I love Buzzstream, if I could choose one piece of software to help me with link building, it would be Buzzstream.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, take a look at my Buzzstream review to get up to speed.  I’ve also blogged previous about using Buzzstream as a searchable database of links.

In this post, I want to outline a very simple process for quickly gathering, filtering and contacting link prospects.

Step 1 – Gathering Lists of Link Prospects

There are lots of ways of gathering link prospects, many people will just look for sites using advanced search operators on Google.  This can work fine, but isn’t really that efficient because there can be a lot of low quality results when you get past the first few pages of results.  A better method that I’ve made lots of use of lately is to use lists that have been created by others.  The advantage here is that if you find the right lists, the link prospects will have already been curated which means you have more chance of finding high quality sites to contact.

Finding these lists is so simple, I often laugh at some of the fancy tools and search queries that crop up when I get great results using something like this:

Seriously, its that simple.  Just that one search query gave me a few links that gave me hundreds of link prospects.

You don’t just have to rely upon Google to give you these lists either.  Take this search on Dmoz for example:

Or you could take a look at this page on Best of the Web blogs:

I’m sure you get the idea.  But meh, here is one more for you :)

These lists are absolutely everywhere, you just need to have a good look for them.  Once you have these lists, you need to add them into Buzzstream using the Buzzmarker.  At this point, its worth adding in any notes that hit you straight away or any contact details you spot.  Don’t worry if you don’t find anything at this point, the next step gets into more detail about this.

2. Cleaning the List and Finding an Angle

At this point, you will have lots and lots of link prospects saved into Buzzstream.  Now we need to start going through them and qualifying them for outreach.

A quick note at this point.  Some may say that you should qualify prospects before adding them to Buzzstream so that you only end up with high quality sites within Buzzstream.  I can see what they mean, but there is a good reason for adding everything to Buzzstream and cleaning them afterwards.  That reason being that you can reject sites and add a note as to why.  Then if you come across this site again in the future, Buzzstream will tell you that it is already saved and you’ll be able to see that its been rejected.  This will save you lots of time and allow you to build a list of sites you definitely do not want to contact.

Right, so the first way to sort your list of contacts is to sort by a metric such as PageRank or MozRank highest to lowest:

After some time, Buzzstream will start to suggest contact info that it has found from your list of link prospects:

As I go through each link prospect, I’ll usually click on these and if the contact details look accurate, I’ll add them straight away.  Next I’ll start visiting each site and seeing whether its one that I feel will be interested in the piece of content I’m promoting.  Its worth noting that the first thing I tend to do is look for contact details if Buzzstream hasn’t already found them.  Reason being that I do not want to spend ages looking through a site and deciding its a good one to target for a link, only to find that I can’t contact them.

Assuming I like the look of the site and feel it could be a good one to contact, I’ll usually do the following:

  • Find a previous blog post of piece of content similar to the one I’m pitching them (assuming mine is better!) and add a note to Buzzstream
  • Add a note to Buzzstream with the angle I think I can take, I’ll sometimes even write the opening lines of the email I’m planning on sending, so when the time comes, I can just copy and paste and I will have made my templated email unique to the link prospect

I know what you are thinking – this sounds like a lot of work and time.  Well, it kinda is.  High quality link building outreach is like that.  But I bet that after you get into the swing of it, it will not take anywhere near as long as you are thinking.  For me, I can probably tell if a site is good quality or not within ten seconds of it loading.  Assuming it is good quality, it will probably take me another minute or so to figure out if there is a good angle I can use to pitch my content.  At this point I’ll change the relationship stage to Qualified / Rated.

For low quality sites, I’ll usually change the relationship status to Rejected but make sure I add a quick reason for why.  So if I come across the site again in the future, I can see why I rejected it.

After this process, the aim should be to left with a clean list of sites that are all categorised within Buzzstream as Qualified link prospects which I also have the following for -

  • Contact details
  • A previous piece of content they have written (which I’ll reference in the email to them)
  • The opening few lines of the outreach email saved in their notes

Then I’ll go make a coffee :)

Step 3 – Sending the Emails

Depending on the content I’m pitching, I may do this step immediately after step 2, but it depends at which point the content is in being completed.  Sometimes I will do outreach before content is completed to test the water a little and get feedback, which I’ll do a separate blog post about at some point.

At this point I’ll also write a new template email which pitches the piece of content I’m promoting.  Its hard for me to give an example here because every template will naturally be different.  Also, I’ll never send exactly the same email to every link prospect.  I’ll always put something in which is unique to them.  Buzzstream is great for doing this.

First I’ll segment all my targets so that I’m left with a list of link prospects which are Qualified and not been contacted yet.  I’ll then select them all using the checkboxes on the left hand side of the Buzzstream interface:

Once you have all of these selected, its time to use the Buzzstream email outreach module:

I mentioned templates earlier, so I won’t go into this again.  After selecting my template, I’m presented with this interface where some of the features of Buzzstream really help.  The left hand side of the outreach module looks like this:

The bit I’ve highlighted is an example note that I added when doing my link prospect qualifying in step 2.  I can simply copy and paste it from the left panel into the email template on the right:

Buzzstream Email Outreach

This means you have made the email unique to the link prospect and give yourself a better chance of getting a good response.

That is about it!  This process is one you can certainly replicate and use yourself, feel free to leave a comment with your feedback and ways you think this process could be improved – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Categories: Link Building

Paddy

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Paddy is Head of Growth Markets at Distilled in their London office.

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