If you want to take your business blog to the next level, you should plan a blog post series. A blog post series allows you to delve deeper into topics and explore things for your readers in new ways. Today I am breaking down the entire planning process including why you should plan a blog post series, to begin with.
Why You Should Plan A Blog Post Series
So, why should you even create a series for your blog? This is a crucial question that I want to give you the answer to before we even start to plan a blog post series. Hopefully, after reading this section, you will know how beneficial creating a series is for your blog.
1. A Blog Post Series Creates Focus
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s challenging for me to focus on the exact topic I am working on. Focus is necessary as a blogger, but blogging doesn’t always set you up for it. As a blogger, you have a million hats. You need to be a writer, editor, PR person, photographer, social media guru, and so much more. Eventually, you can hire out these tasks, but when you are a new to intermediate blogger, you don’t have that luxury.
When you are writing a blog post series, you can focus exclusively on one topic. For example, my content upgrade on SEO started out as a content series on an old blog. My sole focus while writing that content was all about search engine optimization. Every piece of content that I was consuming during that period revolved around SEO. You could even say I was living, breathing, and eating SEO at that moment. This allowed me to clear my mind of all the distractions of the blogging world during that time. I knew that all my content needed to revolve around SEO, so I didn’t have to worry about all the other topics that came up that month.
2. It Allows You To Dive Deeper
Most blog content is surface level. Creating long-form content that comes to your reader’s inbox week after week is fantastic. You can only delve so deep into a topic in one blog post.
Imagine A Book With One Chapter
Can you picture a book with one chapter? Like, seriously, imagine a book with one chapter. Imagine how hard it would be to get the full effect of a book if you could only see one of its sections and nothing else. Each blog post has to be wrapped up, but ultimately each blog post is a part of a book that you can’t explore when you create a single post about a topic instead of a series.
You Are So Much More Knowledgeable Than A Single Post Lets On
One post cannot inform your readers of the robust amount of knowledge you know about the topic. A single post can only do so much for helping you or your readers. Creating a series of content can give your readers more knowledge on the topic and during your content series posting it can also drive up return visitors who are wanting to see the next post in your series in real time. After all your posts are live, it can drive down your bounce rate because people have similar content to view after reading any of the posts in your content series.
3. It’s Amazing For Search Engine Optimization
Last, but certainly not least, blog post series are great for SEO. Search engines look for people who have authority on a particular topic. You do this by creating a variety of content around that specific topic. For example, if you wanted to be known as an expert about Siteground, your goal should be to create multiple pieces of content around Siteground.
One of the easiest ways to get started with this content, get noticed by search engines, etc. is to plan a blog post series. Here are some ideas that you could use to make that content series strong:
How To Create A Blog With Siteground
3 Services Siteground Offers Besides Hosting
7 Siteground Myths (Debunked)
30 Bloggers Share Why They Use Siteground For Their Wordpress Hosting
These four posts offer an excellent start to your content series thoughts. You may want to delve deeper than this, and we will cover going more in-depth in the next section about doing your initial series brainstorm.
Do Your Initial Blog Post Series Brainstorm
Brainstorming is one of the cornerstones of creating all content for your blog (whether or not you create a blog series.) So it makes sense that our first dive into planning a series is brainstorming. In this section, we will delve deeper into what you will be creating your content series about, because you need to know that before you can ever think about writing your series.
1. Do A Timed Brain Dump
One of my favorite things to do when I am planning a blog post series is to do a timed brain dumping session. Sometimes I don’t time it, but usually, I set a timer for 10-20 minutes, and I write. I don’t try to stifle myself, and I don’t worry if I write the same thing multiple times. Don’t edit yourself, don’t fix spelling errors, write what comes to mind.
There are a few ways that you can do this--you may not want to tell yourself beforehand that you are looking for blog series ideas, or you may want to make that known in your mind before you start. Either way, get out a sheet of paper or take out your computer and set a time for your brainstorm.
