Google+ – I am sure that you would have had your hands on it by now. Or at least you would have experienced the plus wave.
You can read about it all over the internet and especially on blogs.You would have had numerous invites and notifications from some of your “lucky friends” who managed to get their hands on it before you.
There have been mixed opinions about it from people. Some like it to the extent that they are ready to dump Facebook, while some find it annoying and feel that Google is copying Facebook and trying to make a scene.
Well, what do I say is this: I love Google plus for many reasons. Before directly going into the topic of this post, let me tell you briefly about my opinion on plus overall.
What I like about plus?
1. Clean and pleasant look. As I have already told you on a different context, I hate clutter. That could easily demotivate me. So plus is just right for me. When I am inside plus, I don’t feel that I am inside Facebook. I think that is enough for me to like it.
2. Privacy. I don’t think that I will have to write a lot about it. You know what is “privacy issue” if you are a Facebook user. People can add me to their circle or a list, but that doesn’t mean that I will be getting annoying updates from all those who add me.
I choose what gets into my stream. Even if I am friends with them it doesn’t mean that they can control my environment. This is a cool thing.
3. No game requests (at least so far, LOL). No I am serious, no poking and people asking me to join them playing games.
4. Adding people to circles is a pleasant feature that works like breeze. Drag, drop, suggestions to add (that is pretty much like Facebook), putting your mouse over “add to circle” automatically brings up a drop down of available circles for you to choose and so on.
Well these are big and little things. But they count a lot when it comes to user experience.
So coming to the point – If you are a blogger, how can you benefit from Google+. There are at least two major things that Google+ will help you with.
- Blog promotion, and
- Blog post ideas.
Talking a bit more detailed about this, it is not “just” another promotion. With circles you can really target your audience. Now I assume that you know how to create a circle.
If you identify your followers’ or audience’s interests you can create separate circles for them and put them in boxes (well, circles). Of course, you can put the same person in more than one circle.
So if your “fellow blogger” is also your “friend” and your “client” you can put him/her in three different boxes: Fellow Bloggers, Friends, Clients.
Now whenever you have something to share with your audience, choose the right circle. If your blog post is about blogging tips, your fellow bloggers will surely be interested in it. So when you share such a post, make sure you share it with your circle, and of course you can make it public too!
Now, if your fellow bloggers are using plus and have added you, they will get your post in their stream. If they are not using plus, they will be emailed about your share.
Once you share it on Google plus, people can reshare your post, comment on it and can +1 it. That is a lot of promotion, targeted promotion I mean.
Blog post ideas
When you are on Google+, you can see “Sparks” on the left sidebar.
Now you can choose from some recommendations from Google like Cycling, Fashion etc. But you can also type your interests in the box.
You can choose to type one of your blog’s categories, tags or any of the primary keywords and press Enter. You will now be presented with the recent results related to your search.
Now all you have to do is to click “Add Interest” and that’s it. Now you can do multiple searches like these and add all those interests. They will be saved on the sidebar under “Sparks” like this.
That’s it you are done. Now you can either regularly visit your interests by clicking on them, or you can visit any one of them when you have a writer’s block.
To me, I found that I can catch up with hot news in my niche. Not just for blog post ideas, but for regular reading, finding new blogs etc. I am using Sparks.
How are you using Circles and Sparks as a blogger?