You’ve probably heard that Google is killing its social network, Google+. Although small, Google+ has played an important role in content marketing. Over the years, marketers have gushed over the underrated benefits of leveraging Google+ for content marketing. Here are a few components of content marketing that the social network has enhanced.

  • SEO – Content published on Google+ used to get immediately indexed and show up prominently in search results. In summary, Google+ users have experienced serious SEO benefits.
  • Email marketing – Everyone you emailed through Gmail would have been able to view your Google+ profile. So you could have built a powerful web presence through Google+.
  • Community engagement – Google+ communities had 1.2 million joins daily for a few months in the past. The social network’s groups were active and engaged.

Since the marketing channel is now going to be shut, content marketers who once relied on Google+ need smart alternatives to compensate. Here are seven such alternatives.

1. Frequent commenting & blogging

John Mueller of Google once confirmed, as was previously known through the Google Pando Guide, that Google views the comments section as part of the content. As such, comments have real SEO value that you can leverage to increase the value of your website while also driving meaningful traffic. According to some research, Google may even consider the value of comments so high that it skips the actual content and indexes comments. That’s why it’s important to invest some time in commenting. It’s also beneficial to increase the frequency of your blogging. According to Hubspot’s study, companies that blog 16 times a month receive 4X as much traffic as companies that blog 0-4 times a month.

  • Hire a community manager who can comment on blogs and engage in strategic conversations on a consistent basis. You could even create targets, for example, five comments a week for each of employees to get the effort started.
  • Frequent blogging isn’t easy. You have to come up with titles that have SEO value. You have to create content of high-quality to attract back-links and increase reader engagement. It’s not enough to simply publish something 4-5 times a week.

2. Customized email signatures

According to the Pew Research Center, 52% of the respondents in this study still access email through their mobile devices. Mobile notifications remain an excellent way to reach any target audience. Many businesses use regular email newsletters to promote their content among their subscribers, but there’s much more than you could do with email marketing. If you get creative, you could turn your email marketing effort into a business generating machine, through blog post promotion. But how you execute that strategy matters. What you share in your email, how and when matters. That’s why you need a detailed email marketing plan to power the effort.

  • Decide how often you want to send a newsletter. Some companies have found that sending emails too often is counter-productive. You could test this by sending frequent emails to your least valuable leads and identifying the optimum sending frequency.
  • You can also add links to the signature of every email you and your colleagues send out. This could be an exercise where you share a link with employees at the beginning of each week and they place it within their email signatures.

3. Facebook & LinkedIn groups, subReddits

There are plenty of communities on the internet on which you can share content for maximum exposure. The key is to identify niche communities wherein your audience is most active. You can find some such niche communities on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit. Once you have, it’s important to work on building popularity within such communities by participating in them consistently. If you can’t do it yourself, you could hire a freelancer for community engagement.

    • List all the Facebook, LinkedIn groups and subReddits relevant to your niche. You can find relevant communities using BoardReader. Search for your industry keywords under forums to identify the best places to promote your content.
    • You can also share content on SlideShare and content communities such as Blog Engage, BizSugar, Triberr, and TribePro.

With the death of Google+, yet another marketing avenue has been shut, limiting the choices that marketers have with online communities. However, with the right alternative strategies, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are not hindered.