When I get into work, I start my day by looking for mentions of BuzzStream. This isn’t mere vanity (although vanity is certainly involved) – it’s vital to our link building, branding, and evangelism strategy.
As it turns out, this isn’t as easy as it should be. After trying out several different services, I’m back to setting Google to 24 hours and doing brand searches, often with ever-growing strings of “-site:someothersite.com”. (It turns out a lot of people like to call the feeds in their app buzzstreams. Who knew.)
So, I was overjoyed when SEOmoz announced their newest product, Fresh Web Explorer. FWE indexes more than 4 million RSS feeds, and searches for mentions of any term.
It also has a solid set of advanced operators, so you can do things like search for mentions that don’t link, or mentions on a specific site.
And because of the crowdsourced feedback, the product will just get better and better. Finally, a great tool for monitoring your mentions, your competitor’s mentions, mentions of products or executives, and more.
How to Take Action on Brand Mentions
Even the best monitoring search results aren’t useful if you can’t take action on them. So today I’m going to talk about what to do with your mentions, and how to take action on them using BuzzStream so you can achieve great marketing outcomes.
The obvious SEO path is to email people who mention your brand, but don’t link, and ask them to link. You can do this, but it’s not a great outreach email. It’s rarely positioned and persuasive – and typically, there’s not much in it for the blogger. “Hey, will you use your valuable time to go back through your work and add a link to me because… I’d like one?”
The even worse variant of this approach is finding articles that mention your competitors and ask why you weren’t included. (We see our competitors do this sometimes – it doesn’t work well.) That’s not classy – especially if you do it in the comments.
Here are some approaches we take here at BuzzStream to do real marketing (and yes, get SEO link value) based on these brand mention results.
Find Negative Mentions and Ask What Went Wrong
Occasionally, someone writes something like “I found BuzzStream too difficult to use” or “I found it missed the mark for me.” This represents a serious problem for your brand – and the chance to give a wonderful customer experience and turn a detractor into an evangelist.
When I see comments like this, I tend to reach out and ask nicely what went wrong – if they paid and didn’t mean to do so, we’ll offer them a refund, or an additional free trial and an in-person walk-thru.
Care about your customer’s success – not just receiving their invoice – and you’ll find they’ll care about your success as well.
While not everyone can be converted to an evangelist, often marketers can turn detractors into neutral parties – which won’t harm your online reputation.
Thank Positive Mentions and Build a Relationship
If someone mentions your product positively, that’s fantastic. Don’t just take these folks for granted – thank them, add them to your CRM so you can stay in touch, and find out what you can do for them. If you can, surprise them with a friendly phone call, show your gratitude, and listen to any suggestions they have.
Promote Positive Articles
If I, in my daily monitoring work, find an awesome article, I’ll do my best to promote it. I’ll share it from company accounts on social networks like Twitter and Google Plus, as well as send it off to industry curators. Then, more people see it, as well as helping that article gain second-degree links – which will in turn drive more link equity back to my site.
You can tell whoever wrote the original article you’re doing this – or you can let wake up and find their article picked up in publications, an experience not unlike Christmas (or Festivus) morning.
How to Use BuzzStream with Fresh Web Explorer
Now that you know what you’d like to do, you’ll want to go through each mention, categorize it, add the owner to your database, and take action on the mention. While you can do this with any CRM or even an Excel sheet, in our (very biased) opinion, BuzzStream excels at this kind of work. Here’s how you use BuzzStream with the SEOmoz Fresh Web Explorer:
1) Get Your Fresh Web Explorer Results
Start by searching for your brand in Fresh Web Explorer. If you’ve never done this before, set it for 4 weeks. If you’re looking for bran mentions on a consistent basis, you’ll want to do this every week, so set Fresh Web Explorer for once a week.
If your brand is very close to other brands, search for it in quotation marks, or exclude phrases that are close by.
2) Export a .CSV from Fresh Web Explorer
Click that glorious “Export as .CSV” button and get those results in everyone’s favorite file format:
3) Remove the Blank Rows from the .CSV
Before we can import it into BuzzStream, we’ll have to remove some of the extraneous blank rows. (In the future, this step will be unnecessary. Right now, we’re working on porting BuzzStream to a cloud environment so it runs dramatically faster, but after that port, a FWE import is on our list.)
Cut all of these rows, so the row headers from the FWE export are in row 1.
Then, save that file as a .CSV. Name it something memorable – we’ll need it for the next step.
4) Import the Results from Fresh Web Explorer into BuzzStream
Now, we’ll import those results into BuzzStream, where we can then take action on them. Start by selecting “Import from existing file” from the “Add Websites” dropdown:
Then, select ‘Match My CSV’ from the import screen:
Select your modified Fresh Web Explorer CSV and press Upload! (You may want to import them into a new project for this type of monitoring. You can select this from the ‘Show more options’ screen.)
5) Match the Fresh Web Explorer Fields to BuzzStream Fields
BuzzStream does this for you by default – you can just hit “Import these contacts” from the field match screen. If you have a custom field for type of mention (like brand mentioned), you can select it now.
When you press import, BuzzStream automatically looks for contact information, collects metrics, and finds recent content on these sites.
6) Open the Sites in the BuzzBar
Now select all of the sites (from the ‘Select All’ checkbox on the left), and select “View in BuzzBar” from the main navigation.
7) Using the BuzzBar, Go Through Your Mentions and Make Notes
Now you can view every site that’s mentioned you in the BuzzBar. From the BuzzBar, you can take notes, tag sites, select custom fields, qualify sites, and more.
For example, I can tag everyone that mentions me in their respective categories, so later when I’m running outreach campaigns around new content, I can easily make a list of people who already know me.
Alternatively, I can create a new custom field for the action I’ll take on the kind of brand mention I see:
For example, our friend John Henry wrote a great article that includes BuzzStream. So I’ll mark it as “To Promote Heavily“, and later, I’ll sort by “To Promote Heavily”, find the article, and share it with some industry curators.
There’s lots of ways you can use these tools together, depending on how you intend to work with your brand mentions. Have fun, and make sure you share any new uses you find in the comments!
Great post and I love the process you have described here. I’d like to add a few quick tips that can increase your value proposition and increase acquisition rates when reaching out to prospects. For any brand, product or solution mention where the site is not linking back to a client’s website, I always put the site’s visitor and the user experience as a main consideration e.g. “we ask you include a link back to our pages to provide visitors with the ability to learn more about our company, or products.” Another quick tip is to run a broken link checker through the prospects pages and start the conversation by providing them with some actionable information that provides value.
Thanks for sharing Brian – those are some quality tips.
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