What You’ll Learn Today
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to find new opportunities – like product review opportunities, guest post placements, resources pages, and more – using BuzzStream Discovery and BuzzStream’s prospecting module. Then you’ll qualify them, and finally add them to your BuzzStream project – where you’re ready to take action on them.
Table of Contents
- Finding new opportunities using BuzzStream Discovery
- Finding new opportunities using the prospecting tool
Before you start looking for placements and marketing opportunities, take a step back and think about what you’re trying to accomplish.
Are you trying to build your brand? Then you want to focus on being anywhere with a taste-making audience and a big reach.
Are you trying to build links for search engine visibility? You’ll want to get guest posts across the middle-level sites and focus on getting links to the right pages on your site.
Are you trying to drive direct, immediate sales? Then you’ll want to go after product reviews and other things that feature your products heavily.
Let’s use an example: We’re trying to drive search engine visibility for a company that makes data analysis and statistics software. (The company’s website already has a lot of search-optimized pages and long tail content, so more quality links will help their site gain more organic traffic.)
Now that you know what you’re trying to accomplish, you can begin to define what promotion opportunities you’re looking for.
You might find it helpful to write a sentence or two about the different types of opportunities you’re looking for.
For example, some promotion opportunities are:
- Online Marketing Blogs that Review Tools and Have Highly Engaged Subscribers
- Sites with Strong Readership in Affluent Moms and Post Infographics
- Gadget Blogs with a DA > 30 that Have Give-Aways
- Travel Blogs that Accept Guest Posts and Allow Rich Anchor Text Links
If you write down what sort of promotional opportunity you’re looking for before you start prospecting, you’ll find the whole process becomes much easier.
Returning to our example, the best opportunities, in this case, are going to be highly curated pages on authoritative domains – things like libraries, government sites, university sites, and other high quality industry resources. The best pages won’t have too many other links, but because these pages often form the seeds of future resources pages and lead to second degree links, anything that’s curated and relevant will be effective.
Finding new opportunities with BuzzStream Discovery
Why use Discovery?
BuzzStream Discovery gives you access to BuzzStream’s database of influencers to easily find bloggers who write about topics that are relevant to your pitch. To find relevant bloggers, simply search a keyword or phrase. No knowledge of query-writing needed.
Once you’ve opened BuzzStream Discovery, type in your keyword. For our example, I’ll type in “data science.” Note you have some advanced operators you can use while searching in Discovery. They are:
- Site – Find influencers who write for a specific website. Example, site:mashable.com
- Intitle – Search content with a specific title or headline. Example, intitle:guide
- Inbio – Search through authors with keywords in their bios. Example, inbio:content
- Name – Find authors with a specific name. Example, name:”Paul May”
- Twitter – Find authors related to a specific twitter handle. Example, twitter:paulmay
- Quoted search – Quote your keywords if you want to search our database for that combination exactly. You can also apply this to our other advanced operators. Example, “link building guide”
Now you have a list of influencers who have written about your keyword. In this case, BuzzStream found 399 pages worth of bloggers who write about data science. As great as that is, it’s also way too many to go through. That’s why we’ll want to filter our list down using the filters on the left of the screen.
Since we need authoritative domains in this example, we’ll filter for influencers who write for websites with a domain authority of at least 40.
Now we’re only seeing influencers who write about data science for authoritative domains.
If you have additional criteria like number of Twitter followers, or minimum update frequency, you can continue filtering down your list. Otherwise, it’s time to start digging in.
Now it’s time to do our research and add the best leads to our database.
For every influencer who appears in your Discovery results page, you’ll see:
- Twitter handle
- Twitter bio
- Domains they write for
- Categories that they write for
- The last three articles they’ve written that address the subject you searched for, as well as how many times those articles have been shared on social
If you can tell that an influencer is a good fit with this information, you can click the Add to project button to add them to your database.
If you’d like to learn more before deciding, you can click on View full profile.
Here at an influencer’s profile, you’ll be able to see and search through all of the content they’ve written, as well as see how engaged their audience is, and how active they are.
In the Footprint tab, you’ll find a list of all of the domains they’ve written for, how many times they’ve written for them, and, on average, how many shares they get per post.
In the Network tab, you’ll see who an influencer is influenced by (the green dots), and who they influence (the blue dots).
One way you can use this tab is to look up an influencer who you already have a relationship with, see who they influence, then reach out to them, being sure to name-drop the original influencer.
Once you’ve read through an influencer’s profile, you can add them to your project if they’re a good fit, then continue working your way down your Discovery results page.
Finding new opportunities with the prospecting tool
Why Use Prospecting?
While importing curated lists like the lists from Alltop is a good start, sometimes you’re looking for specific opportunities – like infographic placements or product reviews. Curated lists often aren’t the best way to find specific types of opportunities that align with your content & linkable assets.
Instead, you can use BuzzStream to look for the unique patterns – called ‘footprints’ – these opportunities generate, and find great untouched gems.
