Google Hangouts, which was originally unveiled as just another feature within the Google+ social network, has grown in recent years to become a powerful, standalone product. Today, Hangouts is used as the video and text message platform on Android devices, a web-based video chat solution, and an excellent resource for blog owners who are looking to converse, collaborate, and demonstrate, in a way that supplements their more traditional written content. The Hangouts platform has dozens of uses based on who’s utilizing it, but there are five great reasons to adopt Hangouts within the context of a modern blog.
1. Host an Interactive Q&A Session with Visitors
The traditional blog format emphasizes a written post that can be commented on after it’s published, but Hangouts allows blog owners to go well beyond this conventional way of interacting with regular readers and new visitors. Thanks to the recent addition of Hangouts on Air, it’s possible to invite a virtually unlimited number of people to a live broadcast. The broadcast itself can be used in many ways, but blog owners might find that it’s most interesting to use this opportunity as a Q&A. Commenters on a blog typically have lots of questions about the author’s sources, opinions, justifications and much more. By hosting a live session online, with an unlimited number of attendees, it’s possible to turn the blog into a live session where visitors get exclusive access to the site’s author.
In addition to clarifying the blog’s viewpoints and its sources of opinion, a question-and-answer session hosted by the Hangouts on Air feature would allow a website owner to increase user engagement levels dramatically. Users who take part in this event would be compelled not only to click, but to type responses, navigate the website, and back up their questions. This could open the website to better Google search rankings and better performance for the site’s contextual advertising. Overall, utilizing Hangouts on Air in this way maximizes the site’s visitors, viewership, and revenue, all at once.
2. Bring Other Authors, Blog Owners, and Experts to the Site
While a Q&A session is one way to engage massive amounts of readers all at once, using Hangouts to host an interview with a fellow blogger or author might be an even better way to earn the trust and interest of the site’s readership. Since blogging and SEO became mainstream, many blogs have focused on building readership and their reputation through guest blog posts. In place of these more conventional posts, a live video interview with a fellow blogger would allow the website to replace static, written content with video content that encourages additional clicks, more time spent on the website, and numerous benefits for the site’s search engine optimization factors.
Even better than the benefits of live video, savvy blog owners can use the prospect of an upcoming interview to solicit opinions and question from their loyal readership. This could turn one interview into a compelling, multi-part blog series that further enhances traffic, improves SEO, and creates a new group of repeat visitors.
3. Bring Live Entertainment to the Website
An interview might make for compelling content in some cases, but some blogs are centered more around music and entertainment. In this case, the blog might want to focus on hosting live music acts or some other form of entertainment. This is an excellent time to consider the use of Google Hangouts. Because such an event would require supporting a large audience, the Hangouts on Air feature is likely the best way to broadcast a live performance to interested blog owners. What’s more, blog owners could opt to make the live performance free or paid, helping the site’s SEO or revenue as needed.
For visitors who can’t attend the live performance, Hangouts permits the recording of live video so that it can be recorded, submitted to YouTube, and stored indefinitely. Simply posting such a video to YouTube, along with the website’s name, link, and a robust description, could generate future traffic to the site and improve its readership statistics.
4. Give a Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse
Most blogs are focused on the perfect intersection of edited content and a slick design, but some users wish they could peek behind this “curtain” and see how both elements come together to create the content that they love. A Hangouts session could be used to show a quick look behind the scenes as ideas are hashed out, drafts are written, or redesigns are created. In larger blogging environments that use a shared office, a live stream could be setup via Hangouts on Air to broadcast the workday to interested users. These options help to show the blog’s “human” side and show the depth beneath its thoughtful content. Like the other Hangouts options, a primary reason for instituting this type of behind-the-scenes glimpse is to foster user engagement and drive up the duration of the average visit to the website.
5. Use Hangouts as a Business and Brainstorming Tool
Large, multi-author blogs sometimes involve authors who live in different cities, states, and countries, making it hard to host a truly collaborative, interactive brainstorming session for new content. One excellent way to overcome this is by using Google Hangouts. Multi-person video chats allow bloggers to overcome the geographic distance that separates them from other involved writers, making it easier to brainstorm new ideas and come up with publishing schedules for content that will best serve visitors’ interests and needs.
Start Using Google Hangouts: It’s an Excellent Tool for Bloggers
Google Hangouts originated as a tool to foster new types of social interaction, and that core strength is what makes it such a strong asset for the typical blog owner. While blogs began as a ware to share written content, today they demand that visitors are engaged in entirely new ways. Adopting Google Hangouts will allow a blog to modernize its approach to user engagement, visitor outreach, and rich media, pairing the written word with a visual component that can only serve to strengthen the website’s reach and relevance over time.