It’s fair to say that I’m still fairly new to the SEO World, and to Boom as well. I arrived at Boom with a very basic understanding of SEO, and specifically, link building. Over the past few months I’ve learned various techniques and been introduced to different tools, both free and paid for, to make life easier when outreaching and improve my chances of success when promoting content.
It’s these tools that I want to introduce you to; what they are and what they do, and how they’ve helped me but more importantly, how they can help you too. I’ll show you how they work and how they’re helpful and I’ll throw in some screenshots too so you can see what they look like. Oh, and I’ll include some gifs, just to keep you interested really.
Just a quick heads up, I’ll be talking from my own experience, so be prepared for a lot of ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘I’.
Before we go any further, I recommend that you install and start using Chrome for outreaching. You’ll soon find out why…
The MozBar is a super helpful tool that allows you to quickly find out the Domain and Page Authority of website along with lots of other useful data too. It’s a free Chrome plug-in that you just download from the Chrome store, the icon will appear at the top of your browser.
One of the best things about the MozBar is that it tells you this information before you’re even on a website, this is really useful and can save you a lot of time by not having to go on websites that ultimately aren’t good enough for you to be wanting links from. On the flip side, it tells you which sites you do want to be clicking on and paying a visit to. Here I’ve searched for craft blogs.
Another useful feature of the MozBar is that it shows you how many inbound links the page has, again before you go on it. This is useful if you’re going to be using the ‘skyscraper technique’ when outreaching, as you can find a quick list of sites that have linked to similar content in the past.
Of course, the MozBar is also really helpful when you’re actually on a site too, but it can be a bit of an eye-sore (sorry Moz). However, Moz recently updated the MozBar to include this really cool little feature which has saved me even more time and lets me make quicker decisions about a site, without even having the MozBar open. Here we’ve paid a visit to our friends over at Food Republic.
This new MozBar feature shows you the DA of a site at the top of the page as you’re browsing, without you even asking for it. If you want to know any more information, you can simply click the icon to open the MozBar and take a closer look.
One thing that I learned throughout my time at school is that having multiple sources to back up what you’re saying is always a good idea, and for the sake of a few seconds of your time (literally) installing the SpiralDB Chrome plug-in is a good support for your MozBar.
Again, the plug-in is free to download from the Chrome store and in essence does the same thing that the MozBar does; gives you a quick insight into the quality and metrics of a site, but uses a few more sources to help make up your mind.
SpiralDB takes data from LinkRisk, Majestic, SEM Rush and ahrefs to give you an overview of how trustworthy the site is and allows you to better decide if you want to be outreaching to them or not.
Like I said, it’s kind of similar to the MozBar, but it’s always good to have a second opinion to fall back on. (Yes, I included that sentence purely to set up this gif)
So by now you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to say… This is a free plug-in for Chrome. MailTrack does exactly what it says on the tin – it tracks the progress of your email, letting you know if it’s been read, when it was read and how many times it’s been read.
In the screenshot above you can a snapshot of my Gmail. There are two ticks, the first is that the email can be tracked (sent from a device with the plug-in installed), and the second is confirmation that the email has been read. So I know Yvette hasn’t opened my latest email yet, not that I care or anything… 🙁
I’ve found this useful for a number of reasons. The first is that it allows you to test and see if different subject lines work better than others. Obviously, you can tell if a subject line is working well if your email gets opened, and allows you to know if your emails aren’t getting opened so you can make changes to your approach. You can also see if the time of day you send your emails has an effect on your open rates and adjust your outreach accordingly.
Secondly, you know where you stand. If somebody has opened your email and not replied, you know that it’s probably a no-goer and they’re not interested. So you know the content isn’t right or the email itself needs working on, and again, you can use this to improve.
Thirdly, it’s a morale booster. This might just be me and it might sound a bit silly, but MailTrack pops up a little notification when someone has read your email, so I can see that Luke as opened my important email about important things. When I see this I know that I’ve been noticed and I’m going to get an outcome relatively soon. This gives me a little bit of a boost knowing that my outreach efforts aren’t going to waste.
The only downside to MailTrack is that it isn’t compatible with BuzzStream just yet, but fingers crossed they’ll integrate it soon. For now, I use it sparingly but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been useful.
For more information on email tracking, check out this pretty detailed guide from Sidekick.
4: Crystal Knows
Crystal Knows is a tool that is brand new to me. It’s a lot of fun, very insightful, but most importantly very useful for outreach. Crystal (we’re on first name terms) gives you an insight into a person’s personality and is frightfully accurate. Here’s what it says about me…
How is this helpful for outreach? Well, Crystal Knows goes a little bit further than telling you what somebody is like and tells you what kind of language, tone of voice and length of message that people respond to, so you can tailor your email to them perfectly and increase your chances of success.
Being honest with you, this is me down to T; I love a good emoticon and I am rubbish at following instructions – just ask my Mum. The only thing I’d maybe question is that I do prefer short emails over long ones, long pieces of writing frighten me a little bit but for a free tool, I’ll let that one slide.
Often you can get a sense of someone’s personality from their writing, ‘about me’ page and their social media, but Crystal Knows tells you this information without you having to spend too much time trying to figure out what a person is like and means you can reduce your outreach time even further.
Check it out and give it a try on yourself and your colleagues, you’ll be surprised just how accurate it is.
Personally, I find the hardest thing about outreach is finding an email address for the relevant person to pitch your content to. It’s not enough to find a site that discusses the same topic that your content is about, but you have to find the right person. This is often doable, but can be time consuming and pretty boring, let’s be honest. Before I go any further I will tell you that you have to pay for Cision, so if you’re tight fisted, I’d encourage you not to be.
Cision lets you do this quickly and gives you a helping hand along the way. Cision is basically a massive database of journalists, bloggers, writers, websites and influencers. There are many ways that you can find contacts and their details using Cision, but the way that I’ve found works best for me is to search by Media Outlet. Simply select ‘Outlets’ from the drop down menu next to the search bar and enter the site or magazine name.
Then just simply select the outlet you wish to get in touch with. In this case we’ll look for contacts at The Huffington Post.
Cision then shows you all the people that it knows that work or write for the site and tells you their name, job title, email address and telephone number, which is useful from a PR side of things. The thing that I find the most helpful though (apart from the email address) is the middle column; Topics.
To save myself from getting sued for publishing a list of email addresses of people that work at The Huffington Post, I haven’t included the full results page.
The topics column allows you to quickly identify the right person for the right subject. Before getting in touch with them though, it’s worth searching their name on the site to double check that they definitely do write about that subject. Just because someone writes about food doesn’t mean they write about home cooking. Once you know you’ve found someone that has a genuine interest in what you’ve got to show them and wants to see it, you can be more confident in your outreach.
You can then build and save a list of people you want to get in touch with, then export that into BuzzStream.
There you have have it, my top 5 useful tools for effective outreach. Go check them out, install them and use them well.