Searching for footprints and using prospecting queries is a key difference between experienced and amateur link development professionals – typically professionals make heavy use of prospecting queries to save time and source otherwise hidden opportunities.
Now that you’ve figured out what you’re looking for, you can create a prospecting query to find it.
Good prospecting searches consist of two elements:
- Keywords, which will return a specific subject – examples include “motorcycle” “east asia travel”, and “frugal”.
- Footprints, which are a specific pattern a type of opportunity creates – examples include “inurl:infographics” “’Write for Us’ AND ‘Become a Contributor’” and “intitle: (keyword) reviews”.
Sometimes these can be intermingled – and sometimes queries can have just footprints, or just keywords, but until you become a prospecting query ninja, think of them as having both parts.
It can take some time to get used to writing good prospecting queries – it’s both an art and a science. As you write more queries and view their results, you’ll get better and better, and eventually become a prospecting ninja.
How to Select Your Keywords
Use keywords related to the sort of opportunity you’re looking for. Often, you’ll find it more valuable to ‘niche down’ – and instead of looking for ‘travel blogs’, look for something more specific like ‘budget travel in SE Asia’ or bloggers enthusiastic about ‘intermittent fasting’ instead of ‘weight loss and fitness’.
Think like a marketer and ask yourself, “What words would this person use to describe themselves? How would they pitch their blog to someone else in their niche?”
For example, while you might think of someone as a ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ blogger, they might describe themselves as a parenting blogger. So you’d use “Parenting + Dad” as your keyword phrase.
One issue that trips up new prospecting query creators is looking for transactional keywords, rather than trying to find placement opportunities. For example, someone building links for a car insurance site will plug in “Car Insurance” instead of “Car Maintenance inurl:category/guest”.
Searching for transactional keywords largely finds competitor sites, who are unlikely to link to your search landing pages.
How to Select Footprints
Footprints are patterns indicative of the opportunities you’re looking for. For example, having many posts with ‘INFOGRAPHIC’ in the title means the site posts infographics.
Another example is URL structures of popular content management systems – if a blogger hosts a lot of guest posts, they may have a section on their site where the URL section matches “category/guest” or “author/guest”, so you can look for sites that have both your keywords and these structures.
One helpful tool in creating footprints are:
These are called Advanced Operators, and they tell Google (via BuzzStream) to look for a specific pattern, like words in the title of an article, or in the url.
There are lots of advanced operators, and many new ones are found as old ones are depreciated. For a full list, check out the Advancer Operators for Web Search reference or the Search Operators list on GoogleGuide.
Some of the most useful advanced operators for prospecting are:
- Inurl: This operator shows you only results with that specific phrase in the URL. If there are common URL patterns around your opportunities, this is a great query to use.
- * (asterisk): The asterisk is a ‘Fill in the blanks’ character. (MORE)
- Intitle: This operator brings back words from the title of the article – it can be useful for finding review and giveaway opportunities.
- Boolean Operators: OR, -, AND: Sometimes you’ll find yourself looking for opportunities where the name coincides with something else on the internet – like looking for a an opportunity that shares a name with a song. You could use Boolean operators to specifically exclude the name of the band, or specifically include another keyword so you could find relevant opportunities.
Creating great queries is both an art and a science – and practice definitely makes perfect.
Lists of Footprints
BuzzStream has a link building query generator tool that can be good for generating ideas and potential queries.
Some of our favorite footprints are:
- Guest Post Queries
- KEYWORD inurl:category/guest
- KEYWORD “Write for Us”
- KEYWORD Become a Contributor
- Product Review Queries
- COMPETITORPRODUCT intitle:Review
- COMPETITORPRODUCT comparison
- COMPETITORPRODUCT ratings
- Contest Queries
- KEYWORD contest intitle:submit
- KEYWORD giveaways intitle:submit
- KEYWORD sweeps* intitle:submit
- Content Promoter Queries
- CATEGORYKEYWORD “round up”
- CATEGORYKEYWORD “of the week”
- CATEGORYKEYWORD “Links of the week”
- “Daily Recap” CATEGORYKEYWORD
- “Post roundup” CATEGORYKEYWORD
- “Blog Roundup” CATEGORYKEYWORD
- “Posts of the day” CATEGORYKEYWORD
- “Posts of the Week” CATEGORYKEYWORD
- Resource/Links Page Queries
- KEYWORD inurl:resources
- KEYWORD intitle:”other resources”
- KEYWORD “helpful links”
Resources for Queries
There are tons of query resources out there on the internet – you can find some great queries through some of these query generators:
These posts have some great queries and tips:
- Beginner’s Guide to Link Prospecting Using Google Search by Garrett French
- Improve Your Link Prospecting with Reductive Queries by Ross Hudgens
- 21 Link Builders Share Advanced Link Building Queries by Garrett French
- Using BuzzStream for Link Prospecting by Paddy Moogan
- Enterprise Link Prospecting: Scalable Ways to Source Link Opportunities by Matt Gratt
- Smart Linkbuilding Queries for Any Industry by Adam Melson
- 9 Actionable Tips for Link Prospecting by Paul Rogers
- Rapid Fire Link Building Tips for Your Content by Ross Hudgens
Returning to our example, I’m looking for data analysis and statistics resource pages. So I’ll start by trying some queries like:
Data analysis resources
Data analysis inurl:resources
Test your queries before you add them to the prospecting module. Do they return good opportunities? OR do you see a lot of spammy junk? If it looks like the query returns good results, go ahead and proceed to the next session: using BuzzStream to run your queries.