Brain dumping requires focus so you should be doing this in a room that is free from distractions or in a place that creates creativity and productiveness in you. For me, that is usually a quiet room, but I am easily distracted. If you don’t get distracted easily, this may be completely different for you.
2. Pick A Few Main Topic Ideas
Once you have finished your post brainstorming, you will probably have a LOT of ideas. The next step you need to accomplish is seeing what you can do with those ideas.
The first thing you should do is to clean up your brainstorm. You may have repeated some ideas, so get rid of the fluff. You may have also left some things unfinished so you may also want to go back in and see how you can expand on those thoughts.
After you have cleaned up your list a bit, you want to think about which of the topics could become a series. When you are doing this step think about a number of questions:
Are you knowledgeable enough about this topic?
Does this topic fit in with your previous content?
Do you want to be known for this topic?
Can you write informative long-form content about this?
Does this topic fit with your audiences skill level?
Once you evaluate these things, pick a few of the best topics and start working on mind maps for each of the topics you want to discuss.
3. Create A Mind Map With Your Main Topic At The Center
This is a simple step, and not completely necessary for everyone, but it can help you organize your thoughts when you plan a blog series. Alternatively, you can do this step in an outline form as we will be outlining deeper in the next section of this article.
My favorite app for creating mind maps is an app called Lighten. It allows you to quickly create some great mind maps for any blog that you want to create. You can also use this to plan out your content series.
I love apps because they are easy to take on the go so you can plan out your content series whether you are home at your desk, on the train, or at lunch away from home. On the other hand, you can also plan all of your content on paper. Sometimes I like to use a combination of both papers, my computer, and my phone. It’s important to be flexible while blogging so having a number of tools you can use to map out your blog is essential.
How I Use Lighten
I am sharing an image of a mind map that I created when my SEO content was a content series. SEO Month is at the center and the four blog topics that made up that month branch from that content. Lighten is great because it is digital which makes erasing mistakes and adding to the mind map a breeze.
4. Do Your Initial Blog Post Idea Brainstorm
So, once you have your main topic picked, it’s time to do your initial breaking down of that topic. This is your first main topic brainstorm. Chances are you will come up with very basic ideas of what you want your blog series to be. Don’t worry, we will spice those up in the next point.
Even though your ideas may be basic, write down as many of those ideas as you can.
Have More Content Than You Can Possibly Use
Creating a blog series takes a LOT of patience and time, so it is essential to have a ton to work with. Write down every idea because chances are things will get scrapped, moved around, and merged as you create your series plan of attack during the next section of today's post..
5. Delve Deeper Than Your Initial Brainstorm
Last, you want to delve deeper into the topic. Do this before you nail down your outline so you can throw these topics in with all your basic blog topic ideas.
College Blogger Example
For example, if you are a college blogger and you want to talk about sorority recruitment, a typical series could be:
What To Wear During Formal Recruitment
6 Statements To Avoid During Formal Recruitment
How To Choose The Perfect Sorority Chapter
30 Sorority Women Explain How They Found Their Sorority Home
All of these ideas are great, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You may want to get specific in what you talk about for a sorority recruitment series. For example, you may wish to discuss sorority recruitment advice for introverts specifically. In that example, you may want to choose topics like this:
Formal Recruitment Wear: How To Express Yourself Through Clothing
How To Get Over Your Issues With Talking During Formal Recruitment
5 Things Introverted People Must Think About When Picking Their Sorority Chapter
30 Introverted Sorority Women Explain How You Can Be Introverted & Greek
Conversely, you may want to consider a different angle such as how to be a plus-sized woman going through formal recruitment as being in a sorority might be associated with being skinny. Here are some ideas on what you may consider for that series:
How To Dress For Your Curves During Formal Recruitment
How To Get Over Your Fear Of Being Plus-Sized During Recruitment
Why Being Plus-Sized Shouldn't Matter In Sororities
20 Curvy Sorority Women Talk About Their Sorority Recruitment Experience
Business Blogger Example
Let's do this again with another example. For this month of content, you will be discussing how to grow your freelance business. At first glance, you may come up with the following topics:
How To Find Your First Client
How To Deliver Great Content For Your Clients
12 Tips To Balance Multiple Freelance Clients
10 Freelancers Share Their Best Freelance Advice
To take it up a notch, you might want to target a certain demographic of people in your post, such as mothers.
