What if you could take one great idea and turn it into dozens of even better blogs?
You actually can—with a process called serialization.
Content serialization, once a tool in the belt of novel-writers worldwide, has become a popular blogging tactic today that can help writers dig deeper and provide an astounding amount of value to their readers.
Content serialization is more than just drawing out an idea; it’s a particularly effective way to become an expert in your niche, draw more readers, promote your site and gain visibility.
What is Content Serialization?
Content serialization is essentially one large idea broken down into installments for easier readability and a higher level of mastery. “Content marketing”, for example, is a large topic. It would be impossible to cover everything that content marketing is and offers in one blog post and, as such, it’s an ideal topic for serialization.
A serialized run of blog posts with a focus on content marketing might look something like “12 Weeks to Outstanding Content Marketing” and would offer periodic blog posts diving deeper into progressively more challenging areas of the topic.
Serialization offers bloggers a way to get out of the habit of thinking of their content marketing strategy in terms of individual posts, which can inhibit creativity and contribute to poor content and very little site cohesion. Good short-term serialization can help content marketers shake up their strategy and dig deeper into topics their audience wants to know more about.
Why Serialize Content?
In the days of olde, bibliophiles used to hang out on shipping docks, anxiously awaiting the next serialized installment of a favorite book to arrive. Things have modernized since then, but serialization still has the power to create anticipation and keep people coming back for more.
By serializing content that is of interest to readers, content marketers can easily reap the following benefits:
- More Readers: Like we said, serialization promotes anticipation and people will soon be looking out for the next post in the series. Additionally, since each post builds off of the post before it, serialization is an amazingly effective internal linking strategy that drives users to other portions of the blog.
- More Creativity: Serializing your content forces you to dig into the cracks, so to speak, and can help your writing become much more creative. Additionally, since serialization requires you to plan each post ahead of time and come up with a considerable amount of content, it is likely that the process will also drive you to employ social media formats, such as video, podcasts or infographics, that you do not typically use. For this reason, serialization is a great way for bloggers that are “stuck” to get the creative juices flowing.
- Increased Productivity: Since you’ll have to come up with regular and substantial posts, you’ll be forced to make the best possible use of each day’s writing time. This, in turn, promotes better writing and more effective communication.
- Mastery of Knowledge: By far the most valuable benefit of serialization is that it allows bloggers to become niche experts. By digging into the nooks and crannies of a subject, writers can learn new things and disseminate information effectively without overloading their audience or saturating a single post with so much information that it’s virtually useless. Additionally, serialization allows you to build your online authority.
- More Conversions: Serialized content provides value for people interested in learning more about a topic. When you provide value to readers, they reward you with increased interaction, subscriptions and purchases. Because of this, serialized content often results in increased conversions for your site. Regardless of what your site’s goal is – be it subscriptions, purchases, or shares – serialized content can definitely help you get there.
In addition to the above benefits, serialization can be a great option for bloggers who have not yet developed a content marketing strategy and are looking for ways to provide regular, high-quality content to their readers.
Choosing Which Content to Serialize
As a general rule, the content you serialized should be made up of your most high-potential topics. In other words, serialized topics should be those too broad, involved, detailed or important to be covered in a single post.
The genesis topic for serialized posts should be of great interest to your readers and broad enough to explore for a number of weeks without writing duplicate content or creating filler. Before you choose to serialize a topic, ask yourself these questions:
- Will this information provide value to my readers?
- Can I explore this topic in a unique way?
- Could I write a book about this?
If the answer is “yes” to all of those questions, it’s likely that you’ve got a good candidate for serialization.
Keep in mind that it is not enough, however, to simply choose a topic that you find interesting. The topic also needs to serve a purpose and will be most successful if it meets an unmet need, offers a solution and is easy to structure.
As with any type of marketing, finding a gap in the market is one of the most important factors for success. If you choose to serialize a topic that’s been serialized hundreds of times before, it’s going to be difficult to be truly competitive in that market. Therefore, it’s important to choose a topic that addresses old questions in a new way or approaches a question that many people have an nobody is answering. By meeting an unmet need and providing unique solutions, you can ensure your content will stand out from the crowd.
How to Serialize Content
By far the easiest way to serialize content is to create a series of blog posts that spans no more than 12 weeks. This is enough time to adequately explore a topic but not so much that your readers begin to get bored. Regardless of what your topic is, the general structure of your serialized content should resemble the following:
Week 1 (First Post)
Week 1 will be the touch-point for your readers. That said, your first blog post should act like a value proposition. The post should introduce the series, explain its purpose to readers and help them understand exactly how it can help them, solve their problems, answer their questions or provide value in their lives.
To do this, your post needs to clearly outline what the weekly posts will cover. To make your outline compelling, write interesting headlines for each week that provide information about the problem or challenge being faced and how that individual post helps readers navigate around it.
Weeks 2-11 (Body Posts)
These posts should follow the outline you put forth in your initial post. Each post should adhere to a general length of your choosing and should offer a mixture of text and visuals or other media. In order to make each post as valuable as possible, be sure that you’re utilizing great blog-writing tactics like breaking up large bodies of text, utilizing headers and sub headers, incorporating images and writing magnetic titles.
Week 12 (Final Post in Series)
The final blog post in your series is almost as important as your first post. The final post should conclude the series by offering one final solution, nugget of information or hack, summarizing the information presented so far and outlining the importance of each week’s post.
The blog should end with a compelling call-to-action that directs readers toward whatever you want them to do, be it subscribing to your email list, purchasing your book or sharing your content. Additionally, the call-to-action could be used to launch a new product or promote an upcoming series.
By now, it’s likely that you will have gained considerably more readers and that those readers will be hungry for more of your content. Because of this, the end of a series is the ideal place to present a new product or ask your readers for subscriptions.
Content Serialization Success: The 4 Pillars
The entire point of content serialization is to provide in-depth, consistent value to readers and, when it’s done correctly, serialization can be an amazingly effective tactic for increasing a blog’s reach and catering to readers. In order for serialization to succeed, however, it must adhere to these 4 pillars:
- Consistency: Serialization is nothing but a few haphazard blog posts if you don’t maintain a schedule. At the beginning of your series, choose one day a week when you’ll post your new installment. Be sure to tell your readers which day this is, as this will keep you accountable and also give your readers something to look forward to. The importance of having a regular blogging schedule cannot be oversold when it comes to serialization. Feel free to write additional posts during the week, but keep your series posts consistent and predictable.
- Discovery: In order to be valuable, your serialized content needs to help your readers discover a new topic. When you bring a genuine excitement to your serialized content, that will translate to your readers and you’ll soon find yourself with a healthy following. Use your series to dig deeper into an interesting topic and disseminate that information to your readers. They’ll appreciate it, we promise.
- Quality: Part of the purpose of running a series is to encourage bloggers to plan and develop a content marketing schedule. If you’re postponing your series post until the last minute and then writing sloppy content, you can bet it’s going to fail. Your readers should be able to expect a high-quality, informative post each week. When you deliver consistent quality, your series will be successful.
- Accessibility: Regardless of who your target audience is, it’s important that each post you write is accessible to them. Don’t get too technical for beginners or too simple for people who already have some knowledge of the topic. Instead, ensure that your content is tailored to your readers and that each post in the series provides real, tangible value to your target audience.
The Case for Serialization
Serialization, when done well, is one of the best ways to boost your content marketing strategy and draw new readers to your site. Content serialization allows you to take one great idea or expansive topic and transform it into months of high-quality, original, shareable, authoritative posts, which is great for you and even better for your readers.