Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Promoting Interactive Content: Getting Ahead of the Content Marketing Pack

In 2013, the most popular pieces of content on both BuzzFeed and the New York Times had something in common.

Was it that they were well-research pieces by respected journalists? No. In fact, the NYT piece was created by an intern. Did they break news? Nope, no new news was made. Were they beautiful, Snowfall-like visual constructions? Nope. They were designed from templates.

They were quizzes.  The writing is on the wall: interactive content is the future of content marketing.

 

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But let’s back up a step:

We’re drowning in content.  Absolutely drowning in it. 93% of businesses are doing content marketing, and 99% of software companies (and what seems like 150% of our own special little category of marketing software) are employing it today.  And it is getting worse.

And while I normally write about how content promotion solves this problem, today I want to look at it from another lens: with today’s interactive content, what’s the best way to market it? (I’ll leave making it for another post.)

 

Interactive Content: What it Is

Broadly, interactive content is calculators, quizzes, free tools, and other things of that nature that users can interact with – instead of just read.

Examples

BuzzFeed & NYT Quizzes

In 2013, the most popular piece of content on both the New York Times and Buzzfeed was a quiz. On both the Grey Lady, inventor of journalistic objectivity, and the new publishing upstart best at pushing viral buttons with lists, an interactive quiz was the most popular piece of content.

Let’s unpack these a little more:

Because you are alive and have an internet connection, you have likely seen a BuzzFeed quiz.

BuzzFeed offered the quiz “Which Pink Lady Are You?”, helping users understand, well, which female character from the movie Grease they should be. It was one of the most shared pieces of content in 2013.

In 2014, they came aback at quizzes in a big way with a new graphic layout, leading to winners like “Which City Should You Actually Live In.”

BuzzFeed- What city should you live in?

These graphically oriented quizzes put up some great traffic numbers:

Traffic history

Referral Breakdown

How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk

The New York Times created this amazing, incredibly popular quiz about language patterns in the United States:

Sunday Review

This twenty-question quiz was shared millions of times, and was one of the most popular pieces of content on the New York Times website in 2013.  It was created by graduate student intern Josh Katz, based on the 10-year old Harvard Dialect Survey.

Unknown

In the nation’s most influential paper, which regularly breaks real news and hosts some of the best and most sough-after journalists alive today, the most popular piece of online content was a quiz, created by an intern from 10 year old public data.

 

How Americans Die

Bloomberg published a remarkable interactive data visualization on death in America:

How Americans die

While it didn’t put up the amazing numbers the previous two samples did, it definitely meaningfully outperformed other content on Bloomberg:

How Americans Die #2

 

Why Interactive Content?

So we know that interactive content can be very successful – particularly if we include final states people can share that show their own identity to their peers on social networks. (In some ways, BuzzFeed can be thought of as a venture-backed experiment in social networks and identity behavior.)

This content has several key advantages:

It Sticks Out

Useful and fun tools have not been beaten to death yet by marketers, unlike, say, infographics, ebooks, white papers, and everything that came before them. When you see one, it is still novel, different, and potentially delightful.

It Can Be Evergreen

This is huge – these things can keep on giving MUCH longer than a traditional blog post. They’re new every time people visit.  Effectively moving to interactive content can help publishers create pieces that last a long time, instead of hits driven pieces.

As Summer Anne Burton, managing editorial director of BuzzFeed, said:

“We had been making quizzes slowly, but nothing crazy. Then, around the end of last year, I was looking at some stats and what posts had done really well. Our most shared post was this quiz called “Which ‘Grease’ Pink Lady Are You?” that Louis Peitzman in L.A. did. It had not been a big hit when it was first published, but it had this super long tail.

I had noticed a couple other things like that — posts that were quiz-related or quizzes that had a second life. “

If you’re a working content marketer, you know that consistently coming up with new material and “feeding the beast” is a major challenge. Well-architected interactive tools gie you a chance to step off the treadmill and create a system.

 

They can be designed with a UX that drives conversion

Calculators like this one and other similar pieces can not only attract traffic and serve the top of the funnel, but can also show people relevant offers and drive visitors through the funnel.  I would expect to see more interactive experiences that show off merchandise or offers in the next 12 months.