You should plug each of your queries into Google and take a quick look at the SERP – does it look like it’s full of good opportunities? Or do you wonder if your query is working?
If it doesn’t look like your query is working, take some time to reformulate it before you plug it into BuzzStream. Often it’s easy to get queries wrong, especially with advanced operators – a misplaced space or colon can be the difference between a great query and an ineffective one.
In the data analysis example, I notice that the ‘Data Analysis Resources’ queries don’t seem to be generating the same quality of results as the statistics queries, so I’ll remove those. I also notice that a lot of sites seem to be using the phrase “Data Science” so I’ll add that keyword to my footprints.
Now that you’ve created and tested your queries, it’s time to have BuzzStream do the work of running them, deduplicating them, and gathering metrics for you.
In your BuzzStream account, click on the Add Websites dropdown. Then select Create New Prospecting Profile under Link Prospecting:
This will open the Add New Prospecting Profile Screen:
Start by naming your prospecting profile. It can be helpful to add a number to it – so you might want to call it “Fashion Guest Posts #1” or something similar – so when you need to try new queries you have some differentiation.
Next, copy your queries into the Prospecting Searches box:
You can select from these optional settings.
You can choose which country’s results you’d like to target. (This uses the GL= parameter on Google.com)
Retrieve New Results Weekly
BuzzStream can re-run these searches every week and send you the new results. If you’re looking for opportunities as they emerge, this can be really useful. (For example, if a blog writes about your competitor or reviews a partner product, you’ll be alerted.)
Send Notifications When New Results Are Discovered
This option determines who the digest email is sent to – if a specific team member is in charge of ongoing work on a campaign, you can have them sent the results.
In this example, the stock settings are fine, so go ahead and hit Save, and BuzzStream will do its work.
At this point, BuzzStream is going to collect a bunch of information for you, so it may take a couple of minutes. This is an excellent time to treat yourself to a soda, a cup of coffee, or something more exotic (e.g., a shirley temple, a scotch and water, a glass of buttermilk, a white russian, a jaegerbomb, a sasparilla, a flaming dr. pepper,…well, you get the idea). You choose the drink…we’re not ones to judge.
Once you’re back, press refresh, and you should see the results BuzzStream found for you.
You should see something like this:
- Performed these searches and gathered the top 40 results
- Deduplicated results and collated them by website
- Found contact information like emails, Twitter handles, phone numbers, and Facebook pages
- Gathered SEO Metrics like Domain Authority and PageRank
All while you were away for a couple of minutes. Not bad, right?
If you’re having trouble finding your results, you can find the results from each of your Prospecting Profiles under the Link Prospecting menu in Add Websites:
Now that BuzzStream has run your queries for you, it’s time to look through these opportunities to see if they’re good opportunities that will help accomplish your goals.
What Makes a Site Qualified?
Whether a site is qualified or not ultimately will depend on your goals and what sort of opportunities you’re looking for.
Some factors many people use for qualification are:
- Is the site well-designed? Or is it hastily thrown up from a stock template?
- Does the site seem to be run by real people with names and interests? Or is it operated by admin, who might be a robot?
- Does the site have a social following on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, or another network appropriate for its vertical?
- Does the site have a strongly relevant audience (if you’re trying to deliver sales or build your brand in a specific segment) ?
- Does the site have certain SEO authority metrics, like a Domain Authority above 30?
- Does the site sell paid links, link to a number of irrelevant sites, link to bad neighborhoods, or participate in other questionable SEO practices?
If you want to know more about link qualification, some resources you might want to check out are:
- What Metrics Do You Look at to Validate Potential Link Partners by Distilled
- The Definitive Guide to Qualifying a Link Prospect by Adria Saracino
- 5 Tips for Faster Link Qualification by Garrett French
Qualifying Prospects and Adding Them to Projects
Sites found through the prospecting module aren’t added to your BuzzStream project until they’re marked as approved. Until then, they sit in the Prospecting Module.
To mark a prospect as qualified, click the ‘Thumbs Up’ icon. By contrast, you can reject a prospect by selecting the ‘Thumbs Down’ icon. You can also Blacklist prospects, which means they’ll never appear in prospecting results again.
And that’s how you find and qualify new link opportunities with BuzzStream.
You’ve made it through all four BuzzStream University lessons – great job. If you want to check out how to use BuzzStream with Moz, AHrefs, or BuzzSumo, be sure to check out those tutorials on the BuzzStream University page.