner
  • In the websites section, enter the websites you’re managing and make sure that “auto discover inbound links to these sites” is selected.

Auto-discover backlinks in BuzzStream

That’s all there is to it! 

This is just the first step for us in this area…expect the following improvements in the near future:

  1. In addition to the initial discovery of links, we’ll add continuous discovery so your account always has the latest backlinks
  2. We’re using the SEOmoz Links API to discover your backlinks.  We’ll add additional sources to discover your backlinks in the near future (to fill in gaps in SEOmoz’ link index) 

(more…)

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BuzzStream Product Update: Automatic Email Tracking

When you’re conducting outreach to a lot of people across a lot of touchpoints, it’s easy to end up in scramble mode.  Have I already emailed this blogger or webmaster?  When did I last contact them?  Did they reply?  Are they due for a follow up?  Has anyone else on the team contacted them?  By not having this information at hand at all times, you end up wasting time searching through email and excel, you reach out to people who other team members have already contacted, and you miss out on follow-ups that could lead to links and buzz.

To help with this, we’re happy to announce a major improvement to the way that BuzzStream helps you keep track of your communications with your contacts.  BuzzStream now integrates seamlessly with Gmail, MS Exchange and other standards-based email servers, so all emails sent between you and your contacts are automatically added to their contact records.  No need to remember to bcc or forward emails.  No need to manually add notes to BuzzStream contacts.  Once you enter your email information in BuzzStream, just send your emails and BuzzStream will take care of the rest. 

 

Here’s how it works:

  • Go to the My Info page in your Settings, select your mail provider and enter your mail settings. 
  • Once you’ve added your credentials, BuzzStream will periodically check for new emails between you and your contacts (approximately every hour)
  • Any emails that are found are automatically attached to the record in BuzzStream

That’s all there is to it!  For more information about setting this up, take a look at the FAQ.

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Product Update: Improvements to the Import Utility

We work hard to make it as easy as possible to work with your data in BuzzStream, but there will always be times where you want to import in some data and you want it to update existing BuzzStream records.  We’ve now enabled this in the import utility.  Just click on import and put a checkmark next to “auto-update existing contacts.

BuzzStream import - update existing contacts

A couple of things to note.  If the column in the import file is empty or if the value in the import file is the same as in the record, it won’t be changed in BuzzStream.  If it’s different, in most cases it will add the new value to the BuzzStream record (the existing value won’t be removed).  So, for example, if ‘John Doe’ in BuzzStream has an email address of ‘jon@doe.com’ and the import file has the email address ‘jon.doe@doe.com’, after the import, it will have both addresses.

There are a few cases where the existing value will be replaced.  To see a full list of how each import column is treated, check out our help file:

Help for import in BuzzStream for Link Building

Help for import in BuzzStream for PR and Social

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Product Update: Bulk Edit of Custom Fields and Usability Improvements

Three very helpful usability enhancements to talk about this week:

Quick Edit Bar

If you look in the far right-hand side of the first column, you’ll notice a small icon:

Quick edit icon in BuzzStream

When you click on this icon, you now have a number of the common edit tasks available to you without opening the record.

Quick editing in BuzzStream

Resizing Columns

Up until now, you could resize all the columns in your list of contacts, except the first one.  I found this particularly annoying, because this column often had a long name or URL in it.  We’ve fixed this, so now, just hover over the right edge of the column header and increase the width to your heart’s content (assuming that’s what makes your heart content).

Increase column width in BuzzStream

Bulk Editing of Custom Fields

Adding custom fields to your account gives you the ability to track extra information about your contacts and links.  Now, you can edit the values for a group of contacts or links at once.  To do this, just select the set of contacts that you want to edit:

Select contacts in BuzzStream

Click ‘Edit->Custom Fields’

Bulk edit custom fields in BuzzStream

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Another Free Tool to Help Build Outreach Lists

A couple of weeks ago, we released our first set of free link building tools, and we promised that more were on the way.  Shortly after announcing the tools, we started getting “you know what would be a cool tool” emails from our customers.  Well, one came up repeatedly…we liked the idea and so we rolled it out.