For example, Julep, the Seattle-based A16Z funded nail polish company uses a quiz to help new users discover their style profile, and sign up for an appropriate package:

Julep

 

Building a Data Asset for Future Work

When people fill out these quizzes and interact with these pieces, that data can go somewhere.  The low-end version of this is taking email addresses and adding them to your list.

The more elaborate version of this is adding this quiz data to a cookie or persistent identifier associated with the user.  This can be a game changer for lead scoring or personalization, and I expect this to be become a pretty typical marketing technique in 2-3 years.

Scott Brinker of the Marketing Technologist Blog has written extensively on this topic as well. He’s even betting his whole company on them:

Marketing Interactive Assets

While the creation of these interactive assets is dramatically beyond the scope of the article (and left to the reader), some of what I’ve observed in seeing people promote these universally applicable.

Think About How People Will Link To, Mention, or Feature Your Piece

Often I see marketers pitch interactives without thinking about how the linking/featuring site will post it.  Most journalists and content creators know how to feature images and studies – but how do you feature a quiz, a calculator, or an interactive multi-part graphic?

Consider making versions that are easy to embed and look great – either a version of the interactive that can be embedded (which you may or may not want to do depending on your marketing objectives), or good images or animated gifs of the tool’s operation.  Then you can make it as easy as possible for your outreach prospects to feature you.

Make Sure Your Device Support and Your Promotion Plan Are Aligned

The rise of the multi-device world has really caught a lot of marketers by surprise and can cause some interesting issues in content promotion.

For example, much of the inventory available on some ad units good for content promotion, like Twitter ads, is mobile. If your piece of interactive content isn’t mobile friendly, you might very well find yourself with an expensive fail if you use them without segmenting to desktop/tablet only.  (I often play a game of clicking on promoted Tweets on my mobile phone and seeing if it leads to a responsive page or not.)

In a perfect world, marketers would have lots of technical resources and get everything working perfectly on every device. (If you’ve worked in more than one or two marketing organizations, you’re probably laughing quietly to yourself at this statement.) But we do not live in such a world – so if you don’t support mobile devices, make sure you don’t unintentionally end up pushing mobile traffic at the piece.

Pitch the Value, Not the Tool

When marketing technology products, marketers are classically told to focus on benefits and advantages instead of features.  Marketers still focus on features, and people still say this, so this is something of an existential problem in marketing.

But whenever marketers get something new, they often get lost in the shinyness and forget about the customer value they’re communicating.

This cognitive bias has two factors:

  • Often people are so excited to do a quiz or an interactive, they forget the editorial and results fall flat.  These still need the same level of knowledge and editorial care and planning that would go into a whitepaper or an ebook.
  • A quiz in and of itself isn’t that novel – pitch the value rather than the technology.

 

You Still Need a Campaign Launch Plan

While this will be a familiar concept to readers of BuzzStream material (we even created a guide about it), even the best pieces of interactive content need a promotion plan and  alaunch plan, ideally across paid, owned, and earned media.

Conclusion

While the New York Times and BuzzFeed don’t have much in common, they’re both succeeding with interactive content.  As interactive content trickles down to marketers,we’ll see this employed more and more, with varying degrees of success.  While the challenge of interactive content is largely in its creation, marketing it effectively is still extremely important, and reducing friction and creating promotion plans are needed to achieve the full ROI of these strategies.

 

 

 

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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 WMG

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.

Typically if you have completed one or more Google Disavow files, you will have a long list of sites which at best will offer no link value and at worst could land you with another Google penalty. This guide will show you how to store, manage and use a list of websites and people whom you do not want to be affiliated with in any way.

This data can then be used with the new BuzzMarker Chrome Extension to quickly identify blacklisted domains that shouldn’t be contacted when you and your team are browsing websites.

 

Eliminate risk using BuzzStream to flag blacklisted domains

BuzzStream to the rescue!

One of our biggest challenges and our biggest opportunities is to make data more accessible across our business. That’s why we at WMG use BuzzStream to record and store our contacts, making the data more accessible across our teams and easier to use to inform campaigns and decision making.

 

Keeping things structured and tidy in BuzzStream

Before I explain how you can use Buzzstream to flag/blacklist domains and contacts with whom you do not want to work with, I will explain how our team structures our BuzzStream account. (Editor’s note: Since BuzzStream is so customizable, your account and project setup may be structured differently than WMG’s.)

