One of the key ways to build your blog is to give readers a reason to come back. One of the ways you can do that (and build up the body of work that will define your blog) is to write a series of connected articles.
These can be either a step by step process, like Bellwether has been doing with her raiding guild posts, a related progression, like Matticus’ healing strategies, or simply a collection of posts that make sense together, like Jagerbombz Karazhan healing guides.
Unfortunately, however, writing an article series is about more than just posting on a whim and linking some of your posts to other posts. Planning ahead can help you create a fantastic series that will draw your readers in and have them coming back for more.
There are a few things that will help make a successful article series:
- Come up with an idea. Often the best article series happen when you have a post idea that is just too big to fit in one post.
- Plan out the series of posts. This doesn’t have to be anything more than a rough outline on some scratch paper. The idea here is to get the continuity established. Do your posts make sense in this order? Are they too broad (and should be two posts) or too narrow (and should be combined)?
- Figure out how many will be in the series. If the number isnt’ defined for you (there are 6 bosses in Serpentshrine Cavern), try to fit the posts into an “established” number – 3, 5, 7, and 10 are all pretty standard. Once you get above 15 or so, try to stick to 5 number increments.
- Make a table of contents and use it in EVERY post. Then, as you fill in the posts, go back and edit the previous ones to include links to the entire series. That way, if someone finds post #3 in a 5 article series, they can easily find the other articles (or go back and read from the beginning).
- Stick with your articles. Sometimes slogging through the 4th post in a series just gets you down. You might need to let the ideas incubate a little (or work on post #5 first) before what you really want to say comes through. If you plan to publish the articles every Tuesday for a month, plan ahead and write in chunks (not just on Monday nights).
The more connected articles are, the more readers will be waiting for the next installment, and the easier it will be for them to follow the entire series.
Writing an article series takes time and patience and requires a little more planning than a normal blog post, but it can be extremely rewarding – both in terms of traffic and commenter feedback. Give it a try!
Every Thursday, one of the Annas from Too Many Annas stops by with a mid-week blogger tip. If you have questions or suggestions for future tips, email Anna ( tips at twistednether dot net ) with a message titled “Blog Tipping”.
* image courtesy of Lusi