Blog post ideas, part 2: Handling big topics in a series
Earlier, I got your creative juices flowing (I hope!) with eight ideas for blog posts for your business blog.
But what if you get started on a post and just keep writing … and writing … and writing … ?
That’s when you may want to write a series of posts rather than a single long post.
Ideally, you want your blog posts to be fairly short and to the point. (These days, I tend to limit mine to about 1,000 words, but that’s a rule of thumb rather than an absolutely non-negotiable limit. Around 300-500 words seems to be a good length.)
So if a topic is more complex than can be covered adequately in, say, 600 or so words, think about breaking the topic up into a series of several posts. (For an example, see my “Ten Commandments” series.)
Here’s one way to plan a series:
- Brainstorm your post list. Take your topic and break it out into logical sub-topics. Use an outline if that works for you. Then go back and add a one-sentence summary for each major heading. Now — you have a structure in place.
- Do rough drafts. You don’t have to draft these in order, nor do you have to finish one article before you start another. Go ahead and start making notes for each one. Start writing posts in the middle if you have to. You can always save the drafts and edit later.
- Plan your release strategy. You’re probably not going to want to post your entire series at once. Part of the beauty of setting up a blog is you can embargo posts (that is, schedule the release of your post to your blog for a date and time you choose) within the blog software. You can schedule post #1 of the series to be available tomorrow, post #2 to be available three days later, etc. Just choose a post frequency that will suit your readers.
- Ask for feedback. At the end of every post, invite comments — ask questions, solicit ideas, etc. You may find that reader comments give you great ideas for revisions to existing posts and/or future posts in the series.
- Tease and link. Link backward to previous articles in a series, and leave a “teaser” in the end moving people forward to the next post in that series for continuity. (Here’s a great link on the technical aspects of interlinked series for those using WordPress.)
- Create a “sneeze” page. If your blogging software supports it, create a static page that links to all the articles in that particular series as a courtesy to readers (and a convenience to you when you want to link to that topic in the future).
Now — start thinking about topics you can build a series on. What about those “10 questions” topics I referred to in the previous post?