As a large SEO agency such as ours with hundreds of clients and thousands of projects, we need to keep BuzzStream obsessively tidy. I personally recommend the following structure to keep things easy to find:

Orange indicates a folder and blue indicates a project.

Archived (Old Clients)

  • %client name%
    • %project url%
      • %client name%-%project url%-%date created%-%project number%-%project name%

Clients

  • BuzzStream
    • Buzzstream.com
      • BuzzStream-buzzstream.com-2014-05-#4-Existing Customers

Prospect Lists by Niche
Internal Projects
z Domain Blacklist/ Approved List (I use a-z to sort this folder to the bottom)

  • BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS
  • APPROVED LIST OF DOMAINS

 

The advantage of using this structure is that it’s easy to move clients and projects around, and it’s nice and simple for our outreach team to understand which project they’re working on. We also use a campaign planner that generates folder and project names based on strict naming conventions; this ensures that law and order are maintained within our BuzzStream account.

01

BuzzStream filter system

Create custom fields for websites to record why a domain has been blacklisted or whitelisted

We use custom fields in BuzzStream to create checkboxes that describe the reason why a person or domain has been either blacklisted or whitelisted. This ensures everyone in the future will know exactly why the site does or doesn’t meet our quality standards and why they should or shouldn’t make contact.

 

02

Customize fields settings

For clarity, I have two separate custom fields. The first is for why the domain was flagged under a blacklist, and the second for if the team have reviewed a flagged domain, but only found something small (like some comment spam). After all, we wouldn’t want to not work with someone like the BBC because of a link disavowed at the URL level.

Blacklist Custom Field – “Does the Domain Break Our Link Quality Guideline Issues?”

 

03

A custom checkbox field for use in clarifying why a site hasn’t passed our quality control settings

Whitelist Custom Field – “Passed Quality Control”

04

– A custom field for when (date) the site passed a quality control review

Create two separate projects for the blacklist & white listed domains

I recommend creating two separate projects;

  1. ‘APPROVED LIST OF DOMAINS’ (previously flagged in a blacklist for some reason).
  2. ‘BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS’ (if you name your folder starting with a ‘z’ it will filter to the bottom of the list keeping it out of the way).
05

Blacklist/whitelist projects

Create website type & relationship stage – “Previously Blacklisted”

I like to flag a domain in as many ways as possible to reduce the chance of mistakes when it comes to domains which break our quality guidelines. Therefore I also create a custom Relationship Stage -“Rejected / Blacklisted Domain” and a new Website Type – “Previously Blacklisted/Disavowed” to make it crystal clear to anyone looking in the project in the future.

 

06

Custom Website Types

A domain can only have one relationship stage and one website type (via Dropdown) at any one time, so there is no confusion. Then, if the domain is cleared in the future it can then be changed to the correct ‘Website Type’ global identifier.

 

Upload a single domain which you would like to blacklist

The reason for adding only one domain at this stage is that we are going to be uploading potentially several thousand domains (depending on your Disavow/blacklist), and it’s best to upload it as a CSV rather than trying to import via copy & paste.

Select “Add from List of URLS” and enter one of your domains which you would like to blacklist.

 

07

Select “Add from List of URLs” to import a domain to blacklist

Make sure that you select the relevant data (see below), at this stage it is also possible to add a Tag to the website which we’re importing. You can do this now, or at a later stage. I suggest tagging it in capitals to make it stand out from your other tags used to identify a domain. E.g. PREVIOUSLY DISAVOWED/BLACKLISTED DOMAIN.

08

Mark the domain with any relevant information

If you have forgotten to categorise anything don’t worry, that is the beauty of BuzzStream, we can do it later!

 

Export the BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS project

 

09

Exporting websites from a project in BuzzStream

At the moment there is currently only one domain to export, but in the future if you wanted to export all the domains then you can do this by clicking the check box above the one highlighted in red and clicking the ‘Select all’ link.

Select the following columns to export:

  • Website Domain
  • Website Type
  • Tags
  • Relationship Stage
  • Does The Domain Break Our Link Quality Guideline Issues?

Add a list of all the domains which you want to blacklist

10

Add the rest of your disavowed domains to your database export

Be careful to only add domains you want to blacklist and not URLs of particular pages, if you have any of these in your Disavow file.

