“Lost.” “The Biggest Loser.” “Days of Our Lives.” Why do people tune in week after week after week for the latest installment of their favorite characters' lives? Because they want to find out what happens next. You can leverage this human tendency to want to stay up-to-date by writing an ongoing series for your website or blog.
Dripping a little bit of info, day after day, keeps readers coming back to see what you have to say next.
Think about it this way: What if at the very beginning of the first episode of “Dallas,” the main characters spilled the beans and told you who shot J.R.? Would millions of people have continued to watch the show through to the resolution? Probably not. And if you tell your readers everything you know in the first blog post you ever publish, there's nothing left for you to say.
Now, I'm sure you've started an online business based on a topic that your knowledge is more than one blog post deep – or at least I hope so. So here's how to make a blog series work for you:
1. Choose a specific topic. Pick a topic that's meaty enough to get into. Think “deep.” For instance, if you have a business selling health supplements, you could write a series on supplements for weight loss, for building muscle, for aging people. Any one of those topics would provide deep enough subject matter to allow you to write a half-dozen informational posts.
2. Divide it up. Once you've chosen your topic, brainstorm different post titles. Linear thinkers may be comfortable writing this brainstorm in a list format, while more creative thinkers might want to do a brain dump in a mind map format. However you choose, come up with five to seven titles for posts. In our supplements for weight loss example, the list might include:
  • Introduction: Can Supplements Help You Lose Weight?
  • Natural Supplements vs. Prescription Supplements
  • Vitamins and Minerals for Weight Loss
  • Supplements vs. Diet: Can You Get What You Need Naturally?
  • Danger. Supplements to Avoid
  • The Top Five Weight-Loss Supplements
Heck, you could do a series on just one of the topics above: “Danger: Supplements to Avoid” – that could be a juicy series all in itself.

Once you get started making your list, the hard part may become trying to find a stopping point. But just remind yourself that you're writing a series for your website, not a book (though more than one blog series has been turned into a book… “Julie and Julia,” anyone?).

3. Write. The ideal length for blog posts is between 300-700 words, but you know your market best. If you think they prefer longer or shorter posts, adjust accordingly. Some people like to write all their related posts at once and then space them out over a period of a few weeks, while others write just ahead of publication. The advantage of not pre-writing is that you can answer questions from readers in your upcoming posts, letting them know you're listening to their comments and giving them a greater feeling of interactivity.
4. Publish. You can publish your series every day for a week or more, or you can space them out, releasing the next installment each Monday, for instance. Either way works, but if your main goal is to generate traffic, you may want to allow at least a few days between posts to allow momentum to build.
5. Publicize. Let people know what you're up to and when a new “episode” will be posted – take a hint from the TV stations and give teasers, early and often, to build interest. At a minimum, you should tweet about your new blog post and add it to your Facebook page status update. And make sure to link previous posts in the series at the end of each new post, so newcomers can go back and catch anything they may have missed (this is also a great way to build links and get a higher ranking on Google, bringing you even more traffic!).
Writing series posts should become a regular part of your blogging and website strategy. Keep it simple, be consistent, and talk up your expertise. And each time you finish a series, start the next!
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