Google Plus as a Storytelling Platform

Harold Shouting

One great value of Google+ is that it makes a great platform for cultivating visibility. If your organization is hoping to “save a seat at the table” in between sales calls, one way to do this is to create compelling content that nurtures your business relationships by educating your community and by making them the hero in their own story. Said differently: If you want to nurture leads while they’re still at the wide end of the sales funnel, using Google+ is an effective addition to your content marketing strategies.

Using Google+ for Content Marketing

First, realize that Google+ indexes any post you submit to the “Public” sharing option, meaning that the information in such a post is searchable in Google (the search engine, not the social network) within a few hours. This means that if you wanted to write about being the “best restaurant for kids in Milwaukee,” as part of your post, it would become searchable content. So, let’s extend that.

It’s not enough to write a post that just says “AJ Bombers is the best restaurant for kids in Milwaukee.” I mean, you can say that, but it won’t be that interesting for people coming along to read it. Instead, you might consider writing a post about “7 Reasons AJ Bombers is the Best Restaurant for Kids in Milwaukee,” wherein which you talk about the features of the restaurant such that a parent would be able to recognize the value for themselves. Because you can include videos, I would do so. For instance, I’d show off the “P-Nut Delivery System”:


If you can’t see the video click here.

Why? Because any kid seeing that thing will immediately start pestering their parents that they MUST go to a place that delivers peanuts via a steel BOMB flying overhead and smashing into a target.

Mix It Up A Bit

You can post text, video, photos, links, and place information on Google+. Using a combination of those post types is probably the best way to get the most attention. For instance, in my tests, if I post only text, I get one level of response. If I add a photo to the post, I get almost 50% more engagement, every time.

You can’t post video and a photo, for instance, but if you post video, I’d include a few sentences about what the video is about, and/or maybe some useful search text. I’d also include a link to whatever might be pertinent, as well. If you do place data, be sure to include a photo, maybe something candid. This helps people engage a bit further, as well.

Build an Editorial Calendar

If you want to incorporate Google+ into your content marketing strategy, I’d consider building an editorial calendar, even if you use it just lightly. For instance, if you post something like the post above, that comes off as a bit heavy-handed in the self-promotion department, I might do an interview with a restaurant guest as my next post, or maybe something off-topic, or maybe a non-work-related video interview with a server or a chef. I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t it be a bit more interesting to know that the person who made your burger is also a competitive street luge racer?

You can build an editorial calendar in a spreadsheet, or on a Google calendar, or wherever. The point is, when you lay out the month in some kind of visual format, you’re less likely to overwhelm your audience with a specific kind of post. Would it be helpful to see a sample? Here’s something super simple:

Editorial Calendar – Sample

Monday 1: Post photo from weekend showing leaves changing.
Monday 2: Video clip from ESPN College Game Day coverage.
Monday 3: Article link to post about grass fed beef findings.
Monday 4: Re-share a community member’s post (pass it forward).
Tuesday 1: Write up new menu changes (w/photo of new fries).
Tuesday 2: Congratulate Tim on winning local “Best Of” award with link.
Tuesday 3: Video post about watching baseball at our bar.
Tuesday 4: Off-topic. Anything.

Break That Down

You’ll see that, in this example, I recommend 4 posts a day. That’s to cover a 24-hour community. Also, posts on a service like Google+ flow through the stream pretty quickly. It’s probably not overwhelming to your readers to see 4 posts from you a day, and judging by the content I mentioned above, it wouldn’t be that hard to get those kinds of posts up.

So, in my example, I’d map out at least a week worth of content, and maybe use that as a way to look at how this ties to the rest of my marketing efforts, too. For instance, if I’m trying to get more people onto my email newsletter, maybe I’d make that the “call to action” on one or two of the posts, and see if I could get more takers from my Google+ community. Also, if you’re having a seasonal event, you can spread content about that event between your email newsletter, your blog, and also your Google+.

Feel like too much? It might be, to start. But it depends on what you’re doing, your goals, and what you’re hoping to accomplish with Google+.

Does This Work for Your Industry?

Technically, yes. You can post content of whatever kind to whatever industry. If you’re selling storage to big tech companies, this works. If you’re selling legal advice, this works. If you’re selling education to students, this works.

