Using Search Operators to Find Engagement, Content, & PR Opportunities

Today’s guest post comes from Anthony J. Pensabene, known on the Mean Streets of Atlantic City as the Content Muse. @content_muse works as a digital writer and PR person.  Read more from him at as well as his blog, content muse.  Anthony spends free time as a summer-time boardwalk vigilante, amateur laser tag player, and investor in smiles. His thoughts and opinions are those of his Shakespeare action figure, Willie.

I’ve been on a realist kick lately, since SEO is now dead.

Let’s consider how I, a PR person, may integrate Buzzstream’s relation management tools and search operators, aligning them with things I’m currently working on.

Now that SEO is all growns up, graduating to Content Marketing (with a capital C.M.), we’re publishing MOAR content! 

Tracking Content Performance

However, if paying and investing time in creation, curate, reprise, reintroduce, or continuously remind the public.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do a site search of your blog.  (Here’s an example of BuzzStream’s posts, eliminating category pages – [ inurl:blog –category])
  • Keep track of reception, using Open Site Explorer, setting a date on a monthly basis, noting reception metrics, such as shares and incoming links to the content.  If you’re looking to vary your anchor text, use advanced features to tailor your downloaded report for links hosting particular anchors.  (In some scenarios, one can go back, inquiring about switching leveraged anchors.)

open site explorer


Who commented on the content?  Take note.  Those people, in part, are advocates of the post, whether agreeing or disagreeing with its sentiments.  They thought enough to read and discuss.  Keep a running log of your advocates.  (I’ve used a screen-shot of someone’s comment as a post’s preferred image, or to raise engagement when sharing on Google Plus.)

image 2

Let’s say we want to take notice of existing comments on the BuzzStream blog.  Taking note of BuzzStream’s commenting system semantics, I’d use the following operation:

[site: “2013 at”]

I’m not privy to BuzzStream’s WordPress back end, (BuzzStream’s got back!), but if so, I’d throw a number of comments (perhaps due to each sub category) into a word map, like Wordle, peering into the semantics of comments and any well-leveraged (wait for it) buzzwords.

(Thanks to Dan Shure for giving me word-cloud ideas.  For example, I’ve been using it to take a look at leveraged opinions within Yelp reviews.)


Outreach is difficult.  There are no guarantees a reporter or editor will agree to an inclusion, guest post, reference, gathered data, or any other placement.  Like dating within the singles scene, a number of reasons for rejection exist (some your fault and some not), but don’t get discouraged.  Play on, player.

I recently began research related to vacationing, and specifically, cabin rentals in the Smoky Mountains.

Obviously, I seek exposure from high-quality media outlets, but I can’t guarantee my desires will see fruition.

This is how I would start the process:

Start with what people want to know, or what’s on their minds.  As suggested above, let’s use Yelp combined with Wordle.

I’ve placed a number of reviews aligned with the following search:

[ “cabin rental”+”smoky mountains”]

in Wordle.

word cloud of yelp searches

I’ve highlighted mentions catching my eye, such as:

  • Cooking (Would people rather cook in-house or have places to eat to avoid?)
  • Drive (Do people want a scenic drive to the mountains, or was it a pain in the backend?)
  • Trolley (That’s unique.  Was the trolley an enjoyable element of their stay?  Is there something about trolleys and mountains to further pursue?)
  • Deck (I’ll suspect that’s an accepted amenity? Any kind of decks preferred?  Are there detriments (bugs) to hosting a deck?)

Now we’ve gotten content leads and ideas from Yelp (the people), let’s get more, using Ubersuggest

Don’t use Ubersuggest for web searches alone; take interest in image search as well. 


These are potential content ideas one can pitch to their client.  However, getting clients to agree is facilitated by previous content, especially featured in major media outlets.

google results with PR ideas

I am a bit curious about the Killer Storm.  I see that it is original taken from a CNN article.  Using Buzzstream’s email research tool, I’ll see if I can locate one of two authors.

I find that some of the one of the above author’s stories (mostly collaboration pieces) are featured and mentioned by the handle, @CNNLightYears.

Before I think about pitching some of the reporters or engaging them on Twitter, I will research them a bit.  We could use AllMyTweets to review semantics of this handle’s tweets and discussions, possibly identifying patterns and points of exact interest.

Is it safe to vacation in the Smoky Mountains region?  What if there is an incoming storm?  What are the best ways for a vacationer to prepare/protect family?  These are pressing questions.  Maybe I get my client to produce an infographic, showcasing hazards related to the Smoky Mountains, presenting solutions or ways to avoid accident.

For example, what if you’re hiking and a sudden, severe storm moves in?  Perhaps I could remind the above author of their previous story.  Then, find an informational gap.  Such as:

“I noticed your prior story on the Smoky Mountains involved disasters stemming from falling trees.  I’ve collected a number of storm safety tips, focusing on the Smoky Mountains from experts in the region, and wondering if you believe this would be useful to your readers, it being vacation season at present?”

It’s just one idea of many, which can be formulated through listening, surveying, researching, and finally reaching out to intended media outlets.


  • Keep tabs on your team and produced content.  It’s a shame that hours-worth of a writer’s time is simply shared for one day.  Content pieces are assets.  Assets are supposed to produce ongoing value.  Keep track of your editorial calendar and content advocates.
  • Comments are highly undervalued. Who is commenting on what? Like posts, comments are assets, expressing interest in your content. If you’re letting comments go by without reciprocation or appreciation, you’re not minding given assets.
  • Outreach is a multi-faceted process. Why should the editor or reporter give a shit? It’s not a rude question; they’re minding their readers, protecting their own stories from staleness.  You need to ‘show’ not ‘tell’ why you, clients, and waged information is filling an informational gap, providing value to their readers, which in turn provides value to them.


  • Spook SEO

    Comments are indeed undervalued. Most of the webmasters don’t take the time to answer them. They seem to always justify how they are so busy and they have better things to do than JUST comment.

    They can never be further from the truth. If commenting isn’t really valuable just like how they’re making it out to be, then why on earth are the big time marketers taking their time to comment on their posts and others?

  • Nice one Anthony. You can’t go wrong with search operators. Is it weird that whenever I want to search a site I usually just do “site: keyword”, rather than doing it on the websites themselves? Most sites have such awful search functionality it’s often easier to go via Google.

  • Anthony Pensabene

    thanks for letting lil willie provide some thoughts on here, BuzzStream team. Guest posting is dead.

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