As we move into Staying Motivated Week, I want to talk about a topic that personally find related to my own motivation – writing a series of posts. This might seem simplistic and obvious, but hear me out.
Be it a book series, a TV series or a streaming series online, people love series! It’s a great feeling to discover something you enjoy watching or reading and knowing that there’s more of it on a similar/same topic created by the same people/person.
There’s a reason people binge on a series – once you’re hooked, you want to know where it goes or how it ends.
For that reason, I tend to look for topics that I can blog about that organically lead me to writing a series of posts. I do this because:
- Readers like series
- Readers will continue to engage with or look forward to my posts if they are enjoying a series
- It’s easier to come up with topics when you’re writing a series – you already have an idea what your next post might be about
How to Write a Series
Writing a series doesn’t have to be a forced thing. I actually sometimes stumble across series posting without even meaning to. For example – on my gaming blog, I started to capture the experience of playing Valheim through for the first time.
However, so much was happening in the game that to try to shove all the experiences into one post would have been a missed opportunity (and a very long post). I was also playing the game across a several-weekend stretch, which meant that I was recording my experiences over a period of time.
This organically led me to creating a series of posts about the game. This also provided me with quite a bit of content over weeks of time to add to my blog without needing to search for post topics.
This is why I tend to play games with the screenshot key ready at all times. The same could be said of taking pictures of a process happening IRL. This could be a series about a pet growing up. Recording how your garden grows. Restoring something old to something nice and new. Showing how some kind of craft or building you’re making develops. That sort of thing.
If you get a sense that something could make a good series topic, try to record it in some sort of visual way from the start. The worst that could happen is that it doesn’t turn out to be a good series topic, and you’d be left with a number of neat pictures of the experience. No big loss.
Some Tips on Series
Don’t rush it. The frequency of your posts will be directly related to whatever the topic is you’re writing about. In my gaming example above, I was writing about a game that I was playing each weekend. I could usually get 1-3 posts a week from that time spent, but the fact that I wasn’t playing every day spread out the content.
Sure, I could have dumped all 3 posts in one day, but that defeats the purpose of creating a series. Get a feel for how often you should post in your series. Don’t overwhelm readers with too much, but also don’t leave them hanging too long or they’re likely to forget about your series (unless it’s really gripping).
If you do need to take breaks or you’re writing for things happening over longer intervals, communicate that to readers in each post. For example, maybe you only want to post once a week about your garden’s development because there’s not enough change happening to post more frequently. You can end a post telling readers to check in next week to see the newest changes in your garden – that way, readers have an expectation of when they can see an update.
If you do that, however, be sure that you make good on your promises! A series can die real fast once the content creator stops meeting the deadlines they’ve promised their audience. If you do need to skip for some reason, let folks know – they’re usually quite understanding.
Try to finish the series (if possible). Don’t leave your readers hanging. If there’s an end or some way to tie up the series, try to do that. For example, I blogged a very short series of how I rescued an abandoned kitten near my workplace.
I wrote about how already had two cats, so I couldn’t keep a third. The search was ongoing for a home. When a home was finally found, I made sure to write about that so that folks would know how the story ended!
Some series may not have an ending simply because they’re ongoing, and that’s fine! But if you leave a series unfinished for a while and don’t intend to come back to it, try to drop a note in the last post you did write to explain that and let readers know that you’ve lost interest or that maybe one day you’ll pick it up again.
Also note – I’m not trying to say that every post you make needs to be something you develop into a series. You’ll start to get a feel for what is series material and what isn’t. Just keep an eye out for topics that can be expanded beyond one post, and take advantage of the series format when you run across a proper topic.
In the next post, I want to go into a bit about creating navigation between series posts and the options you can choose from!
(See what I did there? Building reader expectation – that’s a good way to end a series post! See you next time!)