Content marketing is all the rage these days. The ” content” in content marketing might be blog posts, videos, slide shows, white papers, podcasts, ebooks–anything that can be read, viewed, or listened to by others. But why do it, and how is it “marketing”? Good content can do all of the following:
- Build your image as a trusted authority in topics related to your business concerns.
- Develop loyal followers who will come back for more of what you have to offer.
- Enhance the likelihood that you and your business will be easily found in search engines.
- Create new relationships with people who otherwise never would have been exposed to your brand.
- Provide incentives to followers to share you and your brand with others.
These days we have more ways to create content and more ways to share it than ever before. In this post I want to highlight why Google+ should be an important part of your content marketing strategy, and how you can best take advantage of what it has to offer.
Why Use Google+ in Your Content Marketing?
Google+ should have a primary place in your content marketing strategy for the following reasons:
- Google+ has a significant effect on Google search. The most important place for you to be found is in search. Why? People using search are in “intention mode.” They have an itch, and they are looking to scratch it. If your product or service is in front of them when they have that itch, they are more likely to use you to scratch it. That means you should take advantage of every available means to get found in search. G+ public posts get indexed by Google search, and they have proven power to rank for keywords significant to your business.
- Google+ allows a variety of content options. You can post text, photos, and videos. You can even record a video post using your webcam right in a G+ share box.
- Google+ enables you to create “rich” posts. You can take advantage of G+ post formatting to create posts more likely to get read, clicked, and re-shared.
Since Google+ offers more options in the last category than almost any other social media outlet, let’s focus on how to use that effectively.
Optimizing the Appearance of Your Google+ Posts
If your followers have lots of people and pages in their circles, they will see a lot of posts go by in their Google+ stream. The average web user spends just 3 seconds on a post to decide whether to keep reading or move on. You need to use every device at your disposal to win the attention game in your content marketing.
Look at this sample post:
Notice the following rich formatting qualities that will help get this post noticed:
- Bold headlines and subheads. Google+ provides a limited set of formatting codes. Put asterisks around *text you want to appear in bold typeface.* Place underscores around _text you want italicized._ I recommend creating a bold headline for every post. If the post has a lot of text, break it up with bold subheads that lead the reader through your main points. These allow the reader to quick scan your post to decide if it merits a complete read.
- Add images or videos. Google+ is renowned for its beautiful display of images in the post stream. Add a relevant image or video to posts you want noticed. Nothing draws the human eye more than a powerful image. If you are sharing a link to web content, G+ will suggest an image from the original content. If more than one image is available, hover your mouse over the suggested image and use the arrow that appear to cycle through the images until you find the best. If there is not a good available image, or you are creating original content in Google+, you can add an image to the post by clicking the camera icon at the bottom of the sharing box. Social media expert Guy Kawasaki thinks this is so important, he shares in his book What the Plus: Google+ for the Rest of Us that he creates a custom image for every post he puts on G+. Bonus: You can even create an on-the-fly video post by clicking the video icon in the share box and selecting “record a video.”
- Add name tagging and hashtags. You can “tag” other Google+ users in a post by typing the plus sign (+) and then their name. As you type, suggested names will appear. Select the correct one and a clickable nam link is created. In addition, the tagged person gets a notification that you mentioned them. Use this appropriately! Make sure the post is relevant to the tagged person. Don’t spam tag! Aside from getting an influential person to notice your post, these name tags also have a “name dropping” effect. Because they stand out a blue hyperlinks, others will notice an influential name connected with your posts. Similar to Twitter, you can also use hashtags in G+ (type a hash mark [#] followed by a keyword with no spaces). For example #socialmedia. Google+ will convert this into a blue clickable link. These hashtags can be found in G+ search.
As stated above, using these formatting tricks will help get your posts noticed in the G+ stream. But you should also keep in mind that anything you post to “public” in Google+ can be found in Google search. This means you should treat every public post as a stand-alone blog post. You might also want to add a call to action with a link to an appropriate landing page on your home site.
How have you been using Google+ as part of your content marketing efforts?