Free Excel Tool – Disavow file to whitelist cross-checked blacklist

The majority of people will most likelyuse a Disavow file as a source for their BuzzStream blacklist. I have created a small Excel tool which automatically convert your disavow file into a BuzzStream friendly list of domains which you can copy straight into your exported BuzzStream (Figure 10). This will stop any risk of disavowing domains which you have in a white list, or that you haven’t disavowed at domain level.

 

11

Disavow list to blacklist tool

To use this tool, paste the list of rows from your disavow file into the red cells, copy all the rows in the green cells and then paste these into the A Column of your BuzzStream export.

Flag the added domains

Now it’s time to flag the new domains which we’ve just added from our cleaned Disavow list. Duplicate the cells from row B2 to the end of the named columns (highlighted in Orange) down the page for all the domains which you’ve added.

 

12

Finished populated BuzzStream blacklist database ready re-import

Re-upload the blacklisted domains project back to BuzzStream

Now it’s time to let BuzzStream do all the hard work. We re-upload the file using the ‘Import from Existing File’ option from the ‘Add Websites’ dropdown within the websites tab. Making sure that you have selected the correct project (top left), you don’t want to mix up your list and make it segmented.

13

Import back to project

In the box that pops up select Match My CSV (below) and upload the file.

14

Select the type of template to upload

Select‘Auto-Update Existing Contacts’ and make a final check that you are uploading to the correct project – ‘BLACKLIST OF DOMAINS’

15

Configure the upload

Let’s have a cuppa

Now this is the most important bit, make sure not to miss it out…

Sit back and have a lovely cup of tea, I would personally recommend Yorkshire Tea. This is perhaps one of the best things about working at WMG; we only ever buy Taylors of Harrogate tea! It would be wrong to buy anything else when we’re based in Harrogate with the world famous Betty’s just down the road.

Once BuzzStream has does all the hard work processing the data, you can go in and see the fruits of your labour.

And that’s it

Now you can identify a blacklisted domain in any new project quickly and easily from either within BuzzStream, or using the new and improved BuzzMarker Chrome Extension.

 

17

How to identify a previously blacklist domain in BuzzStream

 

18

How to identify a blacklisted domain in BuzzMarker. *please note I chose the domain 0000web.com to use as an example because it no longer exists, I am not implying that this domain should be blacklisted.

Conclusion

If you find a domain in your blacklist that shouldn’t be there after reviewing the website again in more depth, you can easily move the domain from your global BLACKLIST project to the APPROVED LIST OF DOMAINS project which we created at the beginning.

If you do this, remove the tags/fields assigned to it that flag it, and populate the custom field which we created called ‘Passed Quality Control’ with a date. This ensures that in future, you’ll know when the domain was whitelisted; domains can change and what was once a good domain can easily become a bad domain…

Happy Outreach!

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3 Ways to Make SEO Reporting Easier

Every SEO I know hates the first day of the month.

Which is funny, because they also get paid on the first of the month.

What makes SEOs so miserable on their pay day? Reporting.

Almost all agencies and many in-house groups spend the first part of the month creating extensive reports of their activities and results.  And almost all of them take tons of time to fill out, are far from actionable, and are rarely billable.

 With that in mind, here are 3 ways to make your SEO reporting simpler, faster, and more effective:

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mozCon 2012: My Takeaways

MozCon 2012 has come and gone and the big topic of the conference was content marketing….shocking, I know. ;)  Overall, the quality of the speakers and content was very strong and it was a great week in Seattle.

What I found interesting was how many of the speakers had seemingly conflicting views. Rand says that SEOs should focus on content instead of links because “the ultimate link building tool is the publish button.”  But Paddy’s take is that Rand’s advice is great if you’re an influencer, but most companies can’t afford not to do link building. Hmmm. Well, maybe Ian Lurie can break the tie for us. Ian’s take?… link building and content marketing don’t even exist as tactics. They’re both just the result of great marketing.   

Well that clears things up. :)

The good news is that when you dig deeper into what each of the speakers was saying, they actually agree much more than they disagree. Whether you’re looking at the link building tactics that Paddy detailed, the big picture thinking in the first half of Ian’s presentation, or Greg Boser’s explanation of BlueGlass’ business model changes, there were common themes.

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Major Product Update: Inline Editing and Customizable Views Are Here!

