BuzzStream Review: Is This Link Building and Outreach Tool Worth It?
by Brian Dean · Updated Nov. 26, 2018
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.
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:
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.
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”…
…you get a list of content marketing experts:
You can even sort the results by Moz Domain Authority, number of Twitter followers and more:
(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.
So if you do use this feature, make sure to set the “Last Activity” to the last year or month:
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”.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
(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:
(Like the prospect’s website, first name and more)
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)
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:
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:
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:
You can also set follow-up messages to go out after a certain amount of time has passed.
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.
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):
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.
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:
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:
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: 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:
It was just a blank page… with no recommendations on what to do.
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:
Then you’re pretty much on your own.
That said, customer support was very helpful when I asked questions:
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.