Sometimes you’ve got a great idea and you really don’t think one post will do it justice, but you don’t have the time to turn it into an actual book. As a result, the idea ends up floating around in the back of your head, always tantalizing but never unusable, until you’ve found somebody else has beaten you to the punch.
In that case, it might be time to consider serialization. Here the idea it that you create a series of posts, based on this one concept and then stretch it out over a few weeks, possibly even a few months. Not only does this mean that for a time you don’t have to think up that much extra content, but people who have read earlier episodes might well be inclined to return for the next installment in the series. Also, a good serialization can easily be turned into a wonderful e-book that you can offer up at the end.
So how do you do it?
Mind map the concept
The first step is to work out all the possible variations of the idea. The best way to do that is to use a mind map. There is plenty of free software available out there to help you do that. Start with the concept in the parent node, and then break down the overarching categories into sub-nodes and concepts that you’ll deal with per category into further sub-nodes.
The very act of using a mind map will let you visualize what it is you’re trying to do and thereby make it far easier for you to work out all the possible topics that you want to touch upon. In fact, you’ll probably find that the activity of mind mapping will give you more ideas about what you want to write about!
Divide into separate posts
Once you’ve created the overarching areas you want to touch upon, it will be a simple matter of dividing them up into individual sections that you want to handle with each post. Have you got seven overarching areas? Well then you’ve got 7 weeks’ worth of posts right there (9 if you include the introduction, where you tell them what they’re going to learn, and the conclusion, where you tell them what they’ve learned). If you want to, you can even guesstimate how many words you’ll need approximately for each topic so that you can make certain you don’t end up with overly long or overly short posts.
From there you can then schedule them over the weeks. It’s probably a good idea to not just on your serialized content and instead posts about it only once a week while spending some time covering other topics. This will make certain that those people who are not interested in the specific topic you’re writing about because it isn’t relevant to them still have a reason to come to your site.
And remember that every part of your post has to have not just the same topic but also be similar written and well-polished! This is important to have one writing style.
No artificial instructions
Please note, many of us will create unconscious artificial restrictions, like saying that all the posts need to be about the same length, or need to be written in the same style, or even need to be written by the same person. There is absolutely no reason to hold to these limits. Audiences don’t really except them and might even appreciate some variation in style, length, and authors.
So don’t allow yourself to get hemmed in unnecessarily by them. If you’re worried about overarching style designs, then simply tell people why you made a style/author/length decision at the beginning of this article and these little style notes will tie the pieces together.
Remember to conclude your articles with a good summary of the main points you made through the serialization so that they can remember the main points they learned. Then offer them the chance to download the entire series as a PDF – after they’ve signed up for your newsletter of course. If the series was good, people might well take you up on the offer, just to have the articles in one place. And in one fell swoop, you’ll have upped your audience significantly!
Now, what is not to like about that?