When you create a set of linked posts that all share common formatting, topics, and/or style, you’re creating a “blog series” – and it’s a brilliant way to boost your content strategy.
Although the concept of coming up with a whole series, rather than an individual post, might seem overwhelming, blog series provide an excellent platform for showcasing expertise, igniting reader engagement, and giving your website a unique edge over competitors.
Never created a blog series before?
We’re here to talk you through the ways to do it, as well as provide blog post examples that have experienced major success. With any luck, you’ll be publishing a top-notch series within a few days and continuing the strategy for weeks, months, or years to come.
Understanding the Benefits of a Series
Before we dive into the specifics of creating a blog post series, let’s talk about why this is such a smart, beneficial tactic for most bloggers.
When you write a series of posts that can all link back to one another, you’re doing more than just creating great internal links. You’re also weaving together a master guide for your readers.
For example, look at The Points Guy – this website provides a series of “credit card showdowns” that intricately describe the pros and cons of various credit cards.
Image Source: The Points Guy
What’s great about this post is that it’s extremely relevant to The Points Guy content strategy. But it’s also something that the blog can continue to spit out for years to come. In addition, all of these posts put together provide a wonderful resource for viewers who are trying to decide which travel credit card to apply for next.
Creating a blog series provides your followers with an abundance of knowledge, but it also engages them in a way individual posts cannot. You let them know that there’s more to come in this realm of information, and if the readers are interested, they’ll keep returning.
Create a Limited-Time Special
So, let’s talk about your first option when it comes to cultivating a blog series: a limited-time set that focuses on a specific topic or theme and that has a set end date.
This limited-time series could be centered on anything: holidays, seasons, sales, months, or whatever floats your boat. For instance, the ACLU Massachusetts website recently did a series that coincided with Black History Month. In the series, they discuss African American civil rights and the struggle for democracy.
Image Source: ACLUM
Obviously, this blog series wasn’t intended to go on forever, although it could repeat again a year later. It was a timely series introduced to match up with a calendar event, and it stuck to a very specific topic to provide relevant information in each post.
When done well, a limited-time series could provide great pillar content that you can reference later on in related posts. It might even become the basis for future individual posts that go more into detail, or perhaps an e-book or video.
On the Flipside – Come Up with an Ongoing Series of Posts
Now, let’s talk about a more long-term plan: coming up with an ongoing series of blog post ideas that can continue indefinitely throughout your content strategy.
This is a very different approach to a blog series in that you aren’t working around a specific period of time or event. You could be creating a series that lasts as long as your blog does, which means you need to have more information and ideas to perpetuate the series.
Image Source: Barefoot Blonde
Take a look at internationally recognized blogger Amber Fillerup’s website. She has done an excellent job of mixing up her content on a regular basis, but also continually returning to one of her earliest series ideas: “X and 12 Things.”
When readers see this title, they know they’re in for a brief, but introspective, look into the blogger’s life. She lists 12 things that are happening right now with her and her family, and it provides a continuous update for her followers they know they can count on.
The great thing for Fillerup is that this blog series could last for the rest of her career – there’s no shortage of information when it comes to talking about her own life and interests.
Image Source: The Financial Diet
Another great way to fuel an indefinite series of blog posts is to create “round-ups.” As in this example from The Financial Diet, a round-up contains an abundance of links, resources, or examples for readers to peruse on a regular basis.
Round-ups are fairly easy to write, although they can be time-consuming to research. Plus, they can potentially bring more inbound links to your blog and hopefully boost your SEO ranking.
When it comes to a long-term blog series – or any content strategy – the key is consistency. Don’t start a series unless you can continue to deliver what you’ve promised to your readers on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
Consider Beginner-Friendly Topics
Because a blog series, long-term or short-term, can serve as an excellent content strategy, you want to tackle a core subject that your website revolves around. This often means digging into some of the most basic elements of your interest or industry.
Consider The Vagabrothers, two brothers who have been quite successful when it comes to creating a series of travel information for beginners. Although they are expert travelers, they know that many of their readers are not, so their travel series is structured around basic elements and travel tips.
Image Source: The Vagabrothers
Although these brothers do address more complicated, high-level travel questions and topics in other blog posts, they use their continuous series to speak to a wide audience of people with various ranges of experience.
Sticking to the basics of your blog’s themes and topics allows you to speak to a more general population. Plus, taking a rudimentary, educational approach gives your website a more authoritative feel in your respective industry.
Stick to a Similar Style with Each Post
When you create a blog series, it should be obvious that it’s a series. That means each installment should have roughly the same blog post format and a title that connects each one.
Take a look at the “I’m an Everygirl” blog series from The Everygirl.
Image Source: The Everygirl
Each title begins with “I’m an Everygirl…” which clues us into the general feel of the post, as well as what we can expect based on past posts that shared a similar title.
