No matter how great writer and blogger you are, no one will get to your posts and read them if no one is visiting your site. You need to drive traffic to your blog, and with a potential of 540 million monthly active users, Google+ can offer you some truly amazing opportunities.
As part of your marketing efforts, cross-promoting on Google+ will get more eyeballs on your unique blog content, hence greater potential for sharing. The more people share and talk about your content, the better your blog will rank in search engines results (check my post on content and SEO).
To start using Google+, or improve your current engagement, follow these tips:
Create a Business Page for Your Blog.
With a personal Google+ account you can create a Business Page for your blog. Keep it simple, customize it to make it more appealing and connect with readers on a more personal level. Add your location, related business category, include a strong clean tagline and insightful introduction section, personalize your profile image, and don’t forget to call to action and link to your site. Also, make use of the large cover photos, which can now go up to 2120 x 1192 pxs, to better express your blog’s image and make a solid first impression on new-comers inviting them to go visit your site.
Share Your Blog Posts with Targeted Circles.
What social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others can’t offer is the ability to categorize your following and post highly targeted content to each segment. With Google+ you can do this – create circles for your customers, collaborators, respected bloggers and industry leaders, members of your team, or any other category that fits your needs, similar to what you are already doing with your email list. No one except you will know the list(s) they belong to so don’t worry that someone will get offended.
This is a great opportunity to differentiate your messages and create separate updates for your posts targeting different circles of readers. A post with a Christmas cookie recipe can also say “How do you creatively express in the Christmas kitchen?” and be shared with a circle of chefs or restaurants. If you have a new ebook coming out you can post the link to your customers circle with introduction and prices included, or share it with industry leaders and ask for their reviews. That is the amazing marketing power of Google+.
Engage in Google+ Communities.
Google+ Communities are similar to Facebook’s and LinkedIn’s groups – they are designed to bring people together around shared interests. You can think of them as a modern version of interactive forums, or marketplace where you can communicate with your readership and potential customers.
You can create your own community, but given the time and energy needed to build a substantial following, it’s probably better to search the tons that are already available and join those that best suit your niche. There are really amazing Google+ communities developed around so many topics… just watch the introduction video and you’ll get the idea:
If you are selling something on your blog find communities that are relevant to your products or services and get involved in the conversations, comment, share and +1 the posts – you’ll soon get to know lots of people with same interests as yours.
Google+ communities provide a truly amazing way to expand your reach as a blogger and establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Once readers get to know you start posting links to your own content and they will share, +1, comment on, and click through, helping you further promote your blog online. Together with the links include a brief description of your posts, ask a question or share interesting information to pique readers’ interest, and add specific hashtags to reach targeted market segments.
Use Hashtags for Greater Reach.
Hashtags (#) help you categorize your Google+ updates so your posts would be found in searches on the site by your target readers. Be careful not to overstuff with hashtags – one to three in a post or below it are optimal and show that you know exactly who you want to get to. Some tags can be detailed like #2014NewYearDresses, others can be more general such as #perfume to appear in front of a greater audience. You can also make your keywords bold by putting asterisks around them *like this*.
Host Google+ Hangouts.
Google+ Hangouts are like free webinars, video conferences, live interviews that you can join or host to keep in touch with customers, industry experts and blogger supporters. You can use them together with your blog posts as a new media format to interest your readers – every week or at the end of the month you can all discuss the most read and commented posts via a G+ hangout. Share the video on YouTube to get even more people watching it and getting involved.
Search the Live Hangouts on Air for topics related to your niche and just listen to or enter the discussion if there’s an open invite to get people to know you and your work – the more they know you, the more they’ll share your blog content later.
Sign Up for Authorship.
With the main goal in mind to bring more traffic to your blog and build influence online don’t miss to sign up for Google Authorship also, to connect your Google+ profile to the content you create. Your posts will appear in the search results with your face beside them making them more appealing and brand-recognizable for the searchers. Something like this:
Authorship includes analytics too, so you really got to love that!
Add The +1 Button.
This may be obvious, but it’s also very important, so make sure to not overlook it and add the G+1 button on all your posts so it will be easy for your blog readers to share them to their feed, circles and communities.
What about you? Are you using Google+ to drive more traffic to your blogs? What tips can you share? Look forward to hearing your experience and insights in the comments below.