When it comes to managing relationships with influencers and managing links, people have a love/hate relationship with their spreadsheets.  On the one hand, spreadsheets become impossible to manage as you scale your efforts.  On the other hand, they’re flexible and fast.  So, for us, the trick is building a system that makes it easy for people to scale their efforts without sacrificing any of the speed and flexibility.  With the release of Inline Editing and Customizable Views this week, we think we’ve made a big step towards that goal.

Our customers have played a big role in the development of both of these. They really drove the vision of these as they were being developed.  So thanks to all for your input and insights as BuzzStream continues to evolve. All right, let’s take a closer look.

Inline Editing (See Video)

This is kind of the “2″ of a “1-2 Punch” that includes Customizable Views. We’ve added in-line editing to the list view. This is a huge time saver when having to make a few quick edits on the fly. Instead of clicking into each individual record to edit you can do so from the list view. Just click the record you want to edit and update the the fields you need. This makes doing multiple edits a breeze.

Customizable Views (See Video)

Now you can see your Contacts, Media Outlets, Link Partners and Links how you want. Select the columns you want to see, and move those columns where you want them be. We’ve made it super-easy to customize the “list view” of all your information so you can work with it how you want to. This is our first stab at it and we will be refining as we go.

Other Quick Fixes and Changes

Twitter Messages

Fixed a small bug that was effecting the collection of Tweets between you and your contacts.

Blank BuzzMarker

Our beloved BuzzMarker would show up blank when reaching your Contact or Link Partner limit during BuzzMarking. You will now receive a handy prompt to upgrade your account.

Relationship Stage Updating

The relationship stage was not updating for individual records copied across multiple projects.

Better Delete Messaging

We’ve cleared up some of the messaging in the product to make it more clear when you’re deleting a contact and when you’re just removing it from a project.

Twitter ID’s in the BuzzMarker

Fixed a small issue where “twitter.com/profilename” was being marked as the Twitter ID.

Twitter OAuth Verification Fail Message

You will now get a friendly error message when Twitter fails to link your Twitter account to BuzzStream.

Import Feature Loading Faster

We were experiencing a little lag time after clicking “Import” and the feature opening up. We thought it was a bit annoying, so we fixed it.

Faster Tag Loading

If you have a bunch of Tags things may have slowed down a bit for you when you needed to edit tags in bulk, edit a records’ details or use the BuzzMarker. We put in a fix to speed things up.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Blog's Search Engine Rankings

Look out! It’s a guest post by Elisa Gabbert. She is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, a provider of advanced SEO tools for researching, organizing and grouping large numbers head, mid and long tail keywords. Elisa is a frequent contributor to the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog and you can follow her on Twitter: @eGabbert. Now go ahead and dig in.

Even if your business has embraced search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for its website, your corporate blog may be less than optimized. Because of the fly-by-night nature of blogs (posts go live quickly and then quickly disappear below the fold), it’s tempting to short-change or skip over SEO.

But it’s just as important to optimize your blog as it is to apply SEO to the rest of your site. Because blogs are frequently updated, a signal that search engines look upon favorably, blog content often ranks well in search. Blog posts also present an opportunity to rank for timely searches—for example, a new product that has been launched in your space, or a relevant news story or industry announcement, often leads to a spike in search traffic. Optimizing your blog posts for the right keywords can attract a new audience that may stick around, link to your site, or come back to convert.

Here are three simple ways to improve your blog SEO and increase rankings and traffic for individual posts:

1. Optimize your title tags

As with a conventional web page, the title is one of the most important elements for SEO. First and foremost, your title needs to:

  • Include the right keywords so search engines can find it
  • Be clear and concise so users know what the post is about

Do keyword research for every post, before you start writing if possible. Aim for a balance between popularity and targeting. “Apple iPad” is an extremely popular keyword, but that means it’s prohibitively competitive as well. Try narrowing broad topics down to a more focused keyword, like “Apple iPad ship date” or “Apple iPad Twitter reactions.” Include whatever keyword you choose in the title.

The title also should accurately convey the content of the post. A clever, punny post title like “The ‘Apple’ Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree” won’t necessarily make sense or stand out to someone searching for specific details about the iPad in Google. Remember, you can always choose a slightly different (and more clever) title to promote the post through social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but search engines and search engine users should see a clear, keyword-focused title.

2. Improve follow-through on keyword research

Getting your writers to do keyword research before they write is one hurdle. Getting them to actually apply that research is another! While including keywords in the title is important, you also need to work your keywords into the body of the post.

