“Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.” ~Sholem Asch
With this latest social media tool raking up in popularity, do you wonder how freelance writers can use Google+? As a freelance writer, I’ve been using this new social networking platform for a while now and thought to share my views about how freelance writers can use Google+. I have to admit that I love it, as it offers real advantages for freelance writers, or for that matter even authors, bloggers, journalists, or just about anyone!
Google+ is different from Facebook or Twitter, as neither is it a hyper-open network like Twitter, nor a closed network like Facebook. Instead, it has the best of both worlds and fits into the middle ground, which allows the user to maintain a vibrant public persona if they choose, and still keep information private for family and friends.
Similar to Twitter, the “pulser” can follow as many people as they like, or decide to only share information with their “circles”, which can be divided into as many forms as the user desires, like family, friends, work, fellow writers, etc.
The concept of Google+ circles solves the dilemma that many freelance writers and authors have with Facebook. For example, the need to maintain two profiles, one for friends and family, and the other for fans. Now you can simply choose to share things you like with your friends and family, or even a single individual, but still keep your public profile for your fans, without having to separate them.
Freelance writers can use Google+ to follow whoever they like, be it other writers, experts in the same field as you, or anyone else. This can be done by adding others to your circles, or accepting their invitation, as it’s a great way to create a network of potential readers and writers. You could choose anyone you want from ‘Recommended Users’, which is a new and growing directory of possible people to follow.
Coming to the question of how freelance writers can use Google+, nothing can be better than using circles for that matter. For a writer it is not only easy to follow other writers in general, but also to create different circles like, a circle for comic book writers, circle for screenwriters, circle for freelance writers, etc. Thus, by clicking the circle in your stream you can see what all your favorite writers are up to.
If you already have a good following on Twitter and Facebook, your writer or reader friends would circle you on Google+, thus you remain connected or even transfer your writer friends on to Google+.
Another way how freelance writers can use Google+ is through the great tool – “Hangout”. With it, you can now hold video and IM chats with multiple freelance writers, your fans, writing groups, your clients, or others with ease. You can even let your blog followers, whom you may’ve added on Google+, know that they can attend a live interview you’re doing with other writers.
You can even set up a hangout with your readers by creating a circle just for them, to discuss their thoughts about writing, or your latest post. If you’re an experienced writer, then you could share your ideas, experiences, and help other aspiring writers with your knowledge.
You can even conduct virtual writing workshops on hangouts, so that even those who aren’t able to attend the real life event can attend the online version. You simply need to fix a date and time for the hangout, and invite people to join in.
At times when you are simply feeling low and need to get motivated, or need some fresh ideas, you can use hangouts to have virtual talks with your freelance writer friends, or share some brainstorming sessions. It would pump in new ideas, clear your block, and recharge your batteries!
Though you can only hang out with 10 people at a time, even then it’s a wonderful way to connect with other freelance writers. Just make sure you look neat and tidy, do up your hair, ensure the microphone is working, and get going!
Freelance writers can use Google+ to easily track particular subjects that they care about through “Spark”, which is great for research and ideas. It is a quick and convenient way to find shareable content for your stream. Though some people feel it lacks the proper search that could be because Google+ is still in beta, but I think it works well when you are looking for something precise- like a search for ‘freelance writers cafe’ is more useful than a simple search for the broader word of ‘writers cafe’.
Similar to Google Reader, sparks also generates results of a particular keyword added like ‘writing’ or ‘blogging’, where you get content related to that topic and you can have multiple topics where the search results can be viewed separately. Sparks helps freelance writers to get ideas for new posts, news articles, or just stay informed about the things that interest them.
Your posts are public as Google+ is part of the Search Engine Google, and this would bring in more traffic to your site or blog, at least more than Facebook, where your wall posts are not linked to search engines.
4.Intelligent and Appealing Posts
People are sharing interesting, educative, and intelligent posts that are either relevant to writing, or others subjects. They are mutually liking and sharing blogs, besides other networking opportunities. As a freelance writer, I personally have come across some great posts and more referrals from Google+ than from either Facebook or Twitter, where I have been networking for months!
5.Alternate for a Blog
Another great way how freelance writers can use Google+ is by writing posts that are longer, which cannot be put up on Facebook or Twitter. If you don’t have a blog or website and want to start building your web presence, public posts of Google+ can serve the purpose of a blog post. The added advantage is that it’s integrated into the rest of your network, thus you already have a built-in audience, something that is missing in blogs.
Bloggers and writers can drive more traffic to their sites and blogs by sharing their blog posts, or by commenting on others posts that they view in the Google+ stream. Unlike Twitter, where everything is limited within those 140 characters, Google+ allows you better management with its option of “comments”, and you can clearly view what people are saying about information you shared or a particular post, which encourages even more interaction.
With the help of Google+, writers who have blogs can have their posts show up in search with their Google profile notably next to it. A great way for searchers to easily connect with authors and writers is by the use of Google Authorship, which recognizes the writer as a curator of great content by combining the writer’s content and +1 button clicks on their Google profile.
7.Consolidation of Google Tools
As a freelance writer you need to remain on your email account all day long while working, to interact with clients, colleagues, and other fellow writers. If you have a Gmail account then you’re at an added advantage – Google + is integreted into your Gmail like all other built-in tools like YouTube, Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Calendar, and Chrome.
This lets you to immediately see when someone comments on a post, adds you as a friend, or messages you regarding work through its icons on the topmost bar of your Gmail. You can do all this without leaving your Gmail account, thus it saves you the trouble of having to open several windows to keep track of everything.
Google+ has the added advantage of being both, public and private. Public, as your public posts can be viewed even by those not connected to you, and your profile is visible to anyone who searches for it, provided your settings allow it to be visible in search. This makes it a special personal branding tool for writers, bloggers, and anyone using Google+, though you need to spend some time updating your profile and making it more interesting.
To make your Google+ profile more appealing, as a freelance writer you can provide links to your website, blogs, online books, public profiles etc, in your profile. You can add photos or videos of the latest events you attended, recent book launch event, or anything that connects you better with others. You can share interesting posts related to the area of your writing, and establish yourself as an expert by providing blogging and writing tips.
If you are a newbie and want to learn about Google+, the best guide is probably Mashable’s, as it takes you through every step with ease. You could even check a great post on promotional tools for writers on Google+, as it shows you how to join a growing writer’s networks, how you can use Google+ to find jobs, advice on creating Google+ writer profiles, how to share your Google+ posts across other social networks, etc.
After reading the above mentioned features, I am sure you would not wonder as to how freelance writers can use Google+!
Are you on Google+ also? What has your impression been about it? Do share your thoughts and ideas, and don’t forget to check out my Google+ profile and say hi!