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Buzzstream: A Beginner’s Journey – Part I

Have you heard of Buzzstream? If you’re in the marketing/SEO/content development blogosphere you probably have. If you’re not? No worries, you will hear of this multi-dimensional tool soon enough. But what exactly is Buzzstream? I’m glad you asked… Co-founded by CEO Paul May, Buzzstream is a unique and multi-faceted tool used to grow and catalogue links and relationships during marketing campaigns. As they say on their website, “We bring order to the chaos of developing authentic relationships with word-of-mouth influencers across the social web.” Pretty interesting, right? But what does it have to do with freight and shipping? The answer to that question is “Nothing.” But here’s the deal, when did we worry about covering ONLY freight on this blog? We talk about Torchy’s Tacos. We discuss the merits of a MLS team in Austin. Sure, we’ll show you how to ship a bike, but we’re more than just shipping, and Buzzstream is more than just catchy name. Inspired by Lance Cummins Nectafy blog series centered on his experience using Hubspot, this is the first part of our series entitled “Buzzstream: A Beginner’s Journey.” The purpose of the series is to tackle the process of learning and using Buzzstream from the very beginning, learning the in’s and out’s and profiling the good, the bad, and the ugly of the tool (and the content marketing game in general). I’ll be leading the way like Maximus in Gladiator, though admittedly with more yelling and less swords. I’m not new to writing, but I am new to content development, word-of-mouth marketing, and social media in a business setting. I’ll be taking it slow, so don’t fret if you’re a newbie like me. Let’s get started!

First Steps

There are a couple things that were needed for me to get started, kind of like a summer reading list before junior year of high school. Back then, it was getting the Sparknotes for The Great Gatsby and now it’s The Buzzstream University; a quick four-lesson set of instructions complete with screenshots and and step by step instructions detailing some of the basic tools of Buzzstream. Lesson 1 centers around compiling a list of websites to start off the content marketing campaign. You’ll use a “scraper tool” to find like-minded websites through Google or Yahoo. After saving the list as a standard Microsoft Excel file, Buzzstream makes it very easy to import the websites into your marketing campaign. This is especially helpful, and one of the first cool tools available (and we just started!). The foundation of any campaign is going to be content, and we’ve worked long and hard on creating good content such as our freight shipping guide, but the second important aspect of a successful campaign is finding the best websites for your link opportunities. The internet is a giant place with countless websites and finding the right ones that are most interested in your site (especially in a niche industry such as freight) can be an exhausting and tiring process. Content marketing efforts will cycle through hundreds, if not thousands, of websites. Compiling and coordinating these websites is a main purpose of Buzzstream, and the simplicity of adding websites to your campaign is a real relief from hours of searching through websites hoping to find content. In future posts, we’ll dive deeper into the websites listed for your campaign, and the variety of tools and automations available. Lesson 2 introduces us to the Buzzbar, a tool that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around. The Buzzbar allows you to input information, notes, and other important data without leaving the website you’re looking at. This is HUGE. To make it even better, Buzzstream automatically scans the website when you add it to your campaign and saves contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.), social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and RSS feeds. Buzzstream is all about saving time in your content marketing efforts, but this is seriously wonderful! Usually, it would take hours to go through website after website, manually inputting phone numbers, contact names, emails, and social media handles. With Buzzstream, it’s already done! I can’t understate how great this feature is. Lesson 3 deals with the outreach features that Buzzstream offers. This includes the ability to create email templates with auto-fill features such as contact names, emails, and much more. As I’m so used to using Gmail, the email template and outreach system can feel a little sticky at times, but I’m sure it’s just going to be a matter of time before I get used to it. I also noticed that sometimes there is a bit of a lag when it comes to selecting items within the outreach tab and the action that accompanies the selection. This can lead to a bit of frustration and multiple clicks, so I’m trying to be extra patient when it comes to selecting certain items. I’m terrified of clicking the wrong thing and sending an email to the wrong person! More to come on the outreach issues, but overall a nice and seemingly simple way to conduct outreach for your campaigns. I really love that all previous emails are auto-saved in the website profiles, making them easy to find in the future. Compared with digging through thousands of emails in Gmail, this is awesome. Lesson 4 helps with finding new opportunities for our campaign, and I haven’t immersed myself fully into this portion of Buzzstream yet, as my link-building campaign hasn’t yet reached those levels of sophistication. I’ve talked a lot about the joys of working for a small and cool company like FreightPros, but one of the drawbacks is finding enough personnel for all that needs to be done. For many of you, Buzzstream and content marketing is a full time job where 40 hours a week can be devoted to the exploration and addition of content far and wide. Not so much for me. Currently, I’m the only content employee we have here at FreightPros and between blog postings, e-books, social media, white paper generation, and other promotional material, our content marketing effort is a process that can be slow moving at times. Safe to say, we will dive back into this area of Buzzstream once the time comes, but at this moment we’re still waiting on my campaign to grow enough to get some valid information and uses out of the tool.

The Good

  • Convenience, Convenience, Convenience. The ability to add websites and have their contact information already input into your campaign is a game-changer. I’m excited to further explore the many possibilities associated with this aspect of Buzzstream and streamline even more time-consuming processes.
  • Buzzstream University is a pretty good training manual for new users. It has an abundance of screenshots that allow you to follow along with the different processes as you learn them. A part of me would like to have videos to spice things up a bit (like Mailchimp) but really, videos would need to be stopped and started over and over again, so I get the idea of having the instructions in print and it’s probably a better move.
  • The aesthetics of the website are pretty cool and easy on the eyes. In today’s world of Apple and iPads, part of a great product is the appearance and the comfortability a user can expect when handling and interacting with the product. I know it’s not a big thing, but that the site is professional and cool looking, with good color schemes, is another point in the plus column.

The Bad

  • For some reason, every time I want to open a website in the Buzzbar, I have to reconfigure my internet browser. I’m using Chrome, and it’s not difficult to reconfigure and only takes five seconds, but its still a weird thing that I’m not used to. It might be an issue of my own personal Chrome privacy preferences, and I’ll have to dig deeper to find out more.
  • When using the outreach tool, it can be difficult to select from multiple approved contacts when it comes time to send out the email. The system automatically inputs a contact into the “To” field, and for some reason it won’t automatically input any other contacts. That means that you have to manually input the next contact email address. It’s not a huge deal obviously, but can be frustrating to copy and paste all those emails.

For next time…

Now that I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool, I get to see how well I can swim. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this is just the first in a multi-part series exploring and utilizing Buzzstream, so stay tuned for the next episode. We’ll discuss more details of Buzzstream, as well as customer service via a webinar thanks to Tim Bramer, Head of Customer Success. As we go through this process, I’m sure there are things that I’m not doing correctly, or at the very least not doing to the best of Buzzstream’s ability, so please feel free to comment below on the Buzzstream process. I’m still just learning about Buzzstream and content, and even though we’re off to a pretty good start thanks to the ease and comfortability of Buzzstream’s user interface, there is still a long road ahead to the promise land of a successful campaign. Until next time…

Logan Theissen

Logan is a Content Marketing Associate at FreightPros in charge of social media and content creation. He has a writing degree from the University of Oklahoma, but lives life on the edge and resides in Longhorn country. He loves Murakami books, Tarantino movies, and Vonnegut books. Lots of books. One day he will own a dog, but first he'll have to get a yard.

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