A great way to improve follow-through on keyword research is to use an SEO plug-in for bloggers. One such example is WordStream SEO for Firefox, a plug-in that comes bundled with the company’s SEO Keyword Management software.

WordStream SEO for Firefox allows you to conduct keyword research, or consult the research you’ve already done, as you compose a post in blogging applications like WordPress, Blogger and Drupal.

wordstream

In the “Enter a Keyword” tab, you can find keyword suggestions related to your topic on the spot, categorized as phrases, single words, or questions. (Questions make great blog post titles, since many people enter them directly into the search box.) This tool is also a good way to generate topic ideas, when you’re not sure what to write about. In the “My Keyword Research” tab, you can access your historical research (via access to your paid WordStream account).

The plug-in also keeps track of how many keywords you use in the post as you write, ensuring that your research actually gets where it needs to be for optimization.

3. Optimize your images

A third way to increase your blog’s search engine traffic is to optimize your images for search. Including pictures and graphics on your blog not only adds visual interest (which is key for keeping readers engaged), it can actually boost your rankings. Why? Because many people use the image search option in Google and other search engines, and images give you another opportunity to include relevant keyword strings.

Keep these tips in mind when adding images to a blog post:

  • Include keywords in the file names of your photos: Don’t save an image with a generic file name like “photo1.jpg”—the file name should describe the content of the photo (e.g., “leopard-print-flats.jpg”).
  • Don’t ignore the alt text attribute: Many blogs neglect to utilize this useful tag. It provides another signal to search engines of what the photo contains. In addition, if a user’s computer fails to load the image, they’ll still know what the image conveys.
  • Use high-quality, high-resolution images: You don’t have to be a pro photographer to add a nice visual dimension to your blog. Many images are available on the Web through creative commons licenses.

While the list of things you can do to improve your blog’s SEO is virtually endless, applied keyword research, strong titles, and attractive, relevant images are three elements that make a huge difference, and you don’t need to be an SEO expert to master them.

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New Release: Link Performance Reports, Custom Fields, Import Templates

photo

Our customers steer the ship at BuzzStream and that keeps the daily evolution of our product going. We add “newness” all the time and it is the our customer’s feedback and ideas that drive us to make BuzzStream the best fit for you! We dropped a few nice features this time around, so let’s get to it.

Custom Fields

In our last release we added Link Type and Link Partner Type fields. This offered a modicum of customization that we needed to build on. Now you can add custom fields to Link Partners, Links (for Link Management) , People and Media (for PR & Social Media). You can easily add custom fields by clicking on “Settings” and going to the “Configuration” tab. Below is a quick run through.

1. On the “Configuration” tab click “Create your first customer field…” under either Link, Link Partner, People or Media.

custom1

2. Choose a field name, field type and choices (available in either check box, drop down or text). Click “save”.

custom2

3. Your new custom field will show up in 3 places.

The Configuration tab:

custom3

The Link, Link Partner, People or Media record:

custom4

The BuzzMarker:

custom5

Import Templates

We know you’ve got contacts and link partners in all kinds of formats that you need to import. This can be laborious and time consuming process. Let us do the heavy lifting by setting up custom import templates in your account. You send us a spreadsheet and we’ll map that information to the proper fields in BuzzStream, even your new Custom Fields! Once the template is locked and loaded you can select it from the import screen and upload your info.

import

BuzzMarker: Contact Info Highlighting

Seconds add up to hours when pulling together contact info from the web. Our developer Tobias came up with a cool fix to ease the pain by highlighting all potential contact info on a page that you BuzzMark. A simple but smart time saver we hope you like. ATTN! Delete and reinstall your BuzzMarker to use this feature. Click here to reinstall!

highlight-contact-info

Link Performance Reporting

Slice and dice your link reporting in a multitude of ways and see your reports as tables, charts or both. Need to know the number of new links a user has landed in a certain link partner type? We’ve got you covered. How about seeing the average page rank for each user’s links per partner type across a date range? Yep, we can do that to.

link reporting

Need to take that data to go? You can export all that data into either PDF, Word, Excel or HTML. We’ve had a lot of requests for this and delivered the particular features you said you’d find most useful. No fluff, just actionable data. This is our first take on reporting with Social Media and PR reports on the way!  We want to know what you think and what else you’d like see from it.

That’s it for this release! We love your feedback so post your comments below or hit us up at customer-service@buzzstream.com.

