One long post, three short posts. Same thing, right? Not exactly. There are so many reasons to embrace a series of related posts instead of writing the longest blog post in the history of the Internet.
Don’t Let Readers Check Out
It isn’t a myth that our attention spans are shrinking. Novels, newspaper articles, even TV commercials are becoming more and more condensed.
Accept the changing world by offering 500-1,000-word posts with an eye toward readability (divisions, catchy subtitles, etc.). Shorter length means readers are more likely to give the entire post, not just the beginning, their full attention. Don’t give readers a reason to “check out” halfway through the post.
Create a Three-Part Series
Do you have more to say about a topic than can be contained in 1,000 words? Try reconfiguring it into three consecutive short posts.
Why three instead of two or five? Three gives you the opportunity for a real in-depth exploration of a topic, something that other bloggers may not be offering. You can provide your readers with lots of information without seeming to drone on forever about the same topic. The last thing you want is to bore people!
Help Readers Stay Tuned
It isn’t enough to write a three-part series. You need to get your readers looking forward to it.
Don’t just surprise readers with a series—make it an event! Announce in each post’s title and at the end of the post that they are reading one part of a series. If you can, end each post with a cliffhanger.
Make it easy for readers to enjoy the entire series by offering links to each part in a teaser or a “Did You Miss It?” at the end of each post.
Finally, make a series easy to identify at first glance by branding them with a specific color or image.
From Occasional to Regular Reader
In an ideal world, readers would be anxiously awaiting each and every word you publish. In reality, many readers visit your blog sporadically instead of regularly. A series is an ideal hook to convert occasional readers to regular readers.
Create a series they just have to read from the first to the last word – even if they’ve jumped into the middle of it. By the time your visitors finished the entire series, reading your blog will have become a habit. Hooray, a regular reader!
A series can also have a significant effect on new readers. One blog post is usually not enough for a new reader to decide they love your blog or writing style. Three posts on the other hand…could be just the ticket.
Social Media Advantages
Social media activity (yours or that of your readers) can help increase your reach. However, the immediacy of social media is a double-edged sword because people only want to share the latest thing. No one wants to be caught sharing something from last week or even yesterday!
A three-part series keeps the topic you’re writing about (and your blog) relevant to the social media community for a longer time. Use social media to make people aware that you have a three-part series available and that they shouldn’t miss even one post.
Follow all these steps to encourage your people to read your three-part series, but don’t skip the most important step: Blog on a topic you about which and your readers are passionate.
Keep in mind that your three-part series could be long enough for a chapter in a book. Write a few more series, and you might even find you’ve blogged a book.
Have you written a blog post series? What results did you achieve? Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
Jodi Webb has written advice columns on organization, text for Nintendo DS games, trivia questions for charity fundraisers, and toy and book reviews in addition to annual reports, press releases, and company brochures. She’s written hundreds of articles for magazines such as Birds and Blooms, PTO Today, and The History Magazine. The former blog tour organizer at WOW—Women on Writing, she currently works for a small regional newspaper