Recently there have been a lot of great posts about tools to help with link building, tools to help with content creation, tools and templates to help with Gmail productivity for link building and even some great content on finding linkers for outreach. In this post I'll focus on five great tools that are specifically useful for link outreach. While link building-related tasks such as link prospecting and content creation are crucial pieces in the link building puzzle, link outreach is also both important and difficult, and there are several elements that require organization, which is where some of the powerful link outreach tools now available come in.
1. Tout App
- Email Analytics This is fantastic you can quickly and easily see who opened and (in the event that they have images turned on) even who clicked through on your links.
- Templates You can also create and save certain responses and pitch Emails as templates this is fairly common in these types of applications, but it's also very useful as you're performing outreach to multiple people multiple times a day.
- Shared Templates This is one of the most powerful features of the application you can create and share multiple templates, then track their performance across multiple people performing outreach. This gives you a global picture of how certain subject lines or different approaches to the body of your pitch Email work, and allows you to test different ideas and get to statistical significance more quickly.
- Scheduled Emails I've written a large chunk of this post between 1 and 3am, but not everyone keeps these sorts of hours being able to queue up Emails whenever you have the time to work on them for times of day when folks are more likely to respond (and less likely to wonder why you're up at 3am crafting outreach Emails) is very handy. You can also space out your outreach over a series of days.
- Integration with Gmail You can use the Tout app within Gmail so that you can be tracking certain Emails (ie outreach Emails) and not others (ie personal Emails), and you can also quickly save a note as a template or use a template right from your Gmail interface.
- Find Contact Information on Webpages The tool also has a browser plugin that quickly scans pages to find contact information that's included on the page the plugin is slick and the integration with the app you're sending mail from is very handy.
Personally I'm a huge fan of the Tout app and we use it internally at Measured SEM, but it's also worth noting that some folks have seen poor deliverability results in the past.
Another app which serves a similar function to Tout App is Boomerang. Like Tout App Boomerang has quite a few nice features for Email outreach, and even many of the same features as Tout App including scheduling Emails and integrating with Gmail. Another nice feature offered by Boomerang that Tout App doesn't currently offer (as far as I know) is the ability to flag Emails to return to your inbox after a certain interval and/or if someone doesn't respond. As someone who manages several tasks based on my unread Emails in my inbox, this is a really nifty feature. Eric over at SEO Book did a great in-depth review of how to use Boomerang for link building.
That said personally I prefer Tout App's feature set to those of Boomerang, but you'll want to try both to get a sense of which fits better with your workflow.
Rapportive is another app that's gotten multiple mentions within the link building community as of late, and with good reason. Rapportive is great because it provides a lot of rich context to your outreach prospect, including things like their title, their geographic area, their latest tweets:
Leveraging the app here can quickly give me a lot of information about the person I'm reaching out to in combination with apps like Tout App, I can now very quickly customize an outreach template to be more personalized (by mentioning their position within the organization, including a PS complimenting then on a recent infographic they created and shared, etc.)
4. Citation Labs
As with Rapportive, a key component of link outreach is understanding context Rapportive does a great job of helping you do this at the personal level, and Citation Labs' link building tools do a great job of helping you do this at the site level. These tools can help you to discover:
- Contact information for a list of potential prospects
- Whether the Webmaster has already linked at you
- What the status of links on your target's site are (for broken link outreach)
- Whether a potential link is even relevant (using their URL filter tool)
This sort of additional context and list cleaning (usually taking place between link prospecting another handy tool for link building there and actual link outreach) is really invaluable as you move to executing link outreach because it can greatly increase your conversion percentage (both by converting more of the folks who might not have otherwise and by keeping you from wasting time on the wrong prospects).
For us one of the hardest and most critical pieces of the link outreach puzzle to get right is managing the process, and more specifically managing and updating link prospects. As you start to do outreach and have guest posts placed for a variety of sites and clients by a number of different people, it becomes critical to have a living database with updated information on which contacts you've already contacted, which contacts you've had success with in the past, and which contacts have been unreceptive. BuzzStream offers an extensive tagging and filtering system as well as very granular user controls, so that you can have several different outreach specialists and link builders working across projects and ensure that you're saving time and not overlapping your efforts.
As with anything else you'll want to make sure that each of these tools fit with your workflow, but in aggregate piecing together multiple of these tools for outreach has greatly improved efficiency and productivity in our link building outreach process, and likely will with yours as well.
Like link building tools?
- Using SEOmoz Tools for Link Prospecting
- What Building 10,000 Links Taught Me About The Top 3 Link Building Myths (+ 3 Essentials That Work!)
- The 5 Tools I *Really* Use Everyday