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New Release: Improved Filtering, Link Checking and Reporting

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We always receive great feedback from our customers and the in the last couple weeks you’ve given us some great ideas. We love it as your ideas play a huge role in the feature additions and updates we make; so please, keep them coming. A majority of our recent updates revolve around organizing, labeling, reporting and assigning. Let’s dig in

Quick Search Filters for Links & Link Partners

We love anything that makes a process faster for you. Sorting through your link relationships can be a bit tedious so we’ve added a couple Quick Search filters to ease things along. To use them just click on Filters and you’ll see Quick Search at the top of the drop down. We’ll be adding more search filters in the near future. If you have some that you’d like to see, let us know via customer-service@buzzstream.com.

quick-search

Ad New Users to Projects

Small changes can equal big differences and we’re glad that this was pointed out. It’s tough for a new user to work on a project when one is not assigned. Now from the get-go, you can assign new users to a project while setting up their profile. The first time they log in they will already have projects assigned and can get cranking on projects.

new-user-project

Added Link Type and Link Partner Type

Categorizing your links can be a big help, especially with large campaigns. To ease the pain we added two customizable fields allowing you to add “types” to both the Link and Link Partner. Name them what you will, it’s up to you. These “types” will show up in Buzzmarker, link partner records, links and filters. The big plus is once we add reporting (coming in a couple weeks!) you will be able to break down link building performance by type (blog/media mention, social bookmark, guest post, affiliate link, general directory, blog comment, etc.).

Here’s how you do it:

1. Click on “Settings”

setings

2. Click on “Configuration” tab

config

3. Click on “New Link Partner Type” or “New Link Type” (not shown)

link-partner

4. Enter in link “Type” and click Save

enter-link

Filter Memory

You’ve gone through all the trouble to set up a bunch of filters and they go up in smoke once you have logged out or leave a page. Yes, very annoying, so we fixed it. If you leave a page or happen to log out you can return with all your filters in place. An added bonus is you can now see what your current filter is with out jumping into your filter preferences.

filter-save

Backlink Checker Update with Email Reporting
It’s been easy to get the current state of your link but the reporting has been a bit light. You told us you needed help identifying changes to the actual links and wanted those changes sent to your inbox. We are happy to meet the need. We’ve beefed up the Backlink Checker and added some simple email reports that give you an accurate snap shot of any crucial changes to your links.

Backlink Checker

  • Changes to the page it is linking
  • Changes to nofolllow/dofollow status
  • Changes to anchor text
  • Changes to the number of outbound links on the pages

Email Reporting

  • New links that were added since the last check, including critical info you need to evaluate it (PageRank, #of links on the page, presence of “flagged words,” whether it’s a dofollow or nofollow link)
  • Links that you’d previously received that have changed (also includes the details of what changed)
  • Links that have been removed since you last ran a backlink check

Upcoming Features

Your feedback keeps us going so please don’t hesitate to comment below or send suggestions straight to customer-service@buzzstream.com. Thanks for helping us make BuzzStream into the tool that you need it be. Check out new updates and features we’ll be adding in the coming weeks.

  • Easier Import Utility: Making it a breeze to import your own links
  • Custom Fields
  • Reporting
  • Contact Info Highlighting: When the Buzzmarker finds contact info, we’ll highlight the place on the web page where we found it.
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BuzzStream Release Notes – 3/7/2010

It’s about that time. Time to lay out what we’ve been up to since our last post. It’s been a while; we know it and it’s no OK with us. Why the blackout? A ton of new customers, continued product enhancements and infrastructure upgrades have had everyone juggling fire. We don’t like burns so unfortunately the blog has taken a back seat. Now that the acrobatics are over, we’ve got a bunch to share. Let’s get to it.

Speed of the Link Buzzmarker

If you’re using BuzzStream for Link Management, you’ll see huge improvements in the time it takes for the Link Buzzmarker to scan the page.  This will make your link research and link documentation efforts much more efficient.  I was testing sites last night that had been taking 10-15 seconds to load and they’re now loading in 2 to 3 seconds.  We’ll make similar improvements to the Media Buzzmarker in a future release.  This will be a continuous process…the end goal is to get it to where there’s virtually no wait time when you click the Buzzmarker.