But How Does This Get Me New Prospects?

However, what this doesn’t accomplish is that it doesn’t rustle up all kinds of new customers. This isn’t lead generation work at this point. This is community nurturing work. This is helping to cultivate visibility. However, when you have prospects, and when you have people looking around to better understand you, and wondering if they should do business with you, can you see how the above content might help the process?

Save Your Seat at the Table

In between sales activity, we have to have something to talk about. Sometimes, we use that time to seek referrals. Other times, we use that time to nurture our existing customers. Some times, we use it to help guide our prospects closer to a sale. It’s up to you what you want to do with it. But this is one way of building up that content.

Are you on Google+ yet? If not, it’s free. Swing by Google+ and claim your account.

And if you want to connect with me, you can find me here, or just follow me via this Widget:

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  • http://philgerbyshak.com Phil Gerbyshak

    Awesome tips Chris. Seems a lot like blogs used to be.

    Everything old is new again. Hooray for that!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Oh, I still use the same tactics for blogs, too. : ) I write about that for Entrepreneur’s January issue. That is, if my article got in on time. 

  • http://twitter.com/DoTime_WX William Xifaras

    Thank you Chris. Your tips are always well thought out and useful. 

  • http://www.avenue3re.com Lois Ardito

    Really like your Editorial Calendar. I agree that it could be used for most industries, mine included. Educating the community is a great way to establish relationships and trying to determine which platform, Facebook or Google+, works best for us is the current challenge.
    Thanks again for content “we can use”. Always grateful.

    Lois

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Chris, 

    I think that many of us use the Editorial Calendar for our blogs but don’t do so for the efforts connected to our blogs and websites like Google +. 

    I might need to be more detailed on that. 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      You might. It helps a lot. The more you rethink how you use ALL the platforms, the more integrated this can become. : ) 

      • Anonymous

        Great post. My apologies if I’ve missed a previous post on this topic, but as we move toward content-marketing integration via Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else we’re using, how do you apply this thinking to all of the platforms you’re using in order to decide what gets posted where? (A big question, I know.)

        • http://www.enmast.com/ Brad Farris

          Michael & Raul;

          I found myself asking the same question as I read the post. This sounds like what I’m doing with my blog, twitter, etc. How do I decide what content to put where? What is each medium best at? I know twitter isn’t that great for pictures and video, better to use twitter to distribute links to a blog or G+post. But what should go on the blog and what on G+?

        • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

          That will come next. : ) 

  • Marc Bismarck

    Great image of your daughter – love the personal touch!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      That’s actually my very long haired son, Harold. : ) He wants hair as long as Rapunzel, he’s informed us. 

      • Marc Bismarck

        Ooops – sorry, Chris! Still a great image! :)

        • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

          No worries. He’s got really long hair. : ) 

      • http://4thress.com Carl Thress

        Reminds me of my own son, Pete. His goal isn’t quite as ambitious as Harold’s, though. He’s aiming for all the way down his back.

  • Anonymous

    Love that picture of Harold! Chris, when I saw the Google+ title I wanted to ignore this! I’m not sure how to use Google Plus for my biz, but – lo and behold! – you’re telling me how! Thank you, this is highly useful info….

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Jump in. : ) 

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Good strategy Chris. I am experimenting with G Plus a bit more going forward using your tips. I also built a Pro circle today, with you and a few other select folks, and will be following intently.

  • Kvanoosten

    Anyone out there with not-for-profit examples of  using Google Plus?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Check out @johnhaydon:twitter for that kind of stuff. He’s written about it. 

  • http://twitter.com/KellyTirman Kelly Tirman

    This post is helpful. I will be sharing this with several small and medium business owners I know.

