Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Want to Join BuzzStream? We’re Looking for a Head of Content Marketing

A lot of people ask me how we’ve been able to consistently deliver such high quality content across all of our content channels for such a long period of time. The majority of the credit for this belongs to Matt Gratt. Until this spring, virtually every piece of our content was created, edited or conceived by Matt. In that time, we’ve seen traffic to our website explode and subscribers to our twitter feed increase dramatically…and because content is our biggest driver of sign-ups and revenue, we’ve seen trials and revenue more than triple in the last two years.

Matt has now decided to move on to another great Austin company. It’s an exciting opportunity that makes a lot of sense for him. Nevertheless, I’ll miss working side-by-side with him. He’s had a big impact on our growth, our strategy and our culture, and it’s been a lot of fun working with him. I’m incredibly grateful for what he’s done and I know he’s going to kick some serious butt in his new role.

So what now for BuzzStream?

Well this is where you come in. :)  We need someone who is unfathomably awesome to step in and lead BuzzStream’s content efforts.

What will you be doing?

First and foremost, you’ll be creating, curating and sourcing amazing content that both makes our customers better at their jobs and helps BuzzStream achieve our business goals.

To do this, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Finding the themes and topics relevant to our target audiences, conducting the analysis required to determine what works for them and developing a content strategy to support this
  • Creating blog posts, eBooks, webinars, email newsletters and more.
  • Sourcing content from guest contributors and contractors and overseeing their work (i.e., editing, managing freelancers, etc.)
  • Building and managing a content calendar
  • Getting BuzzStream featured on major blogs in our market (through contributed articles, outreach, etc.)

You’ll also be BuzzStream’s primary evangelist and community manager.  You’ll be responsible for:

  • Managing and growing our social following by engaging with the community and sourcing/posting content that benefits them
  • Promoting our content through outreach, paid channels, syndication and other promotion mechanisms
  • Speaking at events on BuzzStream’s behalf
  • Planning and attending events, including tradeshows, meetups and more.

So those are the primary responsibilities, but we run lean here…you’ll have your hands in a lot of things and you’ll be able to impact the business in multiple ways. You’ll be reporting directly to me.

What are the job requirements?

  • You have strong writing skills and you have experience creating, curating and promoting content…the content you create tends to spread naturally and you know how to give it the promotional push it needs to make it go big.
  • You have the communication skills, personality and attitude to publicly represent BuzzStream, both in person and online.
  • You understand the digital marketing space (ideally including blogger and influencer outreach). Big plus if you have agency or SaaS experience. Also a plus if you have experience marketing to marketers.
  • You enjoy connecting people and building relationship, both in person and online.
  • Big plus if you’re a BuzzStream user
  • Strong preference for someone in Austin (or willing to relocate).

How do I apply?

Simple…just send an email to thenextmarketer@buzzstream.com.  In the email, include a copy of your resume, a paragraph explaining why you’d like the job and another paragraph explaining why you’re a good fit for it. If possible, include links to your content that best shows why you’re a fit for the job.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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Upcoming Webinar: Crafting Perfect Pitches

Update: The video and slide deck from this webinar can be viewed at http://www.buzzstream.com/blog/how-to-pitch-for-pr.html

Kelsey Libert and the Frac.tl team surveyed more than 500 editors, bloggers, and journalists at major news publications and sites about what makes a perfect pitch. On Wednesday, July 9th at 1:30 EST, they’ll be sharing this research with the BuzzStream community in an exclusive webinar. You can sign up here.

Update 7/18: The Webinar Video, Slides, and Recap are available here.

How To Pitch Webinar

In the webinar, you’ll learn how to structure your outreach messages and pitches to get real media coverage for your brand. We’ll cover things like message length, the best time to pitch, and what details your outreach should include. You’ll also learn how the preferences of major news publishers vary from niche blogs and specialty sites.

Kelsey is the VP of Marketing at Frac.tl and is a regular contributor to Marketing Land, HubSpot, and The Harvard Business Review. Ryan is the Promotions Supervisor at Frac.tl and oversees a team of media relations specialists that regularly earn placements on sites like Upworthy and The Atlantic.

We have more webinars planned in the near future. If you have feedback or ideas on who you’d like to see or which topics you’d like covered, please email me at stephanie at buzzstream dot com. We hope to see you on the 9th!

Here’s the link to sign up for the webinar.

