According to recent statistics, there were over 181 million blogs on the world wide web as of 2011, the majority of which are both authored and read by women ages 18-34. With statistics like that, it might seem a little daunting to be just another blogger trying to gain readership.
I’m Kirsten, and I’ve been blogging at One Tough Mother for just over two years. Speaking from experience, I know the amount of time and effort we bloggers spend not only on putting together a blog post, but taking and editing photographs, sharing that post across multiple social media networks and linky parties, and advertising our blog to gain a following. Bloggers spend countless hours pouring their hearts and souls into their little piece of the blogosphere, hoping to find that one thing to keep readers coming back again and again.
One element I have found that continues to drive traffic to my blog (and keep it there) is a successful blog series, and I’m here today with a few tips to help you put together one of your own.
#1 – Determine THE RIGHT topic.
Choosing a topic for a blog post and a blog series are two very different animals. Your blog post topic could be anything, really – whatever you have created lately to tips for getting your kiddos to sleep through the night to what’s in your bag at the moment.
A blog series, on the other hand, needs to be more fine-tuned, and it needs to be something your readers can not only identify with but will also give them something (i.e. useful information on a specific topic, a stack of new recipes, a resource for something relevant to their life, etc.).
The topic you choose for your blog series needs to be strong enough to give you multiple blog posts on that particular topic. For example, on One Tough Mother, I have a series running throughout the summer called “A Girl’s Guide to Self-Confidence“. This blog series topic came from a season I was going through in my life as a wife/mom/daughter/friend/woman, and I decided to share this topic with my readers. I’m a mom to a daughter who is going to begin middle school in the fall, and this blog series topic came from my desire as a mother to arm my daughter with the tools she needs to grow into a confident young woman. The majority of my readers are moms, so I knew this would benefit them as well.
HELPFUL HINT: Your readers are your readers because they relate to what you write. If something is important to you, it will probably important to your readers as well.
#2 – Create a Master Plan.
Once you have your topic nailed down, the next step is to create an outline for your posts. Include resources, craft ideas, photos, and anything else that will be relevant to your series. (TIP: Create a document in Google Drive to make an outline. I use a spreadsheet to lay out each post, the title, my notes, and a list of resources or links.)
And always remember: Link to your sources! Give credit where credit is due if you quote someone, share a photo, or pull statistics or other information from another site.
It may be helpful for you to write a rough draft of each post in the series, and include the photos, notes, and links to resources in the draft. When it’s time to finalize each post, all of the links will already be there, saving you time and effort down the road.
The master plan for your blog series will also help you determine the length of your series. For example, if you are going to host a blog series featuring recipes using both chicken and wine, and you have seven recipes, your blog series will be seven posts long. You will then need to decide if these will all be done in order over the course of a week, or perhaps once a week for seven weeks. It’s really up to you.
HELPFUL HINT: Stretching your blog series out over the course of several weeks can keep a steady flow of traffic to your blog as readers begin to look forward to the next post in a series.
#3 – Shout it from the Rooftops!
After you pin down your topic and make a master plan, it’s officially time to spread the word! You will want to tease your blog series and keep the conversation going throughout the entire series. Here are a few tips:
- Send out a special teaser to all of your newsletter subscribers. Include the name of your series and let them know when it will begin. (If you don’t have a newsletter, the announcement of a blog series is a great reason to start one!)
- Start a conversation on your social media networks about your blog series topic. Ask questions related to your topic and let your fans know that you’ll be diving into that topic very soon on your blog.
- Consider hosting a giveaway as part of your series to amp up the excitement. It can be a sponsored giveaway or something directly from you, as long as it relates in some way to your series. Tease the giveaway across Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram.
- If you have a lengthy series, like my Girl’s Guide to Confidence, consider partnering with one or two other bloggers and have them guest post. Let your readers know that they will be treated to a fabulous guest post from a favorite blogger.
- Create a hashtag specific to your post and let people know they can get in on the conversation, or share photos relating to your post, using the hashtag.
- Create a blog series button to include in every post of your series (like the one above for my summer series). You can also use this button in your sidebar and link it to your series so it’s easy for readers to find if it isn’t the top post on your blog each day.
A blog series can be a great way to gain new readers, keep old ones, and build relationships with all of them if you take the time to plan it properly and spread the word as much as possible. A successful blog series can spur other outlets for your creativity, like an e-book or another blog geared around your specific series topic. The possibilities are endless.
Kirsten Thompson is the incredibly witty and often sarcastic voice behind One Tough Mother, where she shares fabulous crafts, home decor projects, and organization tips and tricks, as well as the occasional piece of her mind. Kirsten lives in her happy place where glitter and washi tape adorn every crevice, everyone has tattoos, and sweet tea flows like water. It’s a fun little place, and you can join her on her crafty journeys and adventures in raising a tween daughter on her blog, One Tough Mother. Kirsten also likes to play on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.