Content marketing drives business. Today's online environment essentially demands it. Whether you are looking for more customers, a rise in the rankings, or publicity - creating good content has to be at the forefront of your online marketing strategy.
Blogging helps build valuable content around your message and brand. It gives the search engines something to index. It gives people something to link to. Last but not least, good content answers the questions that your target audience is asking. This helps you build credibility in your niche and can help enhance your company as an authority in your industry.
It's easy to understand how creating good content is good for business. However, simply writing an article doesn't make the magic happen. You won't gain untold fame and link popularity on wit and writing style alone. You'll need to roll up your sleeves and put in a little elbow grease to attract readers to your blog. Google+ Communities can help.
A Little Background
Google+ Communities is a place like-minded people congregate around a particular topic or niche. Communities are much like forums or Facebook Groups. And, much like Facebook, anyone is able to create their own. However, unlike Facebook Groups, Google+ allows brand pages to participate, and even start their own communities. For bloggers - or any website that publishes content for that matter - this is an opportunity to laser target your audience and drive traffic to your blog posts.
Time to Get Your Feet Wet
Don't worry, the water's nice. The majority of people you'll find in the communities are quite friendly and engaging. Don't be afraid to hop in and share your opinion. Of course, proper etiquette is required. You don't want to join a community just to spam them with links back to your blog or website. This shows a lack of regard towards community spirit and the forum environment. Forums are built for the exchange of ideas and opinions. You want to give as much as you share.
Get Noticed (And Get More Traffic To Your Blog or Website)
Think of using Google+ Communities as forum marketing. It's essentially the same thing. Your goal should be to add value, offer insight, and join in the conversation. Keep these fundamentals in mind and you will attract attention (the good kind):
1. Time to mingle
The easiest way to get noticed is to get out there. No one is going to notice you if you're not pounding the virtual pavement (so to speak). So, the first step is action. The first thing you'll want to do is join the communities that have a topical relationship to your niche. For example, a website with a focus on SEO and online marketing would naturally gravitate towards Google+ Communities covering these topics. Here are some examples:
SEO+: Search Engine Optimization / Web Design
Social Media Marketing for Small Business Owners
You can also take it one step further and think of your target audience. If you are an SEO consultant, you naturally work with other business owners. Why not go where other small business owners are hanging out? The point here is to find groups where your audience congregates or looks for answers.
2. Share content that answers people's questions
People go online for entertainment or information. That is putting it as simply as you can. Often times people use forums to search for answers, ask questions, get opinions. This is where all that knowledge you have comes in. Show off your skills by answering people's questions or offering up insight that gets them thinking. Don't simply post a link to your content. Give them a clear answer that has value, build on the conversation, and then offer a link to one of your posts that explains the concept in more detail.
Tip: You'll also find inspiration for future posts based on the questions being asked.
3. Comment on other people's posts
Shining the spotlight on someone else is almost guaranteed to get you noticed. Aren't we searching for the same thing? By actively engaging with what other people have to say, you'll in turn pull some of that attention back to yourself. Do this often and people will appreciate the gesture. They'll also be more likely to follow you and check out your website or blog.
4. Be consistent
Consistency always pays off. This ties into everything you do in life. Once you find the communities that are beneficial to your brand, you want to stay consistent. Develop a routine that allows you to stay visible by commenting on posts, sharing your own, and sharing information that people find useful.
5. Become a bastion of information
When people see you as a source of information the dividends can be immeasurable. This is what being a thought leader and industry expert is all about. Good information and advice breeds trust. No amount of marketing dollars can achieve that.
6. Build a community around your brand
Launching your own Google+ Community can also be a great way to generate brand recognition. This can work really well if you already are part of a large network. Sometimes lists are easier to explain an approach, so here you go:
Create a community around your niche and target audience with your brand page.
Invite people from your personal network (Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).
Have people in your company become part of the group. (They can also help with moderation).
Generate useful content and start conversations that encourage participation.