Jordan Ogren

February 24, 2022

Content series: When to do them and when not to.

How do you feel about content series?

Some examples:
  • A 3-part series on creating a content plan
  • A 5-part series on filing your taxes
  • A 4-part series on go-to-market strategy

Do you find them helpful?

Before I share my answer (because you asked), let me share a notional example.

Let's say you need to learn how to shit. You spent your first 20 years in an incubator where you never had to learn how to drop the kids off at the pool. 

So, you do the obvious thing, and google "How to shit." You find a few results and click on the third one.

You read through it to find out it's part 1 of a 3-part series on how to shit. The 1st part discusses how to get to the restroom and why it's the place where you should take a poop.

You take their advice and end up in the bathroom. Great, you say; I'll click on part 2 to find out what to do next.

Sadly, you must wait another week for them to release part 2. So how is this gonna work out as your stomach starts to growl?

This notional example shines a light on one significant problem with content series. They are rendered useless until all parts are released. That's if the series is outcome orientated.

If your content series is solving a pain or helping the audience achieve a desired outcome, it's ill-advised to create a series. 

One caveat to this would be if your series discussed how to do a macro action (get marketing up and running in your company), and each part of the series accomplished one micro bit of the macro-outcome.

Using the marketing example, here is what a series could look like:
  1. How to understand whom you are trying to reach (how to do customer research/auditing)
  2. How to create your website
  3. How to create your marketing plan
  4. How to develop systems to ensure execution of your plan
  5. The extras (going above and beyond the basics of marketing)

Each part would achieve an outcome (i.e., creating a website) that would make their journey worthwhile. They could also skip a part and still get significant benefits from consuming.

Where content series do well is when covering theoretical information. If there is no outcome the audience is attempting to achieve–other than trying to learn–then it's okay to cover the content over a few parts.

Some examples:
  • A 5-part series on the origin of marketing
  • A 3-part series on the rise and fall of Enron
  • A 4-part series on the history of copywriting

Each episode would be sufficient to achieve the outcome you're looking for (learning something new) and make you want to come back to learn more. This makes it worthwhile for your audience to consume.

So, my answer for whether content series are good or bad depends.

If it's covering something practical and outcome-orientated, do it in one swoop.
If it's covering something theoretical and learning-orientated, do it in a series.

What are your thoughts on content series?

🧠 + ❤️ // JO