Why Spreadsheets Don’t Work for Outreach and Link Building

Are you still using Excel or Google spreadsheets to manage your outreach and link building projects? Whether you are using them qualify prospects or log activity, it’s time to consider a different approach to scale your efforts – and ultimately your business. In this post, we’re going to look at several reasons why spreadsheets will ultimately fail at helping you manage outreach and link building.

1. Manually gathering metrics is tedious and time consuming.

When you are qualifying your outreach and link building prospects, you are going to want to review a lot of metrics about each website. There are a wide variety of free tools that will help you collect metrics for websites, such as domain authority, inbound links, and more.

But then there are the metrics that will require a little more work to calculate. Metrics like how often a website posts new content will require you to analyze each website’s RSS feed to calculate an estimated total. For website’s that publish once a day, this won’t be difficult. For those that publish 10 – 20 times per day, you will have your work cut out for you.

From here, you will have to gather contact information for each site. This will require you to scour the website to find contact information, then prioritize it by who is most likely to give you a favorable response.

Once you’ve collected this information, you will need a high-resolution monitor to see the data you have collected in one row.


Keep in mind that this row of data is still missing other valuable information that would be required to manage an outreach or link building campaign. But first, consider this…

2. You will miss out on a lot of important data.

While it may be simple to gather metrics, there are a lot of datapoints that change quickly that are almost impossible to gather on a spreadsheet.

For example, let’s say that your outreach or link building campaign involves guest blogging. You will want to get a bird’s eye view of what topics the website you are targeting posts about on a regular basis.

You won’t just want to see the general topics, but the actual ones that go live. There’s a big difference between a content marketing site that posts content like “5 Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses” versus “An In-Depth Guide to the Top Content Marketing Tools”. Seeing the specific headlines will help you to submit content that is more likely to be approved.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of room in a spreadsheet to enter the most recent headlines from your target website. And even if you did…

3. The metrics you gather must be manually updated.

Once you gather metrics for the sites you have targeted for your outreach or link building campaign, those metrics are going to be static in your spreadsheet until you update them again. So what happens if you wait a month or two after gathering metrics before you launch your campaign?

A particular website you were going to target for an outreach campaign may have stopped posting steadily. Their traffic might have dropped. Their domain authority might have dropped. The topics they focus on may have changed. The two contacts you collected may no longer work with the website.


In other words, a number of things about your target website might change over time. Since your spreadsheet of metrics must be manually updated, the only way you would know is if you revisited the website again.

This means that if there is any significant delay between metrics gathering and actually launching your outreach or link building campaign, you may have to go out and gather the metrics again to ensure their accuracy.

4. Assignments and statuses require manual notification and updating.

Once you start working on your campaigns, you will want to assign tasks to members of your marketing team and keep everyone up to date on the progress of the campaign. In a spreadsheet, you will have to add additional columns for both of these options.

Once you’re finished assigning tasks for each website in your campaign, you will need to notify those assigned separately via email. When team members start working on the campaign, they will need to update the spreadsheet with their status and then email everyone to let them know there is an update.

As you can see, this is more manual work that could lead to some serious communication issues. Especially when you consider the inconsistency of the status updates types since there won’t be a dropdown of options to choose from.

5. There is no room for on-going discussions and activity logs.

If you want to discuss a specific part of an outreach or link building campaign, your only option inside spreadsheets are the comments, or creating a massive cell inside the spreadsheet. Neither of which will be easy to follow.

One of the biggest drawbacks to using on cell for comments is the ease at which one person may accidentally edit or delete messages from others. If they don’t notice in time and save the document, a lot of valuable history can be lost.

The Solution

This is why using BuzzStream for outreach and link building is so important. Gathering metrics happens almost instantly when you enter a target website and updates on a regular basis so you can get all of the important data you need to make campaign decisions.


You can also quickly create assignments, send outreach emails, update the campaign status, and add new links acquired in one place.


While you can do these things in a spreadsheet, it’s not efficient or easily scalable. If you’re still using spreadsheets for your outreach and link building campaigns, be sure to give BuzzStream a try. You will find it makes the tedious tasks obsolete so you can focus on the real work in connecting with and building relationships with valuable link partners.