How To Find Your First Client During Naptime As A New Momma And Freelancer
How To Deliver Great Content For Your Clients When Your Kids Are At Home
12 Tips To Balance Multiple Freelance Clients While Having Being A Super Momma
10 Freelancing Mommas Share Their Best Freelance Advice For New Mothers
Or you may want to focus on taking your advice local AND helping people who live in small towns with the following ideas:
How To Find Your First Local Client (Even If You Live In A Small Town)
How To Deliver Great Content For Your Local Clients When They Have A Small Reach
12 Tips To Find And Balance Multiple Clients As A Local, Small Town Freelancer
10 Small Town Freelancers Share Their Best Local Freelance Advice
It is vital to think about how you can delve deeper when you plan a blog post series. Your series needs to not only be helpful, but it also needs to stand out from all the other content online. No one likes a basic series! Take these examples and expand them to fit your blog.
Outline & Perfect Your Series Plan of Attack
The next step is just as crucial as your initial brainstorming. It’s time to get serious about your series my friend! In this section, we will discuss how to turn all your scribbles and notes into a cohesive outline and series plan of attack.
1. Understand All Your Moving Parts
Depending on how detailed you want to get with your series plan of attack, you may be planning more than just blog content. That brainstorm will be helpful, but after that, the first thing you need to do is nail down a few things:
How many blog posts will you need?
How many emails do you need to write?
What will your content upgrade look like? (Since you are focusing on this topic for a month, you might as well create a content upgrade to go along with it!)
Will you be creating some guest posts around this content or finding ways to repurpose and bring traffic throughout the month?
2. Create A Checklist Online Or Offline
Once you understand your moving parts, you need to settle down and create a list of all the pieces of content you need to produce for your new content series.
Building Your Checklist
Make this list something tangible offline or online. Create a checklist in Asana or a sheet of paper so that way you check off the items as you are getting done with them. You may also want to break this down even further.
In this chart you can want to place importance on the following: written, edited, images, and scheduled. This helps you tick off the various components and enables you to batch the blog post series making process.
You may have some other things that you want to denote on your checklist such as keyword research and SEO implementation, different parts of your promotion process, etc. These checklists can get as detailed as you would like them to be. You want to do this on a spreadsheet so that you can quickly create tons of tabs that you can check off as you finish those related tasks.
3. Start Contacting Any Necessary Collaborators
Lastly, you should be contacting any necessary collaborators right now. I suggest creating a template that you can easily customize with some more details.
If you are going the template route, I encourage you to make sure that you go over the email every time before you send it to a new potential collaborator. Things happen all the time with your template, and you want to make sure that you send the best email to your prospective collaborators.
So here are a few things I suggest you make when contacting collaborators:
Master Collaborator Spreadsheet
Create a master spreadsheet where you list all of the people that you want to reach for this collaboration. Create a space for their:
Name (if you can find it)
You may also want to create a space in your master spreadsheet for:
Personal information you can mention in the email
Whether or not you have emailed them
If you are in talks with them
If they submitted their response
This spreadsheet should be your go-to for the collaboration. Check this spreadsheet daily, so your collaboration posts go off without a hitch.
An Email Template
Who you are
What your series is about
A simple to follow list of what you are asking from them
What is your question? Do they need to share the site they want backlinked? Keep this email brief. Influencers are busy, so while you want them to be a part of your blog post, you don’t want to take up too much of their time.
On the other hand, your question needs to be robust enough to be answered with a long enough response. You don’t want to ask a question that can be answered with a sentence or less.
Get Ready To Plan A Blog Post Series
Now that we have officially delved deep into the process of creating a blog post series, you are ready to get planning! I hope that today's post has given you a ton of inspiration for your next series. Your audience will be excited by what you can teach them when you take the time to create deeper content.