When you blog for your small business, coming up with new ideas for posts can be a real problem. One solution is to start a 100 post series.
One hundred posts on the same topic sounds scary, but it’s really a great focusing tool. Pick one topic, broad enough to have plenty to cover, and right at the core of what you blog about.
Chris Brogan kicked off this idea when he started a series called the Social Media 100, dedicated to “helping you grow the value of your social media and social networking efforts.” He made it all the way through 100 posts in eight months. The publisher of his first book then picked up the series as the source material for his second book, Social Media 101. Here’s his original launch post, where he explains the 100 posts on social media idea. (He originally thought he’d do 100 in a row, but the reality is that other things will pop up.)
Being an incurable idea thief, I stole it from Chris. The overwhelming response to my business basics checklist made me realize there was a need for more basic business info. Thus the Small Biz 100. I have done 63 posts, and I keep adding to it. Now it is a terrific resource for readers here.
You can do the same for your readers, no matter your topic. Glenda Watson Hyatt started a series called the Accessibility 100: Tips for Improving Accessibility for People Disabilities. She was able to leverage that idea into a specific niche, blog accessibility. (FYI: You’re missing out on a $175 billion market if your website isn’t accessible.) Jennifer Navarrete started the Print Media 100: Ideas, Tips and Suggestions for Business Owners, though she’s not maintaining that site now. Talk about a great way to help your customers learn!
I haven’t seen anyone else use the 100 posts idea lately, so now is a great time to bring it back.
If you are doing this idea, too, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment with a link!
A few key points
It’s not just a “101″ series
These are different from an introductory, “Topic 101″ series. They represent a commitment to a solid series of 100 useful posts to people at various skill levels, not just beginners.
Does it have to be 100?
Can you do fewer and still be in? The number of posts is really up to you, but the commitment and the usefulness are the key elements.
Chris reported back in 2008 with his results, “It’s added TONS of link love, tons of people coming back to see what’s next, and about 20% more traffic to the blog overall.”
I started my own series on the tail of a huge traffic boost from LifeHack. By putting on additional useful content in the same theme as my popular post, I was able to capture far more of that traffic than previous spikes.
At the end of the series, not only have you given your readers some incredibly useful content, but also you have developed a big pile of stuff you can make into ebooks, instructional courses (online or offline), hard copy booklets, or the nexus of a traditional book. Then you have a chance to offer those items for a fee, or seek sponsors to pay for them so you can keep them free for readers. But all that is gravy.
How else can you imagine using this content? Share your ideas!
What if you don’t finish?
Well, what if you don’t start? Then you have nothing. If you make a commitment, develop 25 or so ideas, you’ll have that many more blog post starters to work with. So what if it’s taken me three years so far? It still helps me to focus on useful posts. I take a break from the series for a while, then I bring it back. It works.
How to do it
Pick your topic
Give yourself enough room in the topic for 100 solid posts! Make it central to the topic you most want to talk about and most want to help others with. If you are blogging for a reason besides a passion for helping others, I don’t recommend this technique.
Sketch out your initial list and announce your intent
I started with a list of 25, and listed them in my launch. Glenda listed six in her announcement, that are from old, non-blog, material she can rework, plus three other ideas. Chris and Jennifer didn’t reveal their initial lists. All of us picked up some new ideas from readers in our comment section.
Be sure to pick a single consistent tag, label or category to mark your posts. Your readers want to easily find the series.
Give yourself a time frame you can work with. Chris initially thought he’d do all 100 in a row. Since that didn’t leave any room for announcements, questions, short posts, pointers, quick tips, etc., he quickly started treating it more flexibly. Glenda connected her timing to National Access Awareness Week in Canada. Jennifer gave a time frame of “this year” on her series. I didn’t set any time frame initially. For a time, I did one every Monday. (That’s a good idea, and I ought to start doing it again.)
Build in variety
Collaborate with others. Do interviews and guest posts. Swap posts with other bloggers where you can. Mix hands-on practical stuff with more thoughtful theory posts, all while keeping it useful. Include audio and video, and original photos. Jennifer’s print media seems like a great application for video and photo explanations and examples.
Talk about it in the comments on other blogs, in guest posts, and out in your everyday world. Let people know you’re working on an important series of articles and that you need their questions and input.
And then come back and let us know!