Archive for the ‘Product Updates’ Category

Product Update: More Flexible Filtering and Improved Tag Management

 This week, we’ve checked off two more features that many BuzzStream power users and team accounts have been clamoring for. We’ve added more flexible ways to filter your contacts and better ways to manage tags.

Tag Management

In BuzzStream, tags are one of the primary ways you classify your contacts so that you can quickly create lists. The great thing about tags is that they’re flexible and they’re super-easy to create. The not-so-great thing about them?…well, they’re flexible and they’re super-easy to create.  If you’re not careful, you can end up with multiple tags for the same category, tags that are no longer used, overly granular tags, etc. For those of you that operate in a team, things can get particularly messy, since you have to wade through the tags that you and everyone else has created. 

To help with this, we’ve added a ‘Manage Tags’ page in you settings. From this page, you can control which tags are shown to you and you can delete unwanted tags.

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BuzzStream Product Update: New Features to Keep your Projects Organized

We added support for projects in BuzzStream almost four years ago and almost immediately, they became one of the most popular features in the product. Adding a project in BuzzStream gives you a workspace where a designated group of people can work on a set of contacts. They’re powerful because they let you build a master database of contacts (influencers, prospects, people who have promoted you before, etc.), filter your database to build relevant contact lists and then apply them to the specific projects you’re working on. Within each project, you can keep track of your outreach efforts, you can manage your team’s workflow and you can limit access to certain team members.

While projects are popular, some of the most common feedback we get from customers is that there needs to be better ways to organize them and they need to be easier to create, edit and find. To help with this we’ve made two major changes: 1) Added project folders for organizing projects, and 2) completely redesigned the projects list dropdown.  

Project folders and project search

Until yesterday, the projects dropdown was just a list of all projects in your account. This works fine if you have a small set of projects, but if you have a large list of projects or if you want to group projects by clients, landing pages, campaign types, etc., it becomes a problem.  

To help with this, we’ve added support for project folders. Now when you click the project dropdown, you’ll see an option to create a folder:

 Create a new folder in BuzzStream

So, for example, if you’re an agency, you might create a folder for each client and include a project for each campaign within it.

Project list - organized by client

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BuzzStream Product Update: Improvements to Outreach Capabilities

One of the reasons we built BuzzStream was to make it easier to conduct outreach that’s highly relevant and personalized, but to do it at scale. The Outreach Module is a big part of this, and we’ve made a number of recent improvements to it.  

Send Emails Directly through Your Account

BuzzStream now connects to your email account in the exact same way you’d connect with a smartphone, Microsoft Outlook or any other mail client. This means that any emails you send from BuzzStream are coming directly from the email account you’ve connected with. By connecting this way, you don’t have to worry about deliverability problems caused by others who are connected to the same server. Additionally, the “sent from” information in the email will match your account. 

To connect BuzzStream to your email account, just click on Settings:

 BuzzStream settings dropdown

 Select “Connect to Email:”

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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.

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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) 

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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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Product Update: Prospecting Tools, Twitter Tracking Enhancements

The dev team has been “en fuego” since our last product update post, so we have a lot to talk about.  Lots of powerful new features, including a slew of things to help with prospecting and research.  Without further adieu…

Tools for Researching Influencers and Link Prospects

We’ve added a number of tools for finding influencers and link opportunities, researching contact/social profile information, and determining relevance.

Prospecting Query Tool

This tool is currently only available in BuzzStream for Link Building, but it will soon be available in both products.  By automating much of the manual data collection required for effective link prospecting research, it allows you to significantly reduce the amount of time required to identify good link prospects.  Here’s how it works:

  • Enter prospecting queries into BuzzStream (just like you would in Google), BuzzStream pulls the results back, de-duplicates them and converts them into “Link Prospects”

BuzzStream for Link Building - prospecting searches

  • Once collected, BuzzStream automatically collects metrics, contact info, social profile info and the RSS feed.  In addition to site-level metrics, you can see how well the site performs for the searches in the profile (e.g., how many times it shows up in the top ten across all searches, the highest position, etc.)