    Kelly Tirman
    http://www.kellytirman.com

  • http://allenresha.com Allen Resha

    Google+ is quickly becoming my favorite social media site.  I am working hard to regain my footing in Social Media.  After a Twitter hack, stalkers, and break from Social Media I have returned LOST.  My reach is almost non existent and I am having trouble regaining this reach! But the “Do or Die (Trying)” motto that I learned in the Marine Corps has given me the push within to keep trying.  I think my favorite thing from this article is the way Chris emphasizes an editorial calendar.  My biggest problem in social media now is that I don’t have a plan.  Before I had no plan and it just worked.  I got lucky I guess.  This article has shown me that I MUST work on setting a schedule for my social media and content.  After this I will be focusing on creating a blog blueprint that coincides with my social media blueprint.  (Something I will be building from scratch.)  The old saying if you don’t plan, then you have already planned to fail stands true.  I have failed on social media and in my content production for this ONE REASON.  Lack of planning!  The great thing about failure is that if you learn from the mistakes it becomes a stepping stone to success!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Marines should have also taught you that a simple plan helps out a lot. Want the simplest? Decide what you want the day to look like in the next few weeks, months, years, and work your way backward from there. 

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  • http://twitter.com/sholtutm Steve Holt

    I love this post. Sharing.

  • http://seanclark.com Sean Clark

    @chrisbrogan:disqus You never stop giving! This post is a 1 page tutorial for any business, a great Google+ starter program, thanks. 

  • http://www.businessandsoftwarestrategyforglobalisation.com Mae Loraine Jacobs

    This is a good list of benefits one can enjoy from Google Plus. I am not yet an active user of the social media platform, perhaps because I haven’t fully realized its full potential. Facebook may be really crowded, but we know it works as a marketing tool. Of course, this list doesn’t cover everything, but it may simply inspire me to take it more seriously. 

  • MM

    Really just getting to grips with G+ at the moment (I have a grand total of 4 people in my circle! – which now includes you) but I read this with interest. No fluff, just a well written, practical, tutorial on how one could potentially use the tool for clients. Four posts a day is probably an ambitious start but I can see why the calendar would work well. Thank you – a great, practical post!  

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  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    I haven’t been following your blog for all that long (though lo, I feel like a grizzled veteran) and yet I have gotten to watch Harold grow up from a little toddler type kid to a big kid.

    Everyone is out to make me feel old these days!

    Oh, Google Plus, right right. 

    My problem with Google Plus is that I just still am finding it very broadcasty. It seems hard to comment on other peoples’ stuff because things move around so much. On any given night, there are picture galleries to look at, videos to watch, blog posts to read – it’s very overwhelming, and even if you have a circle with just a few people, it’s like a Japanese subway. Shizam with the multi-media attack.

    Of course, I am to the online world what the Amish are to the modern world, so that could just be me. But I really do find that many people are just out there posting their own stuff and not interacting a whole lot with other people.

    In fact, I am guilty of that myself. 

    All of that being said, your approach makes sense. I can see how it can work. I’m just not quite there yet.

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    It is nice that now one can submit the post and share it with the public. And this way , the post will find by many people and beneficial for the business and the site. But when one make a post for public viewable then has to provide the content which be meaningful and useful to the people then only can get the result. And we all have listen about this exciting update but again in this if the content copied , will the google show that content related site in result?

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    Really an original idea but the project seems very ambitious.

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    Google plus provide storytelling platform. with the google plus we can share our idea and thoughts with our friends circles. Google Plus feature “Sparks” gathers the latest content on any topic you like, similar to a Google News search. After saving your news topic, you can access that feed by clicking on its name. It’ll display a stream of the latest content on that topic in your home page.

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  • Kelly Vandever

    OK, today was the day to experiment with Google+ and since you’re the main guy on my stream, I thought, let me go to Chris’ blog and see what he’s got to say. 

    I read the first paragraph, about public sharing.  

    At 3:39 PM EST, I shared my first Google+ post (ever) and made it public & my friends.  

    At 3:59 PM EST, I decided to check my site stats for my blog since I hadn’t done it in a few days.  I already have 5 people click to the blog post from Google+!  5!  In 20 minutes!

    Now, I’m sure that 5 people click through is like 5 seconds Chris Brogan time.  But in Kelly Vandever time, 5 people in 20 minutes!  Gheez!  Unheard of!  

    OK, so that’s what happened after I read the first paragraph of this post.  Guess I’d better go read the rest!!

    Thanks, Chris!!

    Kelly

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  • http://annlytical.com Ann Danylkiw

    why not just use webdoc?

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    i like to use google+…its very intresting too… v can feed everything to google+..once v feed in to G+ v dont want to type the full topic, by clicking the word it vl automatically shows bulk of related topics about it..v can easily access those thing..

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