When I originally read John Doherty’s post on the ideal Gmail productivity setup for link builders, I was quite impressed. There stands probably the seminal piece on what you need as a link builder to get things done and get people to link to you online. From templates to tools, tactics to theory, John did an amazing job of describing what most effective link builder toolkits look like.
I had no idea until this week, though, that something was missing from the recipe – TextExpander from Smile Software.
TextExpander fills the holes in our process that, quite possibly, many of us weren’t quite sure we had. To sum up the tool, TextExpander allows us to create text “shortcuts” to unlock bigger blocks of text, instantly. For example, if I wanted to paste a broken link building template, anywhere, I could simply type the following:
And it would immediately expand to:
Hello NAME, I was browsing through your site/links as a NICHE SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION myself, and they’re great. ONE/TWO SENTENCES TAILORED TO SAID WEBSITE.
I’m contacting you specifically because I was looking through your links and I noticed a few broken ones – specifically to BROKEN LINK1, BROKENLINK2. Other than that you’ve got a great list!
I have two more suggestions for sites that were extremely helpful to me as a NICHE SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION might make good additions to your list – GREATRESOURCE and MYWEBSITE. GREATRESOURCE is a comprehensive and entertaining resource and MYWEBSITE has some great tips for NICHESPECIFIC DETAIL. Just a thought.
Anyways, just wanted to let you know and say thanks – have a great new year!
The Outreach Advantage
You might think this has some similarities to some other tools, such as ToutApp, which lets you quickly post templates (and also find emails quickly on the page), or Canned Responses, a piece of Gmail Labs, which does the same. So, why in the world would you use TextExpander?
The answer is agility – and the ability to be used where you never could use those other tools before. Namely, here:
Uhh, yeah. When’s the last time you used Canned Responses or E-Mail Templates outside of Gmail, where contact forms are more and more prevalent? The answer, I’m guessing, is never. TextExpander solves that problem. I see the form above, and quite quickly, I can populate every field:
- ;rh – Ross Hudgens
- ;em – email@example.com
- ;bl – Previously mentioned e-mail template.
TextExpander allows you to create a wide variety of responses to use – things like subject lines, phone numbers, signatures, slightly modified templates – all easily retrievable from the database on your computer. It’s quite elegant, and in terms of consistent functionality and ease of use, I think it blows ToutApp and Canned Responses out of the water.
No transferring modalities between mouse movement and text – operate from your keyboard, write an amazing e-mail, and get that link.
The TextExpander Interface
TextExpander is a Mac tool, but they have a PC equivalent in the form of Breevy as well. I can’t speak to its functionality or use, but I imagine it’s quite similar to how TextExpander works in application.
It doesn’t get much easier – input a subject line, your text, and then the shortcut you use. The recommendation is of course to create character strings you would never use in normal typing, as to not hit those triggers in non-wanted situations.
There’s even a cool “time saved” panel that Smile Software invested in, clearly, because they knew how valuable this tool could be from a productivity standpoint – and that putting it together would help its viral spread.
And strangely, this tool is a bit fun, especially at the beginning: because you realize how big of a time saver it is in comparison to whatever archaic technique you utilized in the past.
Pricing – A No-Brainer
Unfortunately, TextExpander isn’t free, but it might as well be: only $34.95 for never-ending use, $44.95 for up to 5 computers in one household, or $99.95 for up to 5 users in one business. Compare this ToutApp, which is $30/mo into infinity, and Canned Responses, which is free, but the least flexible in usage.
There also is a free demo, so feel free to check it out of you need to test – but honestly, I totally skipped that after realizing how many times I was hearing about it on the 5by5 Network from people I respect – and also, the product functionality is dead simple – you either want this or you don’t.
TextExpander in Application
Once you’ve got the tool, you’ve got lots of options to cut up text for your use. Really, anything you have ever changed in an e-mail and/or repated multiple times, should be utilized. I suggest you use something that’s an easy abbreviation, such as “;bl” for broken link building template, or “;em” for your e-mail address, so it’s easy to remember in the future. Some suggestions:
- Multiple Signatures for Different Clients
- E-Mail Addresses Used
- Phone Numbers
- Subject Lines
- URLs Frequently Used
- Closing Statements Modified For Date Significance (“Have a great night!/”Have a great Friday!”/”Have a great weekend!”)
- Frequently Used E-Mail Templates (Broken Link Building, Guest Posts, Follow-Up Messages, etc)
- Full Name/Persona Names
Pretty much anything you can think of, can be used here. Get populating the many variables and you’ll be an abbreviation wielding, productive marketing-contact-form-person in no time.
Disclosure – I Didn’t Get Paid to Write This
This post might practically read like something I got paid to write, and I do imagine it will get TextExpander a few sales. However, I was not compensated by TextExpander, nor did they contact me to try the product – I found it organically through 5by5.
I feel passionate enough to write about it, here, because I know this tool is something I haven’t heard SEOs mention much in my time browsing many outreach posts online – and when I found it, I realized just how powerful it can be as a benefit to our content marketing efforts online.
And not just for that, either – clearly, its use is multi-pronged, and it can save us time in many other ways as well.
Get it here – and happy abbreviating!