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An interview with Paul May

Paul tell me about BuzzStream?
BuzzStream provides a set of tools to help marketers build and manage relationships with word-of-mouth influencers. The toolset helps marketers do four things: 1) find influencers, 2) research them (i.e., find contact/social profile info and collect key metrics to help determine level of influence), 3) keep track of communications and engagement with influencers, and 4) manage relationships collaboratively across a team.

How can BuzzStream aids in blogger relations and building connections with what Chris Brogan calls Trust Agents?
Todd Defren had a great post where he described the difference between traditional media relations and blogger relations. He described traditional media relations as a “relationship of convenience” and blogger relations as “a love affair.” Understanding this difference is the key to successful blogger relations…the key is understanding that blogger outreach is much more effective if you’ve already established some relationship with the blogger and it’s much more critical that you understand the interests of the blogger (i.e., your pitch better be pretty damn relevant).

As we see it, this is putting marketers in a double bind. Because the world is so much more fragmented than it was when traditional media ruled the world, you need to conduct much broader outreach than you used to…but at the same time, the bar for what’s considered acceptable outreach is so much higher and the consequences for bad outreach are so much greater (the warning that you have on your about page is a good example :).

What we’re doing at BuzzStream to help with this is to build a set of tools that takes the manual, tedious steps in the blogger relations process and automates them. This includes the following:
• When you find someone who’s writing about the topics you care about, we reduce the time required to research them by collecting contact information, traversing their social graph (to find out where else they live on the social web), and collecting influence metrics
• Automatically keeping tracking of your communications with them, including tweets and emails between you and the influencers in your contact database
• Tracking all of the interactions conducted by members of your team, so that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing and so that the best person for the task at hand is interacting with your influencers
• Giving you advanced filtering capabilities so that you can take your contact database and easily create lists for segmented communications (e.g., “all food bloggers assigned to me with more than 500 twitter followers”).

Which bloggers are currently successfully using BuzzStream and what have they said about you?
LOTS of folks…some bloggers who use BuzzStream and who have written about us:
• Jason Falls (currently #1 on the AdAge Power 150): http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/2009/06/09/buzzstream-next-must-have-software-for-pr-professionals/
• Kami Huyse (very influential among PR professionals): http://overtonecomm.blogspot.com/2009/06/cool-tools-buzzstream-is-contact.html
• Shel Holtz (also very influential among PR pros): http://blog.holtz.com/index.php/weblog/i_have_invites_for_buzzstream_beta/
• Virginia Nussey at the Bruce Clay blog (and a number of people at Bruce Clay): http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/archives/2009/03/buzzstream_link.html
• Lots of other SEOs…I can provide more, if you need them.

How can I use BuzzStream for link building?
We have two products – BuzzStream for Link Management and BuzzStream for PR and Social Media. BuzzStream for Link Management is a CRM system specifically made for managing the link building process. It includes: 1) a bookmarking tool that collects metrics, contact info and looks for links on the page to your websites, 2) e-mail and twitter tracking, 3) workflow for tracking the link building process (e.g., Relationship Stage= not started, attempting to reach, link agreement, etc.), and 4) automatic backlink checking to make sure that the link you want is actually what you got (is it linking to the right page? Is the anchor text what you wanted? Is it a no follow? Is it a bad neighborhood?)

How BuzzStream can be used as a Twitter CRM?
We’re not trying to be a full twitter CRM system (like co-tweet and products like it), but we are keeping track of your interactions with influencers on twitter. So, for example, if I added Murray Newlands to my contact database and then DM or @message you, it’ll automatically get added to your contact record (same thing if you [email protected] me). That way when I reach out to you, I’ll see in your contact record a complete picture of my twitter communications with you.

How BuzzStream can be used with Facebook?
We don’t currently integrate with Facebook, but we do know of customers who are keeping track of their facebook communications in BuzzStream (right now they’re manually adding notes).

How BuzzStream encourages practices that help PR firms avoid getting into trouble with bloggers i.e. the whole Tripani/Anderson PR blacklist debate?

http://www.pr-squared.com/2008/05/open_letter_to_gina_trapani_of.html

It’s all about relevance and relationships and that’s what we focus on…give you the tools that help you build more relationships and conduct more relevant outreach.

What is being propounded by social media company’s right now what is just smoke and mirrors or that is just sales nonsense?
People are now shouting “social CRM” without really even thinking through what it means or why it matters. It’s become a hot topic, so vendors are now saying it almost as a reflex. Customers need to focus on the specific pain and then look at how social CRM technologies can help address this.

Why is BuzzStream different/better than SM2? Why is BuzzStream different/better than Radian6 ? Why is BuzzStream different/better than Popularmedia?

We have monitoring in our product, but we’re not trying to outgun the social media monitoring vendors…lots of people who are using BuzzStream are also using Radian6, SM2, etc. We think we have a pretty slick monitoring product and the price is certainly right for it, but being the world’s richest monitoring solution is not our goal (we have monitoring in the product because not all of our customers have a monitoring solution and they need a good enough solution at a reasonable price). Our goal is to be best at two things: 1) researching contact info and building a social profile, and 2) keeping track of your interactions with influencers.

How can BuzzStream be used in with email and social media?
Every BuzzStream user gets a BuzzStream email address that they can BCC when they communicate with influencers. When you do this, it automatically adds the communication to the contact record for the influencer. We also integrate with the twitter API to add twitter communications to the contact record (as described above)…more social media integration in the works 🙂

Would you take a one month challenge to work with me to help murraynewlands.com and blog the results? And what would be judged on?
Certainly open to it. We could judge it on lots of things… number of links, number of blogger mentions, etc. Let’s talk about how this would work.

Who in the Social Media world would you recommend?

Some of my favorites:
• Dave Fleet’s blog completely kicks ass – http://davefleet.com/
• Jason Falls consistently writes great content – www.socialmediaexplorer.com
• Todd Defren understands the confluence of PR, social media and SEO really well – www.pr-squared.com
• Kami Huyse’s blog and tweets are excellent for PR and social media marketing – http://overtonecomm.blogspot.com
• Shel Holtz’ and Neville Chamberlain’s podcast is also great for PR and social media marketing – http://www.forimmediaterelease.biz/
• Chris Brogan…I’m really hoping to get him some exposure, as he’s a real hidden gem 😉 www.chrisbrogan.com
• Kyle Flaherty – understands social media marketing and PR for B2B REALLY well – www.engageinpr.com
• All three principals at Outspoken Media…smart and funny as hell. Great content about SEO, affiliate marketing and reputation management. Great twitter feeds also – http://outspokenmedia.com/blog/
• Eric Ward’s column on searchengineland (he’s an advisor)…understands link building as well as anyone – www.searchengineland.com
• Lee Odden writes great stuff about both PR and search – www.toprankblog.com .

What is one thing people can do to help you?
Try our product, beat the living crap out of it and give me feedback 🙂

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