March, 20
by RT

Top Influencer Outreach Platforms Comparison & Assessment

After having worked in influencer outreach / blogger outreach for a few years; sharing infographics and guest posts to help several of my clients with their websites and businesses, I've reached a point where I have tried several different outreach platforms and software including the top ones; Buzzstream, Ninja Outreach and even Google Sheets, and have come to see the advantages and disadvantages in each platform.

Top Influencer Outreach Platforms Comparison & Assessment

Buzzstream

 

 

Advantages:

 

- Buzzstream is easy on the eye since it's sort of grid based, just like sheets (easier on the eye than Ninja Outreach).


- Email Integration makes it easy to send personalized template emails.

- Moving Accounts from project to project makes it easy to track an account’s history in a straightforward one-page manner without much trouble
Automatic Template generation in outreach mode.


- Customized templates specific for each different project. Templates from different projects can be added to other projects as well.


- Missing information such as email addresses, first and last names, and other important information automatically added by the system sometimes.


- Domain Authority is automatically updated and always accurate.


- Ability to have different projects in a very easy way and shift between them while seeing all related information.

 

Disadvantages:

 

- At times, Buzzstream is somewhat slow to load data and confirm changes. Even skipping from a page to another takes around 5 seconds which is a lot if you're working for hours on the platform.

 

- Buzzstream is a very bad idea for Instagram outreach as it won't allow you to export the Instagram profile URL field whatsoever.

 

- Not convenient at all for Instagram outreach as it won't allow you to add Instagram accounts without a website value, and a lot of them don't have a website or they don't display it on their Instagram accounts.

 

- The export feature will export from within a project but not from the "All contacts" page. Thus to export a specific selection of websites, you will have to copy them into a project and then perform the export.

 

- Does not show a warning when an email address doesnt seem to exist [Note that this has been fixed for bulk sending but not for individual sending].

 

- Cannot schedule automatic follow up emails if no reply [Note that this feature is available as of end 2017].

 

- Not cheap. They've made the discovery method free now so price might be reasonable now but still it's costly.


- Lots of things cannot be done from the Follow up feature: Custom fields, Cannot CC anyone, cannot schedule emails to later date.


- Certain things cannot be done from the outreach feature: People (their Names & Email Addresses) & other contacts, Company Name, Contact us page, Cannot CC anyone.


- There is absolutely no field for Instagram followers which makes it impssible to do effective research for Instagram influencers and according to number of Instagram followers (which makes it a bad fit for Instagram outreach).

 

- Cannot properly share domains (for qualification) with clients since you don't want them to see contact details of every single website / web master. I, fact, I recently sent the Buzzstream team and email with the following feature suggestion: 

"I would like to be able to customize user roles more, specifically, I would like to be able to hide specific fields such as contact information and other custom fields. It would be great if we could just pick each and every field we wanted to make visible for each and every user role or not. This is particularly helpful for when I am doing SEO for a client, and I am inviting him to qualify websites on Buzzstream, I would want them to see website name, domain, domain authority, traffic and relationship stage for instance, but I would not want them to be able to see contact information, price details, and certain custom fields."

 

Ninja Outreach

 

 

Advantages:

 

- Shows you a warning when an email address doesnt seem to exist so that your email does not bounce or get sent for no reason, although this is also a disadvantage (Reasons indicated below).

- Outreach mode allows you to edit names and other fields that you might not be allowed to edit in Buzzstream outreach mode.

- Ninja Outreach allows you to perform effective Instagram outreach since you can search and filter influencers by number of followers. With Instagram being a top social media tool, it is necessary to have a platform that allows you to perfrom outreach via Instagram reposts and shoutouts.

- Emails that are not functional are pointed out by the Nina Outreach system so that you don’t send too many emails that end up bouncing.

- Brings you more information about website + additional email addresses and contact names.

- Automated email sending available when you upgrade to the $99/month plan.

- Will automatically load email templates in the contact forms of websites so you don’t have to copy paste each time.

- Automatic follow up emails feature should be available soon.

- Might be less expensive than Buzzstream.

 

Disadvantages:

 - Filtering based on the "relationship stage" is extremely unpractial because when you filter based on "Blogger agreed to guest post", all contacts that have had this relationship stage in the past will show up (even those that have a different updated relationship stage) which basically means that you cannot filter properly by one of the most important fields. This is extremely impractical. Update: This problem can be circumvented by deleting the old relationship stages which you don't want to show up and only keeping the one that matters, but this solution is time-consuming and not very efficient.

- Shows you a warning in outreach mode every single time before sending an email (which you are prompted to respond to by yes or not) when an email address doesnt seem to exist. However this has proven to be flawed as a lot of emails seem to exist but are indicated by Ninja as non-existant.

- Problem when discovering emails, the emails discovered for social media outreach (mainly Instagram) seem to be incorrect (most of them) for some reason! Perhaps that's not the platform's fault but it sort of defeit the purpose of the paltform.

- There is a problem which is that even the filtering and exporting option is not very accurate since we cannot filter by published posts or by date (only by relationship stage) which makes it impossible to filter accurately by accounts that have re-posted us (since relationship stages might change if we are working on a new campaign with an existing account).

- Duplications are possible in some fields, which make it somewhat impractical (for instance, there can be 2 "Blogger agreed to guest post" in the "relationship stage" field).

- No Reports tab, although not sure how useful it would be (because filtering and exports are available so that might be enough).

- No fields for second person's name, Niche, Cost and several other criteria (makes it time consuming to import since a lot of fields have to be deleted).

- Problem when importing files (cannot scroll down) when too many columns are present in spreadsheet. I am not sure if this problem is still happening though.

- No field values for a lot of criteria
Fields such as last interaction date, date added etc don't exist.
 
- No custom fields
There are no custom fields! This is really inconvenient because I need to be able to add several custom fields in order to filter by them and have a more comprehensive contact list. For instance, I really need to indicate the costs for different contacts, since they charge us for reposts, and be able to filter by cost! 

- Import not working for websites that have long domain names (link to a certain page in a domain). Thus all URLs need to be modified to a certain character limit which means import will be very time-consuming.

 

Google Sheets

 

 

 

Advantages:

 

- It's completely free.

- More customisability. You can easily add as many fields as you want by simply inserting a new column.

- Add-ons can allow you to have so many interesting features such as the "remove duplicate" add-on which scans your sheet for duplicates and allows you to eliminate them. 

 

Disadvantages: 

 

- Easy to have duplicates in your sheet, even if you do your best at removing them, since some domains are written differently in each row (ie: http://www.domainname.com vs. https://www.domainname.com vs. www.domainname.com vs. domainname.com).

- Can make it hard to organise and follow up with potentials if you are not extremely organised and have a routine in place for following up with contacts and keeping track of potential's statuses.
You must be somewhat Google-sheets savvy to use it in an effective way for influencer outreach since you'd have to use a lot of data validation, add-ons, specific fields such as follow-up dates, relationship statuses and published links.

- You do not have the ability to automate email generation and sending emails, although you can generate email bodies by using certain formulas, but would still have to send them manually from your email.

 

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