We all know that links are an important part of SEO. They help users and bots navigate a site and give search engines information about its quality and authority. With links confirmed as one of Google’s top three ranking factors, we’ve all been reminded of the importance of quality, relevant backlinks. In order to get those backlinks, we have to put a good amount of effort into link building, and that often proves to be a big challenge. There are scaling issues. There are research and outreach management challenges.
To make link building a little easier, our team has been using Pitchbox, a nifty tool that helps automate the prospecting and outreach processes. The great folks at Pitchbox recognized the pain points link builders were having, and built a tool to squash those issues. It’s helped us save time and improve our link building efforts, and we thought it was time that more people knew about it! Here are a few reasons we think you should give the tool a shot, along with some tips to help you get the most out of it.
Prospecting for Gold
Pitchbox won’t literally help you prospect for gold, but it will help you find some “golden” link and PR prospects, along with their contact information. One of the coolest things about Pitchbox is that you can choose from a few different types of campaigns for a client project based on the level and type of prospecting you need. At the moment, there are eight options to choose from:
- Blogger Outreach: Pitchbox does a quick search for a list of keywords that you provide to find related articles and blog posts.
- Advanced Search: Just like Blogger Outreach, Pitchbox will look for your keywords, but you can narrow the search even further by using advanced search operators.
- Hot Off The Press: Pitchbox looks for blog posts that are related to your keywords and posted in the last 24 hours.
- Product Reviews: Pitchbox will find sites that write product reviews based on a list of keywords.
- Competitor Backlinks: Pitchbox uses Majestic to find backlink data for a list of your competitors.
- Website Import: If you’ve already done manual prospecting, you can import a list of websites and have Pitchbox look for contact information.
- Contact Import: Import a list of websites with contact information that you’ve already gathered.
- Link Removal: Upload a list of any URLs with spammy links that point to your site and Pitchbox will help you get in touch with the webmasters to get them removed.
If you’re familiar with Link Prospector, this function is Pitchbox’s take on the task. It works quite well.
To save you even more time, most campaigns have the option to include quality filters from Moz and Majestic to weed out sites with lower metrics while Pitchbox is searching for prospects. This way you don’t have to go through a long list and manually eliminate lower quality sites yourself.
Tip: Like any link prospecting tool, sometimes the prospects that Pitchbox finds can be a little unexpected, but the keywords you use and the niche you’re working in usually play a big role in the types of prospects, or opportunities, it pulls. Do some keyword research to make sure you are entering the most relevant keywords based on the topic you’re trying to do outreach for. We’ve also found that using fewer keywords in a campaign, around six but no more than ten, often gives you better results. If you have a lot of keywords you want to use, you can easily create multiple campaigns for one link building project.
Another great thing about Pitchbox is that it will help you find contact information for each opportunity, saving you even more time. It searches each opportunity URL for email addresses and names and pulls that information right into your campaign. You’ll probably still have to append this data with research of your own, but it’s a fantastic starting point – the best we’ve seen yet. Plus you can export it if you’d like.
Above is the data pulled for the Greenlane site. The last email is our owner’s personal email address. I have no idea how they got that, but it’s real, and that’s impressive.
If you need more data, you can enhance the contact record. Clicking the full black star will give you the most data (when available):
While the enhanced preview picked up an old Twitter account, it was pretty accurate on other data, like his Facebook account, Linkedin, and others. Definitely helpful for those times you need alternative forms of contact information.
Tip 1: Pitchbox pulls any email address it can find, meaning that some of the contacts it gives you may not be exactly who you’re looking to get in contact with. But that can be a good thing – sometimes you can be inspired to try different pitching angles with the different kinds of emails it uncovers.
Tip 2: Pitchbox will put a red flag next to any opportunities or contacts you have either reached out to or have waiting within another campaign or client project. Take a look at these to make sure you don’t unnecessarily reach out to the same people multiple times.
Tip 3: Don’t just rely on Pitchbox’s prospecting data. They won’t have it all. I’m a big fan of ContactOut for finding contact information. Check them out.
Mass Personalized Outreach is Possible!
SEOs occasionally advise against using templates for outreach, stressing that personalization is the key to success. They’re right, but sometimes you may have too many prospects and personalizing every single email within a certain amount of time isn’t feasible. Pitchbox solves the problem of scale with templates and intuitive personalization fields. Personalization fields can include information such as a blog’s name and most recent post, and they can be filled out for each opportunity. You can then add these personalization fields as well as contact information to your custom outreach templates using merge fields to make your outreach emails more personal. They give you the ability to go full-on template based, or just a little help from templates, leaving the choice to you.
Tip: If you know conditional logic, you can personalize your emails even further based on the information you have for an opportunity. For example, if the greeting for your template is “Hello, [First Name],” but some of your opportunities don’t have a contact’s first name, you can add logic that automatically changes that greeting to “Hello there!”
Set Up a Reasonable Outreach Schedule
Pitchbox allows you to set up an email sequence where it will reach out to opportunity contacts up to three times depending on whether or not the contact responds (this is customizable). You can choose the number of days between each attempt to reasonably space them out and avoid inundating them with multiple emails in a short timespan. If you have more than one contact for an opportunity, Pitchbox will first send the emails to the first contact on the list, run the series, and if there is no response it moves on to the next contact in line. When you receive a response, you can view and respond to it within Pitchbox’s interface as well, eliminating the need to use multiple programs or browser windows.
Tip: Each email can be assigned milestones such as “Won”, “Lost”, “Negotiation”, and “Almost There” to help keep track of where you are in the outreach process for each opportunity and remind you of those you may need to check up on. If you’re working with others teammates on a campaign, this makes it easier to see share the campaign like a CRM tool would.
Look at Data in Various Ways
Aside from the prospecting and outreach tools, Pitchbox also has many different ways to look at data to see how your projects and campaigns are doing. Looking at it from a project level, you can see how many opportunities you have sitting in each phase of the process and the total number of emails you have sent. There’s also a graph that shows you how many emails you’ve sent in the past month and the number of responses you’ve received.
At the campaign level, you will see almost the same information for a specific campaign, plus its response rate to see whether or not your efforts are paying off.
You can also create a Client Report that can be downloaded as a pdf to show your client how the campaigns have been doing. It gives specifics, such as how many opportunities have been found, how many have been personalized, how many emails have been sent out, and how many opportunities have been won. You can also see charts of the email and milestone breakdowns and a list of all the opportunities that were found.
Why Use Pitchbox?
Pitchbox has been a life-saver when it comes to link building, and I’m only exaggerating a little bit. Not only has it made the entire process easier and saved us time each step of the way, in most cases it’s also helped us increase the number of prospects we are able to find. The ability to create personalized templates and instantly send them out to hundreds of opportunities is a big plus and has helped us discover new ways to increase our response rates. The tool’s clean interface makes it easy to use, and its automatically generated charts provide helpful data visualization that allows you to see how your efforts are faring. Not to mention, these are great reports to send to clients.
And that doesn’t even touch on all of its features! Pitchbox has a lot to offer, and we’re still learning new ways to use it. From digital PR to getting new business prospects, it lives up to its description as an “Influencer Outreach & Content Marketing Platform.” If you’re looking to make link building easier and improve your strategies, it’s a great tool to have in your SEO arsenal.
If you want to learn more about this tool and its features, check out the live demo on the Pitchbox homepage!