Essential Tools for Outreach Experts: An Update for 2013

By on | Posted in Content Promotion

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 8.55.23 PM

In early 2012, John Doherty wrote a piece on Moz about the linkbuilder’s ideal productivity setup. This was a great post, which was very popular at the time. It included productivity tools and ready-made outreach templates from many industry linkbuilders.

Since about a year and half has passed since that was released, outreach processes have evolved and new tools have been developed to keep up.

If you’re a link building veteran, you’ve probably seen the tools John mentioned in that post. However, folks fresh to the industry should check out his original post, then come back here to finish this one to fill in the gaps.

This post is a roundup of great new tools available to us that were also not mentioned by Doherty. The ones mentioned here are meant to be new in the sense that they weren’t frequently mentioned in content marketing/link building circles around the time Doherty released that post – as some of the below have been around far before 2012.

Breevy

Breevy is a text replacement tool for Windows that lets you store custom templates to be instantly recalled by typing a custom set of keystrokes. This saves you the trouble of opening text files to manually copy and paste templates for e-mail outreach, creating an incredible amount of time saved.

breevy

You can make a folder for each client to keep the list organized. In the sample screenshot above, all of client #2’s abbreviations are in one folder. When composing a broken link building e-mail for this client, would just type “;blb” and that text will be immediately replaced with the stored template.

This tool is especially powerful for customization because you can insert special strings to be replaced throughout the entire template. For example, your template may want to include the target site’s name in multiple places in the article to give it a more customized feel.

Just include a special input macro wherever you want the name to occur in the template. Breevy will prompt you once during the text replacement to manually type in the name, but it will then find every instance of the input macro in your template and auto-fill in those.

Overall, it’s a fairly customizable tool that has gone through many stages of updates so far, so it’s nicely polished.

Unfortunately, Breevy only works with Windows, but Mac users can also use TextExpander for a close alternative. Both Breevy and TextExpander are currently priced at $34.95 for lifetime use. For those interested, Ross wrote more in-depth about TextExpander in a post earlier this year.

Bananatag

Bananatag is a great new tool for monitoring opens of your emails. It allows you to see a micro break down of opens, clicks, location, browser type, and more, which allows for some interesting and actionable responses as marketers.

banana-tag

Generally, I believe in the one follow-up & bail e-mail outreach plan, but with Bananatag, you can see when a second and third follow-up would make sense – when they haven’t opened your e-mails.

If you know the e-mail has not been opened, you might also want to go back to the site to find a different person at the organization to contact.

You can also track people who have clicked links versus not clicked links, which allows you to do some e-mail analysis to see if you came up short on the email before ever getting to the content stage. The UI of the tool is extremely slick, which makes for a great overall experience.

Bananatag is relatively cheap, running at only $5/month for single users who only need 100 or less tags a day.

Linkclump

I extensively use the Linkclump Chrome extension to quickly manipulate link lists. Even if you only use this tool to open links in new tabs–it’s a great time saver. It’s great to use on search results, resource pages, or to open your own custom list of links.

Linkclump has 3 other functions if you find use for them: open links in new windows, bookmark, and copy to clipboard.

linkclump

Just drag a box with your right mouse button over the area on a page to highlight your target links. Linkclump has smart settings to set a custom activation method to avoid accidental Linkclumping.

This is a nice little time saver when dealing with prospect lists, but you can also use it for maintenance on client sites too. Other web-based solutions are available to open link lists, but Linkclump is much more nimble.

E-Mail Format

Have you ever had trouble finding a contact e-mail? E-Mail Format is another tool to add to the list to make outreach easier.

email-format

Just type in website from which you’re trying to find the email address and E-mail Format quickly returns a list of found addresses across the web (you can even use Linkclump to open these pages).

E-mail Format takes it one step further by analyzing the found addresses to see if a pattern is followed in creating the address names. If a pattern is found, you can use it to guess the address of the person you’re trying to reach at the organization.

Obviously, before using this, you want to do as much as you can to find the email the person made publicly available. It’s still a last resort tactic to be guessing someone’s address unless you’re pretty certain of the formatting. In a pinch, this tool does return some some decent results from across the web.

1Password

Remember when we used to store phone numbers of everyone near and dear to us in our heads? Those days are gone and the task of remembering every little password should be gone too. Why bother when there are tools available that can do it better?

1password

1Password lets you save and access website login information wherever you are. This will save you time from looking up passwords and give the convenience of having them anywhere you go. When working on multiple computers, software like this improves flexibility by requiring just “one password” to access them all.

The number of email addresses and new logins created constantly grows for each client so saving information with this tool is a major upgrade from adding info to an unsecured “passwords.txt” file on the desktop. It also has a feature that generates strong, unique passwords for every new account instead of sharing the same password across all sites.

Passwords saved in Chrome are shockingly unsecured. Step away from your computer and anyone can gain access to the passwords saved in the browser without any credentials. This software has the added benefit of locking down these passwords by prompting you for credentials to edit the database.