Furthermore, although each “Everygirl” has a totally different story, they are all similar in length and follow a similar outline. Each post starts with a complicated, interesting situation and ends with a reflection on what the submitter learned from the experience.
If your post titles, photos, formatting, or scheduling are all over the place, how will your audience recognize the set as a series rather than a mess of individual posts?
Showcase Your Mastery as an Expert
As we said before, a blog series provide a platform for showcasing your authority, so use it! This is your chance to repeatedly, on a schedule, reveal just how much you know about your specific industry – and (hopefully) boost your search engine results ranking.
This demonstration of mastery could be as easy as hosting a series of “ask the expert” blog posts, like Parexel.
Image Source: Parexel
On a regular basis, the website brings in experts to answer questions about different diseases, from malaria and multiple sclerosis to cystic fibrosis and heart failure.
Showcasing your expertise isn’t just important for the benefit of your readers. It’s essential to running a blog that Google wants to include in the search engine results page. Now’s the time to establish credibility with insightful, expert posts that indicate your website is a valuable resource for searchers.
Make the Series Easy to Navigate
Now we’re getting into a blog series topic we brushed lightly on earlier: internal linking and navigation bonuses.
When you’ve got a series that repeats many times, you can easily link back and forth to each installment of the series. You should also have a master page (or tag) that allows readers to find all of the posts in a series in one place.
For example, if you want to find out who the blog We Are Travel Girls has interviewed in their “Ladies We Love” series, all you have to do is click on the overarching tag.
Image Source: We Are Travel Girls
There you’ll find the comprehensive list of every woman they’ve interviewed since the series started years ago.
If you’re writing a blog post series, but not internally linking to each of them and making the series easy to navigate, you’re missing out on a huge potential to make your website easy to crawl. Plus, how will new followers catch up on old posts in the series if it interests them?
Keep Readers Coming Back for More
Like any television series or podcast, a blog post series should always hint at what’s to come in the future. Your goal is to keep people coming back for more on a regular basis, whether that’s weekly or monthly.
Let’s look at the world of literature and book blogging for a minute.
There’s a huge trend there in which blogs participate in “Waiting on Wednesday,” a cross-blog series in which hundreds of different blogs posts about their most highly-anticipated releases in the future of books.
Image Source: From Belgium With Book Love
What’s cool about participating in a series like “Waiting on Wednesday” is that it implies there will be yet another post that’s similar on the next Wednesday. Followers know that they can expect to see a certain kind of post on a particular day, and that keeps them coming back.
Whether you’re participating in a weekly blog series with set days for posting, or you’re just reminding people to tune in to the next post at the end of each article, remember to keep people coming back. A series is only as good as its following.
Give Website Visitors Ways to Contribute
Tapping into local engagement is something that many of us struggle to accomplish in content marketing. A repeating blog series can serve as a perfect platform for drawing readers in. Given the right series, it can even be used to generate some top-notch user-generated content.
Take a look at The Broke Millennial, a blog founded and operated by Erin Lowrey.
Image Source: Broke Millennial
She started a series called “Brooke Millennial No More”. This is where readers can share their stories of overcoming debt and becoming financially stable.
This series provides multiple wins for the blog. Not only does it get real people to interact with the website and submit their own stories, but it backs up the very essence of what the blog is about: destroying debt. It’s a perfect, effective match for the website.
What kind of stories, opinions, or questions could your readers contribute? Could you build a lasting post series around this content?
Blog Series Make Great Fodder for Ongoing Content Strategy
We saved one of the biggest blog series benefits for last. A repeating selection of posts makes for phenomenal e-book, video, or podcast fodder.
Take a look at Refinery29’s “Money Diaries” series, which has become wildly popular in the past few years. In each post, women submit their own weekly stories about how they earned, saved, and spent their hard-earned funds.
Image Source: Refinery29
Instead of just continually allowing readers to do the work for them when it came to generating content for this series, Refinery29 did something brilliant. The blog expanded the series to include multiple other kinds of media, including a popular book and podcast series. Talk about a versatile content strategy!
When you create a blog series that resounds with the audience and generates a plethora of content, it becomes easy to branch out into new forms of media. Think about a topic that you could market in multiple ways, then start with a kickass blog series.
Hopefully, this article has sparked your creativity and fueled you to create a blog series of your own. Whether it’s long or short, a series can have a huge impact on the success of your content strategy. Take your topics seriously and stick to a schedule so that your readers know what to expect.
Most importantly, don’t pick up a series and drop it off and on. Your followers expect consistency, so when you start a series, see it through.
Riley Heruska is a full-time writer at a E2M Solutions specializing in producing content in the realm of SEO, marketing, and features. Her passion lies in helping others through the use of written word, and she can often be found sharing her travels from around the world.