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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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How to Manage Your Professional Contacts with BuzzStream

BuzzStream is (mainly) a CRM tool for outreach teams, but it can also be used to keep track of your professional contacts. Whether you’re looking to nurture leads or grow your personal brand, it’s a handy tool to have on your side. Take a look:


Here are just a few of the things that BuzzStream can help you do:

  • Keep track of names, faces, bios, and contact information
  • Send emails and set follow-up reminders
  • Filter contacts by location to see who’s located where
  • Highlight content and people from websites in your account

Using the BuzzMarker

The BuzzMarker Chrome Extension brings your BuzzStream account with you, everywhere you go on the web. Use it when you’re looking at websites or social profiles for a refresher on bios, history, and contact information. You can also edit contact details and take notes from the BuzzMarker.

BuzzMarker

 

BuzzStream’s Contact Highlighter

The BuzzMarker includes a tool that highlights people and content from websites in your BuzzStream account. You can use it almost anywhere — looking at a list of speakers on a conference agenda, viewing a long list of posts on a social network, using tools like FollowerWonk or BuzzSumo, or checking out search results. It can serve as a nice reminder of who you already know and who you need to meet. When you’re struggling with what to share on Twitter, it can help you quickly find posts from the people you’re trying to build relationships with.

Contact highlighter

 

Customizing Your Account

You can customize BuzzStream to include the fields you care about. You can create custom tags to track the industries your contacts are in. You can add a drop down menu to track the quality of the contact or your relationship stage. You can take note of the conferences where you’ve run into your contacts. The sky’s the limit on what you can track.

Custom Fields

 

So, though BuzzStream is primarily a CRM for outreach teams, it can be a nifty tool for agencies and people looking to advance their career. If you have your own BuzzStream hacks or tips, we’d love to hear about them. Share in the comments below or tweet them to @buzzstream.

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A 9-Step Crash Course on Content Distribution

Today’s post comes from Ritika Puri. In addition to sharing PR and content tips on the BuzzStream blog, Ritika has written for Forbes, The Next Web, Business Insider, and American Express OPEN Forum.

Content marketing is a customer acquisition powertool. The concept is simple — inspire, engage, and delight audiences through great storytelling. Write compelling, heartfelt blog posts. Create beautiful infographics. Produce never-before-seen e-books and guides. Delight your audiences, and pour your humanity into your brand.

It sounds simple, right? Produce great content, and you’re set.

Not quite.

The competition for audience attention has never been more cutthroat. More and more brands are jumping into the content ecosystem, with 78% of marketers believing in storytelling as the future of marketing. Meanwhile, human attention spans are getting shorter — goldfish are putting us to shame.

In addition to creating amazing content, your marketing team needs to build out a thoughtful and high-impact distribution strategy. Rely on this guide for the ultimate crash course.

 

1. Content Syndication

It takes time to build and grow your audience. One way to kickstart the process is to syndicate your content with established media channels. First, publish your content on your own blog. Then, pitch the story to editors at bigger publishers to redistribute.

Here is an example of a blog post on Coworks that was recently syndicated with The Next Web. The Coworks blog, at the time of syndication, was only 1-month-old:

 

Original Post on the Coworks Blog

 

TNWPost Syndicated on The Next Web

 

A syndication strategy takes time and patience to fully develop. Editorial relationships are tough to build, especially for brands. Prove to editors that you’re committed to delivering value. Keep networking, and keep asking. Syndication is a business development art — persistence and creativity are key.

 

2. Email Marketing

It’s unlikely that audiences will be visiting your blog (and content) on a regular basis. There is so much content on the web, and yours is likely to slip through the cracks.

The most effective way to reach consumers 1:1 is through email. When you publish a blog post, send your email subscribers a short-and-sweet snippet to tell them that you’ve published something awesome. Include a bold call-to-action (CTA) back to your blog to drive consistent traffic.

Here is an example email that promotes an article on the Coworks blog:

Email

Roughly one-in-ten users who opened our emails clicked through to finish reading the article on the Coworks blog:

GA

Visits from email about the post

Pay attention to open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates to learn how audience respond to and engage with your content. These data points will help you optimize your strategy.

 

3. Client Service Teams

Content is a tool for building relationships at scale. Your marketing team’s blog posts, infographics, videos, and ebooks can help spark natural conversations between sales teams and prospective clients.

