Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
8 Tools To Effectively Organize Your Link Building Campaigns
One of the most difficult parts of a link building campaign can simply be staying organized.
Between gathering contact information, sending messages, making phone calls, reading responses, providing content… there’s a lot that goes into it!
Plus, let’s be honest — a lot of things can go wrong when you aren’t organized. You don’t want to be the person who reaches out to someone you already know or you’ve already emailed. It’s embarrassing, and it may get you publicly shamed.
To keep you organized and prevent any embarrassing situations, I’ve outlined 8 tools below that will help keep your link building campaigns efficient and effective.
1. Google Spreadsheets
Google Spreadsheets may seem like an obvious one as it’s basically just Excel, but for us it’s invaluable, especially when there are multiple people or teams working on the outreach.
For example, when we send a link opportunity to our clients detailing the steps they need to take to obtain the link, we no longer have control of what happens. In order for us to stay apprised of where the team is in the process and prepare the client accordingly, our shared spreadsheet makes it easy.
Google docs allow you to keep link building activities listed, shared, and updated between teams. That way, when the client team sends an email, I know that email has been sent and what the next step should be.
Some of the items our link building spreadsheet include:
- Date Identified
- Email & Contact Information
- Outreach Date
- Next Steps
The document can contain as much or as little information as you want, but the goal should to keep everyone organized, keep everyone up to date, and prevent overlap.
2. Raven Tools
Raven Tools can do a lot for link building — but one of their less touted features, the CRM, lets you add contacts and then add tasks based on those contacts.
For example, you’ve identified a site that you think is worth reaching out to, and you’ve also identified the person/people that you need to contact. Raven provides a good place to put all of that info.
Once you have that person’s information, you can start creating tasks for your team. Whether it’s sending an email to the person, reaching out via Twitter, or even just following up, the task capability can make sure you keep the process moving.
Similar to the Raven CMS feature, you can add emails, social profiles, action items, etc., to each contact. On top of that, you can do your outreach directly from the platform, ensuring that everyone on the team sees the “who, what, when” of the messages going out.
My favorite feature of BuzzStream, however, is the Twitter conversation tracking. Very rarely do we just send a cold email these days and hope for a link. Before we even get to the email portion, we interact with people through social, blogs, networking events, etc. We actually try to build a rapport and relationship with them. Crazy, right?!
The problem is, I can’t remember what I did yesterday, especially when it comes to Twitter. That’s where Buzzstream comes in as the tool will track your interactions with contacts. Below I have used my colleague Derek Edmond as an example:
It will even backfill conversations if you add a contact after you’ve already had a conversation, ensuring you have the full list of interactions.
4. Gmail Canned Responses
Writing a good outreach email takes time and effort. Writing a good outreach email that actually elicits a response…well that can take even more time and effort.
When you’ve found something that works for your campaigns, creating a template can save you a ton of time. Now, I don’t recommend using the same email over and over, but a template can give you a good starting point and save you from having to rewrite a completely new email every single time. It can also help the team stay consistent.
If you are using Gmail, you can create templates using the canned response feature found in the Labs section. While you can’t share the template between users, each person can create their own. Check out the video below to learn how to set up canned responses:
Note: Outlook also offers a way to create email templates, we just happen to use Google internally.
One of the toughest parts about link building is the outreach portion. You work hard to find the right person, build the relationship, come up with the perfect email, and then…no response. Did they even open the email? Should you follow-up or resend?
YesWare is a pretty cool Gmail add-on that lets you track email opens. While it’s actually a sales tool, it can be extremely beneficial for outreach. Track opens, set follow-up reminders, and it can even integrate with a number of CRMs including Salesforce, Highrise, Batchbook, and more.
If you looked at the screenshot above, you probably noticed the “Boomerang this” portion. Boomerang is another Gmail add-on that will resend your message if the person doesn’t reply, doesn’t open the message, or doesn’t click within the message.
While I recommend using this sparingly (don’t be the person sending unsolicited follow-up emails asking why they didn’t reply), it can be a handy tool to have.
7. Calendar Reminders
Many of the tools mentioned above allow you to create tasks and assign due dates to help you follow up. But if you aren’t using any of those tools, a simple calendar reminder can be your best friend.
With all the talk about relationship building happening in the link building world these days, it’s important to remember that relationships aren’t a “one and done” thing. Set yourself calendar reminders to follow up with those people you’ve reached out to, the people who’ve featured you, responded to your emails, etc.
Did someone feature you on their blog? Great. Don’t let that relationship go to waste. Ping them again in a month just to say hello or see if there’s anything you can do for them.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and jobs and everything else that’s happening, so make sure to set your reminders immediately after the last interaction.
8. Twitter Lists
In my opinion, Twitter lists are an undervalued asset. You can add whomever you want to them, you can make them private, you can add descriptions, you can share them, and you can make as many as you want. They are a great way to stay organized, find potential link opportunities, and build those relationships we keep talking about.
I’ve previously suggested creating lists of reporters, but you can also create lists of people you’ve obtained a link from, people you want a link from, people you are currently working with, and people you may want to work with.
Each list can keep your contacts organized, in front of you, and help make sure you don’t forget who it is you should be paying attention to.
Running an organized link building campaign is imperative to current and future success. Thankfully there are a lot of tools out there that can help!
What are some tools your team is using to stay on top of things?
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.