Link Prospect research list

  • Because these results are saved as contacts in BuzzStream, you can do anything to the links and the contacts that you can do with normal links/contacts in BuzzStream.  This includes documenting/tracking the links you want, adding tasks, adding notes, collaboration, etc.
  • Results are retrieved daily, giving you a steady stream of new opportunities

Right now, the toolset is designed for advanced link builders, but we’ll extend it over the next few weeks with tools for intermediate and beginning users.

For more information, check out the FAQ or check out the video tutorial.

Automated Discovery of Contact Information and Social Profile Information

With the Buzzmarker, BuzzStream customers have always had tools for discovering contact information and social profile information. With this release, the same discovery capabilities are available for contacts you’ve added via an import or a manual add.  So if you import a set of contacts or manually add a contact, BuzzStream automatically begins looking for profile information, including email address, phone number, twitter ID, facebook, LinkedIn, and street address. And, to help keep your contacts current, BuzzStream looks for this information on an ongoing basis.

To see how this works, first click on the ‘Columns’ button in the toolbar and select ‘Suggested Profile Info’

Find Contact Information - select column

In the column, you’ll see all of the information that BuzzStream found for that contact. You can add a single piece of information or click ‘Add All’.  To see where BuzzStream found the information, click the ‘source’.

Discovered contact info and social profile info

Additionally, we’ve also enhanced the discovery capabilities to make it faster and to pull from more sources.

 

RSS Feed Collection

You can now view a contact’s most recent content by adding the RSS column to your list view.  This will give you a sense for the topics that a blog is interested in without leaving your BuzzStream account.

View RSS feed in BuzzStream

 

Whois Enhancements

We’ve made major improvements to the way that our whois lookup tool works.  In the past, we’d built our own software for looking up contact information in the whois record.  This was unreliable and hard to support because there are so many whois providers and no standard format for whois data.  We’ve switched to a third party service, which has dramatically improved performance.  Results are retrieved both faster and more reliably.

We’ve also made it possible to look up whois information for more than one contact at a time.  To do this, just select a set of contacts (by marking the checkbox in the far left column), click on ‘Research’ and select ‘Search whois Contact Info’.  The results will be populated in the ‘Suggested Profile Info’ column.

Look up contact info from whois

 

Improved Twitter Conversation Monitoring

Two major changes to how we keep track of your twitter conversations with influencers:

  • By default, direct messages between you and your contacts are marked as ‘private.’  and are only visible to the BuzzStream user who’s connected to that twitter account.  So, if you send a DM to one of your contacts, only you’ll see it in the History.   If you’d like these conversations to be available to everyone on your team, just click on ‘Settings’, go to the ‘My Info’ tab, and change the setting in the ‘Twitter Information’ section.

BuzzStream settings for twitter tracking

  • You can now add multiple twitter IDs to a single contact.  Right now, this can only be done for twitter IDs that are in the ‘Suggested Profile Info’ section, but we’ll make this available throughout the app soon.

Private Notes

You can now mark a Note as ‘private’, which will make it visible only to you.

Minor Features and Bug Fixes

  • Outreach – you can now select a different template while you’re conducting outreach
  • You can now select a different mail server for each project you’re working on
  • “Domain age” bug – the wayback machine changed their html format, which broke our site age lookup
  • Custom field values and Notes weren’t showing up in exports
  • Deleting a sub-task was deleting the entire task
  • Problem deleting projects and users
  • Custom field values entered from the buzzmarker weren’t being saved in some cases

Next on the plate:

  • Enhancements to the prospecting toolkit
  • Easier tracking of email conversations with your contacts
  • Tighter integration of BuzzStream for PR and Social with BuzzStream for Link Building
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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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