BuzzStream Review: Is This Link Building and Outreach Tool Worth It?

BuzzStream Review: Is This Link Building and Outreach Tool Worth It?

This is my personal review of the outreach tool BuzzStream.

To be clear:

I didn’t test out the tool for 15 minutes and call it a day.

In fact, I spent a full week evaluating every single feature that BuzzStream offers, including:

  • Campaign management
  • Outreach templates
  • Finding contact information
  • And more

And now it’s time for me to help you decide if BuzzStream is the right tool for you.

BuzzStream Overview: What Is This Tool All About?

BuzzStream is a tool that designed to make email outreach easier and more efficient.

BuzzStream

To do that, BuzzStream automates a lot of the legwork involved with outreach, like:

  • Researching prospects
  • Finding email addresses
  • Sending follow-up emails
  • Tracking reply rates

Another selling point is:

You can do all of your outreach in one place.

So instead of Excel spreadsheets and Gmail tabs… you manage your outreach and link building in one place:

BuzzStream – Everything in one place

And now it’s time to break down each feature…

Find Influencers and Bloggers

Whether it’s for link building, digital PR or content promotion, the first step of any outreach campaign is: finding people to reach out to.

Most people find prospects with Google.

For example:

If you want to build links to your fitness blog, you might search for “best fitness blogs” in Google.

This approach can work… but it’s VERY slow.

(Why? You have to manually copy and paste each site that you find into a spreadsheet. Then evaluate each prospect one-by-one).

Enter: BuzzStream’s new “Discovery” feature.

This feature combines finding and evaluating prospects in one place.

For example, when you search for “content marketing”…

BuzzStream – Discovery, Content marketing search

…you get a list of content marketing experts:

BuzzStream – Discovery, Content marketing results

You can even sort the results by Moz Domain Authority, number of Twitter followers and more:

BuzzStream – Discovery, Sort results

(This is helpful, but I’d like to see SEMrush integration. That way, I could see if the sites on my list get any traffic from SEO)

Then, add people to your prospect list:

 

I did notice one flaw with this feature: it showed me a few people that hadn’t written about my topic in years.

BuzzStream – Discovery flaw: Irrelevant contacts

So if you do use this feature, make sure to set the “Last Activity” to the last year or month:

BuzzStream – Discovery, Last activity

Otherwise, this feature worked perfectly.

The Verdict: “Discovery” makes finding influencers and bloggers simple and easy. Helpful if you’re just getting started with a new campaign.

Find Contact Info

OK so you you have a list of prospects.

Now it’s time to find their email address so you can pitch them.

BuzzStream handles this step in one of two ways:

First, you can install their “BuzzMarker”.

BuzzMarker – Chrome extension

This is Chrome extension that automatically scans the site you’re on for a valid email address.

 

(You can see here that the tool easily found contact info for BuzzStream founder Paul May)

If it can’t find an email address on that site, it will usually give you the URL of the site’s contact page:

BuzzStream – Contact page example

It also helps you manage and track your campaigns from within your browser.

(Which is especially important for outreach teams)

For example, let’s say you come across a new site that seems like a GREAT fit for your new campaign.

But when you run BuzzMarker, you can see that they’re already part of a campaign:

BuzzStream – Already part of a campaign

That way, you don’t need to cross-reference anything on a spreadsheet.

You can see that they’re part of a campaign right way.

(Or even worse, reach out to the same person twice with the same pitch)

You can also find people’s contact info inside of BuzzStream.

If BuzzStream has an email in their database, you’ll see a little envelope icon next to their name.

BuzzStream – Envelope next to name

The Verdict: BuzzStream does a solid job of finding email addresses. But I did notice that contact info was missing for about 20% of the sites in my list. So I had to fill in the blanks with Hunter.io. That said, an 80% success rate is nothing to sneeze at. So I’m chalking up this feature as a win.

Outreach Templates

Just about any outreach tool on the market lets you send emails using their platform.

So why send your outreach emails with BuzzStream?

First, you can easily create email templates… and add them to your outreach messages:

BuzzStream – Email templates

(Which means you DON’T need to copy and paste anymore. This is a massive time saver)

Plus, you can add custom fields to your templates that BuzzStream automatically fills in:

BuzzStream – Template custom fields

(Like the prospect’s website, first name and more)

Nice.

Second, you can track EVERYTHING… including open rates, response rates and which templates perform best.

(More on that later)

Finally, when you outreach to individual people, you get LOTS of info on that person in one place.

(Like social media profiles and websites that they write for)

BuzzStream – Contact websites

This makes personalizing outreach messages A LOT easier.

For example, you can see what they’ve recently tweeted about… and include that in your outreach email:

BuzzStream – Recent Tweet reference

The Verdict: If you’ve ever done outreach with Gmail accounts and spreadsheets, you know that it’s a HUGE pain in the butt. Outreach with BuzzStream still requires work. But it’s much faster and easier than doing things manually.

Automated follow-up Messages

If you’ve done outreach for any length if time you’ve probably noticed one thing:

Follow-ups can 2-5x your success rate.

That’s why I was happy to see that BuzzStream has a feature called “Sequences” that follow-up with link prospects automatically.

Here’s an example:

BuzzStream – Sequences

As you can see, I only follow-up with people once or twice.

In my mind, 1-2 follow-ups improves your conversion rate without annoying the crap out of people.

That said, if you don’t mind burning bridges, you can add unlimited follow-up messages to a sequence:

BuzzStream – Extra followup messages

You can also set follow-up messages to go out after a certain amount of time has passed.

BuzzStream – Timed followup message

And if you REALLY don’t want to use automated follow-ups, you can set your sequence up so that BuzzStream reminds you to send another message… instead of sending it automatically.

