Google Hangouts on Air have been the best thing Google Plus has given to us. The ability to set up video conferences with multiple participants, the easiness of set-up and the "live streaming" option: There's simply no alternative for this product.
Google HOA is also a great way to generate some pretty sweet web content for their blog, service or site. But before I go into that, let me refer you to my older SEP blog post on how you can make the most of Google HOA content on re-packaging it into in multiple content formats including podcasts, courses, etc.
If you need more re-packaging ideas, First Site Guide has the whole section dedicated to all types of content you can create for your blog. The idea is, if you decide to give a Google HOA a try, don't stop at hosting video discussions: Instead, make the most of your effort by re-purposing that video content again and again to reach more channels.
Now let's take a look: Which types of Google HOAs are there?
Live Streaming Is The New Podcast
Podcasts are still awesome, but video live streaming? Now that is the new era of digital content. People are going crazy for videos, especially videos of entertaining people doing or saying entertaining things. That also goes for people saying informative things. You put all of those elements together, and you have a truly dynamic piece of content that anyone can enjoy.
The question becomes: how can that content be best utilized? What exactly can be created? What will attract the most viewers? The only limit is your imagination, and the more original the idea the better. But here are a few to get your creativity flowing.
This is a rather new way of using Google HOA. Webinars are a very popular way of sharing information with entire groups of people. Some gurus and experts will hold paid webinars that cover a larger variety of topics, spanning over the course of many days or weeks.
Whether you choose to do a free or paid, or a long or short, HOA is a simple platform to stream your online seminar. You can then record it, in order to offer it to others, if you choose. But some don't, and instead create whole new webinars a couple of times a year. The easy use of HOA means nothing too complicated has to be planned in order to do this.
Have an expert you have been itching to get your hands on for an interview? Doing a video one might sweeten the deal, as videos have been proven to attract a lot of attention. You can offer an HOA streamed interview with anyone in your industry that is willing to do a sit down.
The Black Eyed Peas took part in a group chat with fans prior to a show in New York City. Members of the US Supreme Court took part in an interview and discussion as part of a NYTimes look into the Affordable Health Care Act. Being able to speak with multiple people, in real time, even if your followers are not taking part, is a powerful tool.
One of my personal favorite ways to use HOA is to combine the expert and the group interview format. You can get a wide array of opinions and ideas, and even take user submitted suggestions online at the time of the streamed interview so everything is done live.
Example: Alex Mandossian does an awesome job hosting regular Google HOAs in the radio-show style: he invites featured interviewees, breaks the conversation to explain what's going on to those who just tuned in, invites questions from the audience. His style is pretty fascinating.
This is such a cool idea. When you are at a conference, you are in the promised land of interview opportunities. Try and get together a handful of people in your niche, and stream an entire Q&A session with them, just like you would a panel. This works for conferences, conventions, any major event you are taking part in.
Now only does this give you a rare chance at a complex interview, but it also captures the excitement of the environment.
Let's say you have managed to create a community with the people who visit your site. That's great! Now, why not give them the chance to interact with one another, face to face? Small groups can chat, and it can be a really fun experience for everyone involved.
One community I am a part of have chats on HOA twice a month. It keeps us informed, connected, and is just enjoyable. Everyone likes meeting up with like minded people, and this way you can easily do it around the world. All using the same free, accessible tool.
Of course, generating content isn't the only way of using HOA. Some brands have been using it to provide customer service face to face with their users. It is an effective way of offering more personalized interaction, and gaining brand loyalty.
BL Ochman, CEO of Maximum-Plus.com, shares one really inspiring example of using Google HOA: In June, five 5th grade classes from Stephens Elementary School in Boone County, KY took a first of its kind Virtual Field Trip, live-streamed via Google+ and YouTube, to learn about Foodini, a revolutionary new kitchen appliance that uses 3D printing to print delicious, healthy food.
Some have been holding contests and competitions on HOA. People can record or stream themselves speaking, singing, dancing, or anything else they can think of. You have probably seen a lot of ad campaigns, music videos, TV shows and films featuring user content. HOA makes it easier than before.
How have you been using Google HOA? Has it improved your content marketing? Let us know in the comments!