These conversations provide a low-touch, yet high-impact say to say hello — “just because.” In some cases these “hellos” may materialize into strategic upselling opportunities.

Marketing teams should build feedback loops with account management, sales, and customer service reps — these teams are at the front-lines of your organization and are powerful distribution engines.

 

4. Paid Channel Advertising

Did your company recently publish an e-book or guide? Are you looking to generate leads? Paid channel advertisements can help you connect this long-form content with mid-funnel audiences. Here is what you do:

  • Step 1: Drive traffic to your website organically.
  • Step 2: Retarget these visitors on Facebook and AdSense with a CTA to your free e-book.
  • Step 3: Set-up a landing page to capture leads.

On Facebook, for instance, you can create ‘Lookalike audiences’ based on your existing CRM database — prospects who fit the same demographic and interest-based profiles of your most engaged customers.

Here is an example ad from General Assembly, a company that aims to democratize education. The company is promoting a free trial of its online content program.

Take a look at the paid channel ad:

Paid

…. and the corresponding landing page:

GenAssembly Landing page for paid social ad.

 

5. Social Visuals

You already know that Facebook and Twitter are invaluable channels for promoting your content. The challenge, however, is that these markets are saturated.

It’s crucial to give your tweets and status updates a ‘visual edge’ — to outsmart the crowd in capturing fleeting audience attention spans.

Be sure to include compelling images with your social media updates:

image Social updates with compelling images stand out in feeds.

 

6. Hashtags

Tap into existing conversations through #hashtags related to your content. Use hashtags strategically by pinpointing what’s trending and by tagging keywords in your tweets and status updates.

TV Series Doctor Who does this well:

DW

Doctor Who page post on Facebook

 

DW2

BBC network uses same #DoctorWho hashtag. 

 

7. Your Immediate Network

If you’re publishing a particularly meaningful piece of content, ask your network to promote it 1:1.  These could be offline and online networks. As an example, take a look at this blog post on Clarity.fm, which features the story of volcanologist turned nonprofit entrepreneur Jess Pelaez:

 Wisdom

As you can see, her interview received hundreds of shares. Her secret? It’s no secret at all — it’s her amazing network.

Jess does not have thousands of fans and followers — and neither does her nonprofit, Blueprint Earth (at least, not yet).

What she did, to promote this article, was to reach out to her network, which consists of scientific and geological associations. These groups promoted this article to their audiences. This promotion strategy helped drive visitors to the Clarity article.

 

8. Your Extended Network

Thanks to social media, today’s marketers are continuously in touch with anyone and everyone. Maybe you have thousands of LinkedIn connections. Maybe you’re an avid blogger who enjoys publishing on industry sites.

In either case LinkedIn is a platform that can help you get the word out to key communities in your industry —  in more ways than one.

When you publish your content on your blog, you can very easily promote it through the LinkedIn groups that you’re a part of:

LinkedIn

Promoting Content on LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is also opening up its influencer program — a platform for writing content within LinkedIn — to the general public. If you’d like, you can re-publish your own content through these channels for more eyeballs (like Danny Wong did here, with this example from Coworks):

Wong

Original blog post

 

Wong2

Republished on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s technology will help match these articles to new audiences, potentially driving high pageviews. Make sure to link back to the original article on your site:

takeaway

Post links back to original article.

 

9. Build Distribution into Your Content

Embeddable ‘click to tweet’ features and community interviews can help accelerate this process. Here is an example of an article of Clarity.fm that generated thousands of shares. Why?

  • The content was awesome, with a compelling human-interest element
  • The content was community-generated
  • The content was very easy to share, with integrated tweets

With natural engagement comes organic distribution:

C2T

Building in content distribution using Click to Tweet. 

 

Final Thoughts

Opportunities for distribution are limitless. Depending on your business model, there are incredibly opportunities to get your content out to the public, in a high-impact way.

You just need to scratch beneath the surface to look for the ‘less than obvious’ and ‘less than clear’ paths. These distribution touchpoints will be key opportunities to outrun the crowds and outsmart the noise.

What is your company’s approach to content distribution? How is it creative? You pick #10 to add to this list.

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17 PR Professionals Share Their Best Pitching Tips

Today’s post comes from BuzzStream friend, Ritika Puri, a data-lover and marketer turned entrepreneur and writer. Ritika works with content marketers to build lead pipelines and has written for Forbes, The Next Web, Business Insider, and American Express OPEN Forum.