BuzzStream – Message reminder

The Verdict: Persistence (via follow-up messages) is one of the keys to successful outreach. And BuzzStream has an intuitive feature that make setting these up an absolute breeze.

Tracking and Reporting

Tracking your outreach results is a HUGE pain.

You need to either cobble together different tools to help you measure open and reply rates (like YesWare)…

…and record everything in a spreadsheet.

That’s why most outreach tools (including BuzzStream) include some sort of tracking feature.

But is BuzzStream’s reporting any good?

Let’s find out…

You can get reports on 3 things:

  • How well your individual messages are performing (Message Insights)
  • How different team members are doing (Team Insights)
  • A birds eye view of an entire projects (Project Insights)

BuzzStream also has a “Projects Leaderboard”, but that’s not included in my plan (Starter):

BuzzStream – Projects leaderboard

That said, the reports that come with any plan are more than enough to see how you’re doing.

The Verdict: BuzzStream has very solid reporting features to help you understand which projects, team members and templates are getting results.

Link Monitoring

In my experience, if you reach out to someone and they add your link, they’ll get back to you 90% of the time.

(Usually saying something like: “Great post. I just added your link”).

That said, you will get the occasional link from someone that DOESN’T reply to your outreach email.

And for that situation, BuzzStream’s Link Monitoring feature is really helpful:

BuzzStream – Link monitoring

Link Monitoring scans the websites in your database to see if they’ve linked to you.

You also can set it up to check for links to any page on your site… or to a specific URL:

BuzzStream – Link monitoring specifics

Pretty cool.

And it automatically updates the list every 2 weeks. That way, you don’t bug people that just linked to you.

The Verdict: It’s nice to see who already linked to you. That said, I wish the list updated once or twice a week instead of every 2 weeks.

BuzzStream: What I Liked

Here’s what I liked the most:

  • Streamlines the most time consuming parts of the outreach process (like finding contact info)
  • Setting up outreach campaigns (and sequences) is an absolute breeze
  • Easy to create and use templates (and edit them before you hit “send”)
  • Chrome BuzzMarker ended up being super duper helpful
  • Helpful reporting features makes it easy to see how you’re doing
  • You have all of your outreach management in one place
  • BuzzStream pricing and plans are a great value for what you get. Plus, every plan comes with a free trial.
    BuzzStream – Plans, Free Trial

BuzzStream: What I Didn’t Like

Even I think BuzzStream is an overall great tool, there are a few things I didn’t like:

First, BuzzStream has a steep learning curve. For example, Link Monitoring didn’t work for me at first because I didn’t enter my website in this field when I first signed up:

BuzzStream – Enter site in field when signing up

It was just a blank page… with no recommendations on what to do.

BuzzStream – No site, blank page

I ran into clunky UI issues like this quite a bit.

Personally, I would prefer something that walks you through each step of the outreach process (finding prospects, reaching out and reporting).

Sure, you get your hand held during the first 1-2 steps:

BuzzStream – Initial hand-holding

Then you’re pretty much on your own.

That said, customer support was very helpful when I asked questions:

BuzzStream – Customer support

I understand that BuzzStream’s power users are SEO agencies and PR firms. So there probably isn’t much demand for a dumbed down version.

Second, I’d like to see some pre-built campaigns (BuzzStream competitors like Ninja Outreach have this feature). For example, it would be cool to choose “Guest Posting Campaign” and get a list of prospects, templates and sequences ready to use.

Third, there are a lot of out of date results in the BuzzStream Discovery tool.

My Overall Recommendation Is…

If you’re doing outreach at scale or with a team, I HIGHLY recommend giving BuzzStream a try.

In fact, it’s one of my favorite overall link building tools.

But if you’ve never sent an outreach email before, start with the manual approach.

Otherwise you have to learn the entire outreach process… along with a new tool.

So that’s it for my BuzzStream review.

And now I’d like to turn it over to you:

What’s your experience with BuzzStream?

Or maybe you have a question about something in my review.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

11 Comments

  1. Great review post Brian.

    I have yet to try this tool out but I will be sure to look into it. I usually recommend to my students to try the manual approach, since many bloggers are often willing to put forth the work so as long as it saves a bit on cost.

    That being said, I will certainly be sure to look into using this personally and recommend it as an option for my students!

    Thanks for sharing

    1. You’re welcome, Alex. I 100% agree: the manual approach is a MUST if you’re just starting out. A tool like BuzzStream only makes sense if you want to scale things up.

  2. Hey Brian, just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for this review. I heard about Buzzstream but wasn’t quite sure how it worked or if it’s worth giving it a try. Your explanations helped a lot (more than some other reviews I’ve seen).

    Will get my team to check it out now. Thanks again!

  3. Hey Brian!
    I loved your review of Buzzstream. I love this tool yet I think the part about finding emails also has a “more automated path” than manually visiting all the sites.

    Personally, I love the following “outreach stack”: buzzstream+agenty+findthatlead/hunter.io/phantombuster –> It brings results, even faster.

    I think it would make your post even more complete 🙂

    1. Thanks Apostolis. I’ve also found that including other tools (like Hunter) can speed things up. But for this review I wanted to focus 100% on BuzzStream and it’s features.

  4. Thanks for the walk-through. I just signed up and I’m still in my trial period. Using it to work on your SEO That Works curriculum, which rocks, by the way! My experience is in local SEO, but it’s time to step it up a notch after we’ve created all the local citations we can find!

    1. Hi David, you’re welcome. Let me know what you think of BuzzStream after you have a chance to give it a full trial run.

  5. Brian man, your tool reviews are sneaky. I had no idea you did a review on buzzstream! What a pleasant surprise, thanks for this 🙂

  6. Wow, just learned something new today! I was wondering how other people keep finding some of our old articles, that even I forgot about.

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