Blogs, Author Platforms, and Connecting (pt 9)

Courtesy of: By Dave at ti (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Now that you’ve been pressing into new territory, you may notice something happening with your posts.  They have a common theme, but they don’t seem to connect to each other.  You may also have noticed something about the posts of others you’ve seen here and there – their posts DO flow from one post into the next.

I’m not sure if it’s the right term, but I call this “serializing”.  Having a series of posts with a common theme helps your readers know what type of post to expect.  Not all series have to be indefinite.  Some can be set up with a limited number of “episodes”, others can be set up as more of an ongoing project.  Examples of this can  be found in my own posts.  I have a general series of “Helpful Articles”, which is an ongoing series.  Within that series of posts are shorter series, such as this one on platforming.  I do not have an endpoint in sight – yet – though I know it will eventually come to an end.  This isn’t like my “Working with the Muse” series, that I knew would be a very short set of posts.

When you are working with serialized posts, there are a couple of important factors to consider.

  1. How long do you plan on the series to go on?  This is important, because unless it is a very helpful series, it can get to be boring very quickly.  Especially if you wind up rehashing the same information over and over again.
  2. Keeping the flow of the series consistent.  You can serialize just about anything, but you do want it to have a logical order to the way the posts are presented.  After all, the series is to help create interest not distract people as they try to figure out how the posts go together.
  3. What theme do you want to use?  If you have more than one theme for your series it’s possible to blend them smoothly, though not always easy.  If you are only posting once or twice a week (or less), and have several themes you want to cover, it may be advisable to have a series for each theme.  That isn’t to say you must run the series consecutively.
  4. What type of timing do you want for your series?  From my own work, you can tell that I have a different series (or series pair for the occasional special interest, very short series) running on their own days.  For someone like Chris “The Story Reading Ape”, he sets up his series to run at different times on different days.  I’ve also used certain days to run two different series, alternating which week the series went out on.  For someone posting once a week, perhaps you could have one series go out the first week, the second series on the second week, and so forth.  For those months with 5 weeks, you could use the extra week for either a special announcement, or an off topic post.

There are pros and cons to having a post series.  If the series theme is too narrow, it will be a short set of posts.  If the theme is too broad, coming up with content to continue the series may prove problematic.

Pros for serializing your posts

  • The biggest benefit of having a post series is that your readers know what day your posts are going to go up, and they know about what the post will contain.  This is very good if you are writing informative posts, like a self-help series, or if you’re interviewing authors, or even doing book reviews.
  • Just behind that, it makes scheduling your posts simple.  YOU know what type of post you’ll be writing, which can make writing the posts easier and faster.
  • A third benefit, though not all series manage this, is that it can help draw attention to your platform.  This isn’t a really strong benefit, because unless there’s engagement, drawing attention isn’t guaranteed.  There’s a lot of other factors that contribute to this as well.

Cons for serializing your posts

  • You can get stuck in a rut and not realize it.  For longer, ongoing series, this is something to be aware of.  The more you rehash the same information, the less appealing your posts will be to readers.
  • You posts may become dated.  Especially if you’re providing a self-help forum.  Technology is constantly evolving, and unless you are able to keep up with the evolution, the information you have in your posts may wind up being obsolete before it even posts.  Something anyone who writes technical posts needs to keep in mind.  While a post is a good snapshot of any given point in time during the writing process, it may not be relevant after it’s completed.

Since this is starting to get into the eye-glazingly long territory, I’m going to go ahead and sign off this subject.  What are your thoughts on serializing your posts?  Leave your responses in the comments below.  You never know – what you have to say may be just what someone else may need to hear.  And, I’m sure I’ll learn something along the way as well.

Until next time… happy writing!

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