Journalists and marketers are in strong positions to help each other succeed. Marketers strive to build brand awareness by telling powerful stories. Journalists look to educate and entertain audiences about trending topics.

The challenge, however, is that the media landscape is flooded — and that these core connections can sometimes slip through the cracks.

I’m in a unique position where I sit on both sides of the fence as a journalist and a marketer. Let me tell you — both sides are equally challenging. As a marketer, I worry that busy journalists aren’t receiving my messages. As a journalist, I worry that potentially great stories are slipping by my attention.

Here is a screenshot from Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a wire service that I use to connect with PR professionals for story ideas:

 

HARO

Help a Reporter Out

 

It’s nearly impossible to respond to all of these potentially great pitches. Similarly, when I’m wearing my marketing hat, I know that journalists on the other side of the computer screen are going through the same pain points that I am.

I reached out to some of the smartest PR minds in the marketing industry to learn about their best pitching tips. Here is what they recommend:

 

1. Be Short. Be Straight. Get Out of the Way.

Get to the point. Don’t use these super long emails about the company. Tell the story of why its important to the writer’s readership within the first sentence. 

Be straight – aka have a good angle that shows you understand what makes news.

 Once you have them, leave them alone to do their job and only help where you can. Stop checking in every few hours.

Matt Braun, Director of Public Relations at Hanson Dodge Creative

 

2. Be Ready for Business

Shaun Walker

Do not leave your pitch half-baked and be ready to answer questions. Have the pitch ready to go as if the reporter will want to run it immediately. The less groundwork a reporter has the do for your story the more likely they are to use it.

Shaun Walker, Creative Director at HERO Farm

 

 

3. Be Relevant

Drew Tybus

Think beyond just what you (or your client) wants to say, and think about how it fits into a larger trend. Telling a reporter about your client’s new product/service will be a much harder sell than talking to them about a new trend that your client is a part of.

When we read news as consumers, unless it’s a straight product review, we never really see feature stories glowing about one brand.

Drew Tybus, VP of Brand Marketing at Porter Novelli

 

4. Seek to Add Value

Don’t be a moocher, be a resource too! Most of the time us PR people are asking from something and not providing additional value back. Help with the stories that you are asking the reporters to create. That may mean having additional resources other than just your client or providing references for journalists stories.

The more you can help them, the more they can see you as a partner and resources. In my experience, if you are willing to help put the pieces together and make the story well-rounded, journalists respond much better and you can develop a genuine partnership with the media.

Ronjini Mukhopadhyay,Owner at The Silver Telegram

 

5. Challenge Yourself to Get Loud

Heather Anne Carson

Switch things up and practice saying your pitch out loud. If it sounds like BS when you read it, don’t send it.  The key to getting your pitch from email to reality is to be authentic — if you can’t even stand the sound of your voice delivering it, chances are, the journalist won’t either. 

Heather Anne Carson, Co-founder at Onboardly

 

 

6. Walk the Line

Breanna Loury

My favorite pitching tip, and one that works quite well, is to seek out journalists who talk about my client’s competitors, find out what they like about them, and then find ways that our product/service trumps our competitor.

Brenna Loury, Owner at Loury PR

 

 

7. Be Relentlessly Engaging

Abesi Manyando

Make the writer or news producer fall in love with your pitch. General pitches generally don’t get landed. Make sure that your pitch is well written and colorful enough to make your client stand out.

A friend of mine who is an Entertainment Editor for a top newspaper once said that your pitch has to be as engaging as the story the journalist will write.

–Abesi Manyando, President and Creative Director at Abesi Public Relations

 

8. Ask First, Pitch Second

Crystal Richard

Whenever I identify a new journalist I’d like to pitch, I always send them a short email to introduce myself and what we do at Onboardly first. I’ll ask if it’s cool if I send over a few high level bullet points on what our clients are working on that may fit their beat.

This short but warm intro is a great way to gauge their interest before I later send the pitch and has resulted in some great relationships with the media.

Crystal Richard, Director of PR at Onboardly

 

9. Build a Social Media Rapport

Brittany Berger

My favorite pitching tip is to connect with the reporter on social media, as well. This works because their inbox is flooded with names of they don’t recognize.