Tag Management

One of our most frequent requests from people who have been using the product for a long time is that tags quickly become unmanageable once you have a lot of contacts or a lot of people using the product.  We’ve taken the first step to addressing this by adding tag management capabilities.  Now you can select multiple contacts and add, edit or delete contacts for those contacts.  So suppose one person was using the tag “social media” and another person was using “social_media,” you can now fix this by filtering on the tag you want to remove, selecting all the contacts, removing the one tag and adding the other.

Enhancements to Tasks

We continue to extend our Task Management capabilities so that you can better track and manage your influencer outreach efforts and your link management activities.   Here’s a list of the things we added since our last Release blog post:

  • The ability to add a task while Buzzmarking a contact
  • E-mail notifications of your daily agenda as well as notifications when tasks are assigned to you by someone else
  • The ability to add follow-up tasks when you’re adding notes, editing links, etc (for example, after adding the note “Talked to John about the product review,” you can create a follow-up task titled “Send screenshots” that’s associated with the note)
  • Task filtering on the Dashboard – this will enable you to see tasks associated with a specific project, tasks that are due at a certain time, and tasks that are assigned to someone on your team.

BuzzStream's task management capabilities

Bulk Operations

In addition to Tag Management, we’ve added  a number of other operations that can be conducted on multiple contacts at once.  This is particularly useful when you’re working with a large number of contacts.  Our bulk operations currently include:

  • Select specific contacts to copy or move to a different project: you no longer have to move/copy all of the Link Partners that are in the current filter…now you can specifically select the ones that you want to copy or move.
  • Bulk delete
  • Ability to change the “assigned to” field for multiple Link Partners at once
  • Ability to change “relationship stage” for multiple Link Partners at once

BuzzStream bulk operations - changing influencer ratings for multiple contacts

Improvements to Search

We implemented Lucene as our search technology, which will give us much more power for searching.  In the near-term, this means you can now search on any term in the fields we look at.  In the long-term, it’ll mean that we’ll be able to search across much larger data sets.  This will become much more important as we enhance our influencer monitoring capabilities (i.e., you’ll be able to do things like look for any of your influencers who have written about a certain topic in the last X weeks).

Improved Performance

We added a number of large customers last week and we’re optimizing to make sure that performance keeps up.  We’re addressing this both with code optimizations and by adding more hardware.  Things seem to be humming, but please let us know if you see any issues.

Usability Improvements and Bug Fixes

In addition to these new features, we also made a number of usability improvements and fixed some remaining bugs.  Here’s the list:

  • The Quick Search box now clears when you click “Clear Filters”
  • For monitoring, the “Manage” tab is only available to Administrators
  • Fixed a bug that was preventing retrieval of Twitter metrics when you’d click “Update Metrics”
  • Links to external websites now open in a new tab (instead of a new window)
  • Fixed a bug that was making some social profile URLs unclickable (e.g., some facebook URL formats)
  • When you click outside the Projects drop-down, it now closes automatically
  • When you finish an Import, the “Cancel” button now changes to “Close”
  • Increased the character limit for the “About” fields on People, Media Outlets and Link Partners
  • Fixed a set of user interface bugs on Internet Explorer.  These include:
    • Cursor wouldn’t turn into a pointer when you hovered over the Delete icon
    • “Link out” icons were getting cut off on some pages
    • Text in “Recently Viewed” section of the Dashboard was getting cut off

Lots of tasty goodness in our near-term roadmap as well…some of the things we’re working on:

  • Reporting: our highest priority for our next major release
  • Filter memory: BuzzStream will remember your filter.  So, for example, suppose you’ve filtered your list to only show contacts assigned to you.  If you go to a different page or log out, the next time you return to the list, you’ll only see those contacts (this is a first step towards Saved Filters).
  • Highlighting contact info found by the Buzzmarker: When you Buzzmark a page, we’ll  highlight the section of the web page where any contact info is found.  This will reduce the time required for research.
  • Complete upgrade of the Backlink Checker e-mail in the Link Management product
  • More bulk operations
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Measuring Inbound Marketing

I just spoke to the Austin Web Analytics Wednesday on the topic of PR, Social Media, and SEO measurement. Great group with really thoughtful questions and good conversations. I discussed my view of Inbound Marketing as a funnel: Listening > Engagement > Relationship > Coverage > Links > Search Rankings > Traffic > Leads > Sales. Would love to hear feedback. What did I miss?

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