Use this Amazing Technique to Increase Blog Engagement on Google+
When you've published a new blog post, your next step should always be to promote it, and I've broken down many of the techniques I use myself. From sharing to social media to pinging blog directories to including it in weekly newsletters, there are a lot of ways to put eyeballs on your content.
But sharing to social media is tricky. When you craft a post and share it, you're hoping that the people who follow you will catch it. Social media streams move fast, and the more people you're following and connected with, the more content and updates you have streaming past you, to say nothing of the time people spend away from social media. As a result, it's relatively easy for people to miss posts you've shared to one social network or another.
Facebook and Twitter offer the ability to put people in Lists, and you can ask or recommend that your connections add you to a relevant list to help them keep up with your updates. For instance, I might recommend that you add @Mike_Allton to your Social Media or Technology News lists to help you keep up with the articles I'm sharing. On Google+, you can similarly create Circles and put people in those Circles according to their relationship to you, the topics they discuss, or simply how often you want to hear from them.
The problem with those systems is that it's entirely up to the end user whether or not you are listed, and it's still quite possible to have your posts slip right by them if they aren't paying attention.
What if, instead, it's you that's creating the Circle. You set up the Circle and you determine when it's used - when you're sharing great content - bringing your most important shares front and center for the people who want to see them.
New Blog Notification Circle
So the idea is simple. You create a new Circle for yourself, call it whatever you want - I named mine simply Blog Notification. In it you'll put people who have specifically asked to be put there (we'll get into the mechanics in a moment). DO NOT put ANYONE in this Circle who hasn't asked to be there.
Once you have the Circle in place, the next time you share a blog post, you'll share to Public as well as this Circle and each member of the Circle will receive a notification for your new content.
Therefore every time you have important content to share, you can be assured that the people who want to see it will see it, and have a chance to help you by giving it a +1, comment or even share. Not only does it ensure more people seeing your blog post right away, their social signals can help that post achieve What's Hot (viral) status and gain even greater visibility.
So let's walk though getting this circle set up.
Setting up the Circle
The first thing you'll want to do is create a post to your Public stream announcing that you are inviting people to be circled for this purpose. Ask them to simply +1 or comment on your post to receive notifications for your best content. Here's the post that I shared:
While you're waiting for your great followers to respond, it's time to set up your new Circle.
- Go to the left side menu and click on People.
- Click on Your Circles in the top tab bar.
- On the Your Circles page, you will see all of your existing multi-colored circles down below. Click on the grey circle with the black + to add a new circle.
- Type in a name of your circle - whatever you want - and if you already know someone who wants to be in it you can add them. Otherwise, just create an empty circle.
- Before proceeding, do give consideration to the fact that as you're circling people, you will see their activity in your Home stream. You may wish to adjust the volume of this new circle.
Now, as people +1 or comment on your invitation, you can simply monitor your notifications and as each person "signs up" just hover over their name and use the Add button to add them to your new circle. If you've already circled them elsewhere, that's OK. Feel free to add them to this circle as well.
Sharing and Notifying
Once you have your circle set up and you have some people in it, you're ready to use it when you've got great content to share.
Start by composing your Google+ share like you normally would. As always, I strongly recommend using a Title and some commentary to help introduce your post and get people interested. Use Google+ styling and be sure to include 2 - 3 appropriate hashtags.
Once your post is ready, it's time to adjust the audience of the post. By default you should have Public selected (and if you don't, click on +add more people and select Public). Click on +add more people and you will be presented with a list of the circles you've created, communities you've joined, and people you've circled. Scroll down until you see your new circle and select it.
The most critical step is next. DO NOT FORGET THIS PART:
You MUST check the "Also send an email to" box. If you don't, the people in the circle will get no notification and you'll receive no benefit from having selected their circle.
To clarify, the individuals you've circled may or may not receive an email. How they're notified depends on how they have set up their notification settings. The checkbox label is a misnomer and would be more appropriately labelled "Also notify." +Mark Traphagen tested this thoroughly.
Once you've added your circle and checked the box, you're ready to share! Double-check your entire post because once you've sent it, the members of your circle will be instantly notified.
I mentioned this before but it bears repeating. This is not a technique that you should abuse. If you share too often or fail to share great content - if you abuse the trust these individuals have placed in you - you will hear about it. I share all kinds of content throughout the day, but I only use my own blog notification circle for articles that I'm publishing to my own site that I think warrant their attention.
The other beauty of this system is that, if you work on developing it, you will soon have a Circle of people that you've already identified as influencers! These are the people that are so interested in what you have to say, they want to be interrupted to hear it. Reciprocate. Since they're all in a circle, it's easy to select that circle and see what these people are up to. Engage them on their own posts. Share some of their posts. Show them how much you appreciate the help they're giving you freely.
If you're crafting your own blog content on your website, this can be an invaluable tool to ensuring that your Google+ shares of new blog posts get the attention they deserve. Give it a try and let me know if you run into any questions. And if you'd like help with Google+ and understanding how you can use content and social media to increase traffic, generate leads and convert sales, contact me.
And if you'd like to be included in my Notification Circle, please visit the invitation and give it a +1 - https://plus.google.com/u/0/... - Thanks!
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."