This new tool is pretty simple…paste in some HTML and it will generate a CSV file that includes each link in the HTML, the domain for each link and the anchor text.  There’s lots of ways you can use this, but I’ve found it particularly helpful for building outreach lists.  For example, suppose I’m trying to build a list of SEO bloggers for a campaign I come across TopRank’s Big list of SEM and SEO blogs.

TopRank Marketing Big List of SEO and SEM blogs

This is a great starting point for my list building, but manually cutting and pasting all 400 of these blogs into a spreadsheet would be a pain.  Instead, just do the following:

  • Select the content that includes the links you want
  • If you’re in firefox, right click and select ” View Selection.” In chrome, select “Inspect Element.”
  • Copy the text into text box in the “Extract Links” tool and click “Create CSV”

Now you have a CSV file that looks something like this:

Free link building tool - extract links from HTML

That’s all there is to it.  Once I have this list, the next step I’ll want to take is to collect information about each of these blogs to help me prioritize my efforts.  If you’re a BuzzStream subscriber, here are a couple of additional things you can do to help with this effort.

  • Import the file into BuzzStream. If you’re using projects, you might want to create a project that’s simply called “Opportunity Research.” If you’re not using projects, you can either include a tag in the import file or create a custom field.
  • Sort by metrics. BuzzStream will collect metrics for each domain and you can utilize this to help you prioritize them.  Once you’ve decided on the priority, select the contacts you want to prioritize and click “Edit>Overall Rating.”  The Rating will be set for all of these contacts at once.
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Product Update: Improved Import Tool, Projects Filters and Google Cache Checker

We’ve added three new features to BuzzStream that we’re really excited about…now, to be fair, none of these are the “OMG, put the Barry White CD on, cuz I got have me some of that” variety of feature.  These are the slow burns.  You know, the ones where you find yourself spending more and more time with them until one day, out of nowhere, you realize that you’re deeply and madly in love. Sigh.

Okay, it’s an overstatement, but you get the idea.  Let’s take a look…

Revamped Import Utility

We’ve completely retooled the import utility in a way that makes it SO much more usable and powerful.  The first change is that we’ve added “Auto-Update” capabilities to imports.  If you select Auto-Update, information about your contacts will be updated with new values in the import file (e.g., contact information, bios, etc.).  This is particularly useful when you need to sync internal and external lists or when you’re collecting some of your contact/link information in Excel.

BuzzStream import tool

The second change is that we’ve completely eliminated the need to use the BuzzStream import template.   Just upload your CSV file and select the fields that you want to map to.  You can even import into your custom fields.

Project Filters

For those of you who have projects enabled, we’ve added a new filter that’s available from the “All Contacts” view.  You can now select the projects filter and view all contacts in a set of projects.   So, for example, suppose you want to find all contacts that have been part of all of your campaigns for a client, just select all of projects for that client and you have your list.

BuzzStream project filtering

Google Cache Checker

For our Link Building customers, the backlink checker now looks to see if a page you’re adding is in the Google cache and tells you when it was last cached.

Minor Enhancements and Bug Fixes

  • Reduced the size of the Note field on profile pages for People, Media Outlets and Link Partners
  • Fixed a bug where contact information that the Buzzmarker was highlighting would flash on the screen
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing projects and users from being deleted if there was a shared Outreach template in the account
  • Buzzmarker filters out twitter IDs if the URL is “\share”
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Major Product Update: Outreach Module and more!

Outreach White Board

 

Lots of new BuzzStream features to talk about.  The addition we’re most excited about is the Outreach Module, which we think has the potential to significantly improve the quality and speed of your outreach efforts…if BuzzStream were an 80′s teen sitcom, then this would most certainly be our “very special holiday episode.”  Some might even say that it’s the most shocking episode of BuzzStream yet.