Connecting with them on social media and interacting with their posts on a regular basis will get your name into their heads, so that when your pitches land in their inbox, they recognize your name.

Brittany Berger, Social Media and Content Marketing Coordinator at eZanga

 

10. Be Personable

Suzet Laboy Perez

In our company, we believe that the key to a successful pitch is that–to  really cater to the needs of the reporter and to make it personal. You  should be a resource not a burden.

With that in mind, it’s also really  important to nurture the relationships behind your screen. Take the time to get to know reporters, understand their needs, and how you can best help them.

Yes, reporters are incredibly busy, but if you can, take the time to meet them in person, offer to meet them near their office/preferred place of business/industry conference in real time and life. We’ve noticed that the most successful pitches evolve from that.

Suset Laboy Perez, Owner at LalaboyPR

 

11. Pitch the Story, not the Product

Nick Brennan

Pitch the story, not the product. Writers are looking for pitches that offer a story they can put their own spin on.

If all you provide is information with no story, you offer nothing to hook the writer, which means you also offer nothing the writer can see hooking their readers.

Nick Brennan, Vice President at Janice McCafferty PR

 

12. Incorporate Calls to Action

Ashley Halberstadt

End every pitch with a clear call to action that asks a question. The question prompts the recipient to respond, where a statement like “Please let me know” is anticlimactic and doesn’t motivate the reader to reply.

 –Ashley Halberstadt, Director of Media Relations at Digital Relevance

 

 

13. Don’t Be a Spammer

I convince clients the shotgun approach- where firms mass blast their pitch to thousands of reporters- the majority of which will ignore the pitch — is wrong and does not generate a return on investment.

Instead, pitch individual reporters with customized ideas that provide real value for the journalist’s readers.

Nick Winkler, Owner at The Winkler Group

 

14. Engage Authentically

Laura Knapp

As a PR pro, once you’ve established a relationship – in person or via  email, it is okay to follow that journalist on various social media channels. Don’t stalk them but, instead, engage with them authentically.

 –Laura Knapp, Social Spotlight Media

 

 

15. Proceed with Structure

Danya Bushey

Craft an outline of the story for the writer. Don’t just tell them they should cover your client. Let the writer know who they can interview (both internal to your client and external if that makes sense), provide relevant website links, attach photos or videos, and offer ideas for images.

Danya Bushey, President at Carte Blanche Marketing

 

 

16. Build Relationships

Tanya Sammis

It’s two-fold: 1. Make a relationship and 2. Say thank you. Media relations is about relationships. Staff members, trainees, interns and others have asked me how I have had success with media, and I tell them that the key truly is cultivating a genuine relationship.

Don’t always ask, request and expect things from your friends in the media. Show interest in the stories they tell, get to know them, engage with them, then pitch stories when they are relevant and newsworthy.

Members of the media are much more likely to listen to you or read your pitch when you have taken the time to get to know them and where their interests lie. On the latter, ALWAYS say thank you.

Whether they accept the pitch or not, thank them for their time. Our team loves sending handwritten thank you notes to the folks in the media for any mention or story they do for our clients. Gratitude matters.

Tanya Sammis, Co-owner at Sammis & Ochoa

 

17. Think Big-Picture

Lauren Lewis PR is about much more than an initial placement in the media. It is about building and maintaining relationships with key media, when you have a story to pitch as well as when you don’t.

 –Lauren Lewis, Owner at Lauren Lewis Public Relations and Communications

 

Your Thoughts

What PR lessons have you learned the hard way? What valuable tip would you share with emerging leaders in the space? You pick #18 on this list. Leave us a note in the comments section below.

 
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Finding and Claiming Links for Content

You can find opportunities to claim links for your content (like ebooks and infographics) similarly to how you find unlinked mentions and links to reclaim for your brand. Acquiring all the links you deserve can move the needle on search and traffic. Here are three common missed opportunities and fixes for each.

Missed Opportunities Image via Lel4nd on Flickr

Missed Opportunity #1: Only Searching for Your Content’s Title

Fix: Also look for the titles that other sites give your content.

When sites like Mashable and HuffPo pick up your content, they’ll usually change the headline to suit their audiences. Then, when smaller sites pick up stories from those big players, they use the same wording.

Sometimes, the smaller sites do their homework and credit you by linking to your original content, but often they credit the sites like Mashable and HuffPo instead.