1Password is a browser extension and desktop software available to use on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. It has varying prices depending on licenses, but has a listed single-license price of $49.99 for lifetime use.

Outdated Content Finder

Content on websites get outdated all the time. This happens for many reasons, like new discoveries from studies and research, advancements in technology, or cultural shifts to name a few.

When you’re entrenched in a specific industry, you can leverage this awareness to earn some links. Greenlane SEO created Outdated Content Finder to discover link opportunities by (surprise!) uncovering outdated content in your industry.

outdated-content-finder

Once you identify a specific change, you can search for content published previous to the date of change to compile your prospects list. This tool lets you use any advanced operators allowed in Google. Use this to pitch some linkbait, a post, or simply to start building a relationship with someone in your industry.

Scrapebox

I’ve had Scrapebox for a few years, and it’s one tool I still find very useful. Sure, there are other ways available to get some of these tasks done, but the speed and convenience of this software has me reaching for it quite often.

scrape-box

Generating prospectsLink Prospector is good, but you might not always want to wait for the report or spend credits to test a series of search operators you want to qualify. This tool scrapes lists very quickly–usually under 30 seconds if you’re using private proxies.

Filtering lists – Keep track of websites already contacted, so you don’t waste time qualifying or reaching out to the same prospects. Whenever you get new prospect lists, you can compare it against your current database to remove duplicates. Link Prospector has this feature, but only to compare against its own history of discovered sites.

With ScrapeBox you can compare any lists you get from anywhere like Moz, ScrapeBox, FreshWeb, Ahrefs, or any you get from clients. Just paste your fresh list of prospects into the harvester and hit Import->Compare on domain level to load your own database. This will leave you with a list of only websites you haven’t reached out to yet.

Link checks – Just like Screaming Frog, this tool will check if links are live on a page. You just need to prepare of text file of pages you want to scan, and a second list of domains or pages to check for. One instance this is useful is to check a list of specific pages you’ve done outreach on since (depending on the vertical), as folks don’t always send a reply when they’ve linked to you.

At a one-off price of $97 with free updates for life, Scrapebox is one of the best values you can get for an SEO tool.

Auto Boomerang

Boomerang for Gmail is an extension we use for e-mail outreach to notify us when a message sent did not receive a response after a set amount of time. It follows up that email thread with a reminder message and “stars” the message to bring it to the top of your inbox.

The problem with Boomerang is you have to set the notification delay, and click the “Boomerang this message” box for each message you send. This bugged us, so Siege Media created Auto Boomerang to make your follow-up notifications a hands-off experience. Just install this tool and an extended menu is added to the Boomerang drop-down box for quick settings access.

auto-boomerang

Here you can enable/disable the tool and choose default settings that will be applied to each new message you compose. Theses settings will be automatically applied to each new compose window you open, with the Boomerang box checked by default.

Be Prepared For Change

When repeating specific tasks many times throughout the day it becomes apparent which ones demand the most of your time. Luckily, for most of these issues you can find a suitable tool to do the job. Sometimes discovering a new tool can even reveal a new technique or strategy to modify your current outreach technique for better returns.

When paying upfront for a tool, keep in mind that they can quickly become outdated or replaced by more innovative or advanced ones. Just as the tools in John’s post eventually needed an update, this post will eventually need a refresh too. These are excellent outreach tools to be using right now, but in this industry, what’s relevant in a few months from now can be very different.

  • http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/author/evan/ Evan Auerbach

    Nice Article Bryan. I use some of these tools daily (boomerang,bananatag,e-mail format) but others ive never used before, and am excited to check out. Ross brought some of these up at his Moz preso. Good stuff.

    • Bryan H Vu

      Thanks Evan! Make sure to check out some kind of text replacement tool too. A non G-mail based one will let you make use of it on things like web forms–very handy.

  • Spook SEO

    Amazing post Bryan! I haven’t heard of some of these tools. Can’t wait to look it up. I’ve been using linkprospector and am very happy with it. I also suggest SEOQuake.

  • IvanMuljevski

    You can also try: Streak.com , yesware.com and scraper for chrome (extension)

  • http://insocialwetrust.wordpress.com/ Gisele Navarro Mendez

    Fantastic! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Bananatag before. Thanks for sharing, Bryan.

    • Bryan H Vu

      Yep! Bananatag can be pretty useful depending on the type of outreach you’re doing.

  • Diaz

    Scrapebox is A M A Z I N G

    You can grab it here for 40 bucks less: http://www.scrapebox.com/bhw

  • Jamie Knop

    Auto Boomerang yes please. Nice one Siege! For people using Firefox and can’t use LinkClump check out Multilinks for Firefox as featured in the post http://www.seoweather.com/firefox-plugins-every-link-builder-should-have/

    That post also has a free alternative to 1Password called LastPass.

    Cheers Bryan

    • Jamie Knop

      Auto Boomerang only for Chrome noooooooooo!!!!!!!