Now that you’re done rolling your eyes, let’s take a look at the new stuff.

New Feature: The Outreach Module

The Outreach Module gives you a way to conduct broad-based outreach, but without sacrificing personalization.  You’ve told us that the way you often conduct outreach is to create a list, select a template and then customize it for each person to make it relevant to them (based on their interests, your relationship with them, their location, etc.).  You’ve also told us that the process is time-consuming and not as effective as it could be because: a) you don’t have a quick and easy way to segment your list and apply a template to them, b) you’re bouncing between your email client and all of your sources of info for each person, and c) it can be hard to keep track of the status of the outreach efforts (e.g., who still needs to be contacted, who requires follow-up, etc.).

To address this, the Outreach Module makes it easy to segment your contacts into a list, apply a template to your contacts and then view the relationship info needed to personalize your emails without ever leaving the email. It also ties into BuzzStream’s task management and contact filtering capabilities to help you keep track of the contacts that require follow-up.

The Outreach Module is pretty simple…there are three steps to it:

1) Segment your contacts into an outreach list using BuzzStream’s filtering capabilities

filters for outreach blog post

 

2) Create an email template, which will serve as a starting point for each email you send

Create a BuzzStream outreach template

 

3) Personalize each email and send

BuzzStream email outreach personalization

 

The personalization step is where the fun begins.   For each contact in your list, BuzzStream provides you with the contact record information on the same screen as the email you’re writing to them (populated with the template).  All of the information about the contact is on the left-hand side and the email is on the right-hand side.  You can hover over any articles, links, notes, etc to see all of the info.  By putting this all in one screen, there’s no need to click back and forth searching for emails you’ve sent them in the past, blog posts they’ve written that are relevant to you, notes about them, etc.  And once you’ve personalized the email, just click “Send and go to next contact” and you’ll be taken through your list.

For a full walk-through of the Outreach Module, check out this tutorial.

Thank You!

We took a very different approach to the design of this feature and we owe a big debt of gratitude to all of the people who contributed to the “Help us design the new outreach module” post on GetSatisfaction.  This is the first time we’ve designed a feature in such a public way and I wasn’t sure how effective this approach would be.  The results completely exceeded my expectations. Not only did the feedback have a major impact on the current release, it also gave us outstanding ideas for the next version.  Special thanks to Adria Saracino, Blake Bookstaff,  Jeremy Bencken, Margaret Conway, Jeff Novak, Christine Sadler, and Jools Weller.  You guys rock!

New Feature: Improved Support for Team Discussions

Let’s say you’ve added a contact into BuzzStream and you need to ask a team member if the contact should be added to a campaign.  BuzzStream now better supports contact-specific collaboration by letting you notify people when you add a note.  Just click “notify team members” when you’re adding a note and select the people you want to notify:

Team notification in BuzzStream

They’ll receive an email notifying them that the note has been added and they can access the contact record with one click.

New Feature: Notifications for New Contacts and Overdue Tasks

We’ve added two new email notifications to help you make sure that the activities that are most important to you are getting done.  First, if a task that you assigned to a  team members is due or overdue, you’ll receive notification.  You’ll also receive notification when someone assigns a contact to you.

New Feature: Add a Task to More than One Contact

Suppose you need someone on your team to research a list of contacts to find their email addresses.  Rather than creating a task for each one, you can now associate the task with multiple contacts.  To do this in BuzzStream, I might start by sorting by “email address” to find contacts that don’t have an email address and select these contacts:

Sort BuzzStream contacts

Click ‘Edit’ and select “New Task”

Bulk tasks in BuzzStream

If you assign the task to a team member, they’ll receive one email with a link that takes them to the full list of contacts.

New Feature: Bulk Notes

Similar to bulk tasks, we’ve also added the ability to add a note to multiple contacts.  To do this, just select the contacts, click “Edit” and click “Add Note.”

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