How to find these opportunities: Look at the post titles and headings that big sites use to describe your content and enter them into a tool like Fresh Web Explorer.

 

Fresh Web Explorer

Here’s an example of a Fresh Web Explorer unlinked mention search using the terms that big sites used to describe this Oscar dress infographic

 

How to reach out: Simply thank the site owner for sharing your content and ask if they’d be kind enough to credit the original with a link back. Whenever you can, use this outreach as an opportunity to build a relationship. Share the post on your own social media channels and offer to ping the blogger when you release similar content in the future.

 

Missed Opportunity #2: Ignoring Sub-Sections and Data Points

Fix: Looking for cropped versions and unique text, too.

 

If you have very large visual content, bloggers and journalists will likely take screenshots and create smaller versions that better fit their blogs’ layouts (or things like Twitter’s 2:1 aspect ratio). As you’re doing your own reporting roundup, look out for these smaller clips.

 

Google Analytics

For example, Google Analytics created a 2:1 image of a recent infographic to optimize a tweet.

 

How to find these opportunities: Do a reverse image search or set an Image Raider alert to find instances of bloggers using the cropped images. Hit the Buzzmarker to check for a link on those pages (or manually check using “View Page Source”).

In you have a lot of text content: If you did original research, look for instances of people sharing your data points and not crediting you.

In you created sub-content like diagrams: Run reverse image searches on those, too.

How to reach out: Again, a polite thank you and request for credit will serve you well.

 

Missed Opportunity #3: Forgetting about International

Fix: Get familiar with Google’s other TLDs.

Even content with a lot of english text can get picked up by non-english sites. Here, too, are many opportunities to earn high-authority links.

 

Infographic

Image of english infographic on non-english site.

 

How to find these opportunities: Run reverse image searches on domains like Google.es and Google.de to find these sites. (If you’re using Chrome, you can hit the “translate” button to understand what the sites are about.) Then hit the Buzzmarker or view page source to check for links.

How to reach out: Since this outreach is short and simple, translation tools work relatively well. However, investing a few dollars in a service like Gengo can give you a much better template to work from (which you can save and use in the future, too).

 

Learn More about Unlinked Mentions and Link Reclamation:

Link Reclamation Whiteboard Friday by Ross Hudgens of Siege Media
Guide to Using Unlinked Brand Mentions for Link Acquisition by Kiala Strong on Moz
Reclaiming Links to Your Infographics and Creative Common Images by Kristi Hines on iAcquire
Monitoring Your Brand — Unlinked Mentions by Sarah Gurbach of SEER Interactive
Link Building 101: Finding Web Mentions by Jon Ball of PageOnePower

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LinkLove 2013 – a Link Building Conference By Distilled

linklove

LinkLove London, the link building conference, is coming up fast, and today we have a discount code for attendees.

What is LinkLove?

LinkLove is (to our knowledge) the only conference solely devoted to link building and link analysis.  The conference takes place on Friday the 15th of March at The Brewery in London. 

You can hear from industry leaders like:

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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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Major Product Update: New User Interface

We’re excited to announce that the new BuzzStream user interface is now live. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback to us over the past few weeks!

We revamped the UI to make the app more visually appealing (obviously), but that was only one factor in our decision to do this. The deciding factor was that we were finding that a significant amount of our development effort was focused on supporting custom UI components. We’ve invested pretty heavily in back-end infrastructure designed to increase development speed, but this was the one area that was slowing us down. By moving to a new UI, we’re now leveraging third party UI toolkits (mostly open source) that will address this bottleneck. These toolkits also let us retire some code that was impacting performance. So not only does BuzzStream look better, it should be faster and new features should come out even quicker…a nice three-fer. :)   

What’s Changed

We’ve tried to be careful to avoid major changes to the interface (most capabilities are still accessed in the same way), but there are some changes. Let’s take a look.

Changes to the Navigation

One of the biggest problems that we saw in usability tests was that people would have trouble finding contacts because they weren’t aware which project they were in. To help with this, we’ve moved the Projects dropdown to the far left-hand corner of the app and made it more visible. You’ll see this change if you have projects enabled.

BuzzStream Projects selector

 We’ve also reduced our navigation from two levels down to one level. In the old interface, your list of People, Media Outlets and Link Partners was housed within the ‘Contacts’ section. We’ve eliminated ‘Contacts’ and placed them at the top of the navigation. 

 BuzzStream navigation

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