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How to Keep Momentum Going By Building on Previous Posts

You slave over the writing of a great new post for your blog, you’ve researched, hypothesized, edited, spell checked, polished and made it look all pretty….

You Hit Publish….

What happens now? Are you done? Do you move on and push the post idea from your mind – searching for your next killer post?

I’d like to suggest that rather than hitting publish and moving onto your next topic – that a smarter thing to do is to think about how the post you’ve just written might be useful in creating some momentum on your blog.

The problem with many blogs is that they are filled up with posts on similar topics (all within a wider niche) but without any real connection between them. The bloggers feel the pressure to keep producing good content – and in doing so don’t think about the journey that they’re leading readers on.

Here’s my suggestion:

Treat every post you write as an introduction to the next one

What if instead of hitting publish, pushing the post from your mind and then searching for your next post topic – you stopped and asked yourself how that last post you wrote could be extended?

Extend The Life Of An Idea

Here’s a few ways to do it:

  • Take the Opposite Point of View (like I did earlier in the week with my post on why you should use AdSense and why you shouldn’t)
  • Pick up on a Comment left by a reader (answer a question, respond to an idea etc)
  • Write an opinion piece on a previous news piece (if a big story breaks and you write about it – follow the post up with a post on what you think about it, how the news might effect you or your readers etc)
  • Write a followup ‘how to’ post after writing a more theoretical one
  • Explore Alternatives to an idea that you’ve written (for example, next week I’m planning a post following up on the AdSense ones from the last few days that explores alternative networks to AdSense).

I’m sure that there’s a lot more ways to do it – but the key is to look at each post you’ve written as an opportunity to write a stream of posts that build on one another.

Not every post that you write will be suited to this (and that’s OK) and the posts that build upon one another don’t have to be formally tied as a series one after another – but over time if you build upon the things that you’ve previously written you’ll find that readers pick up on the threads that you’re exploring and will feel as though they’ve been taken on a journey with you.

update: I’ve extended this post with a practical example of how I do it using Mind Mapping.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s because I really like to write long posts or it seems more natural to me, but most of my posts follow the route you show above. In fact, I have a notebook full of post ideas and half post with notes in the margin to other posts that might come along later. And mindmapping helps this process.

  2. Stephanie says:

    That’s a very good point. It also gives you great reasons for linking your posts to each other so that readers get a more complete understanding of the topic.

    I would expect this also to help some with idea generation, even if you haven’t been doing it before. Just read over your old posts and find something you could have expanded upon, but didn’t.

  3. Great post, I like to mention another article I have written in similar posts to add authority to the current post I am writing as much as possible. Not only does it help with the obvious benefits of getting the readers to see other articles I have written but it helps with SEO for the older article as well.

    Using the related posts plugin for WordPress is also a huge help. I just recently migrated my blog over to WordPress and due to that plugin alone I have seen a lot more pages per a visit then I normally do. Which is awesome.

  4. I don’t know if this is a good practice or not, but I also like to write a wrap up post with the collection of all the relevant articles. So, in your diagram, there would be a post 8 that neatly packages the series in one convenient spot for my readers.

  5. Abhijeet Mukherjee says:

    Very useful post…and this can be very helpful to prevent writer’s block for a blogger…more you connect & more you research ,it helps building not only your competence on the topic but also helps you to get some very good posts through it

  6. This was extremely interesting. I come up with fantastic ideas for my blog, but am unsure how to use the same idea I worked so hard on for another post. These are greats ways and my favorite would probably be to write the two sides of a story. My idea was when designer clothes are worth it and aren’t worth it. Thanks, I’ve really been looking for something like this.

  7. That is a really good idea. I am going to implement this. I have been following one subject quite closely and not tying any of the posts together. Would you also consider adding links to the new posts to leave a trail to your old posts?

  8. turtie says:

    A great idea. In my writing, I always try to have enough “linkers” and “transition phrases” so that my writing flows well. This connects ideas in your writing so that you’re not jumping all over the place. The result is a better laid out and thought out post. So I can really appreciate this idea and I think it holds a lot of merit. Connecting and linking things together makes for a more pleasant reading experience and can help build you that momentum to hit the so called “ramp” that John Chow discussed recently :P

  9. Matt Robison says:

    I do this subconsciously sometimes, now that I think about it. But maybe it’s time for a more formalized approach?

  10. This is just what I needed. I was wondering how to make my blog fit together and I think this will do it. I think it’ll also give me the opportunity to link back to old posts for new readers. Thanks.

  11. Jen says:

    I love this idea. I’ve actually been coming up with a series of posts that I am going to include on my blog in the next two weeks. But, I am now also interested in doing as you have suggested. In addition to the series, also include several posts that tie together. I know that when I read a blog, and the writer does this, I usually end up going back and reading what I have missed or look forward to the next post that deals with that subject.

  12. Pachecus says:

    Great ways to write. I’ll start to apply right now. I just bought a new copybook where I’m writing my ideas ;)

    Thanks Darren

  13. Howard says:

    I get what you’re saying here, like a lot of the advice on here, it makes me think I should consider re-starting with blogging if I’m to use it as a marketing tool for things I’m making or selling; trouble I have is that the blog’s following would take ages to build up again. Continuity might be a tricky one to think through.

  14. Live Crunch says:

    Cool tip Darren I like that, I do that way my posts anyways but haven’t thought that others do the same.

  15. Darren,

    I chuckled when I saw your post. Back on September 25th, I sat down and began a “week-long” series about making changes in life and in the workplace.

    Thanks to comments that acted like catapults, the next post is the 27th in the series!

    Honestly, it is a result of the readers and how they extend the conversation in ways that naturally lead to a “next post”.

    As always, good advice, Darren…

  16. Mark says:

    Hi Darren ~ I have been trying to transition my blog into more of a book, or magazine format where each article builds on the previous one.

    Great tips you provided above!

  17. Suzanne says:

    Brilliant!

  18. Darren Rowse says:

    Sheila @ GoVisitHawaii, great idea – i think that’s well worth doing

  19. Thanks for the mind map. That’s a great idea! I am going to have to mind map some posts and see how they can be expanded/connected. Thanks for the tips, Darren :)

  20. Zlatara says:

    I love to review new version of same software on my tech blog, but again it’s not easy every time when you write about something else, for example some long tutorial or something…

  21. This is another great idea. I never really thought about tying posts together like this, but I am definitely going to work more on that. I do have themes that I generally stick to for a while, I think adding the connection between the posts would help a lot to keep readers running around the site. Great post; thanks!

  22. Marc says:

    Dosh Dosh does a great job of this.

  23. Thanks for this post. A definite help to any new or a seasoned blogger.

  24. nullamatix says:

    What a great suggestion! I’ve thought about installing the wordpress series plugin to create 1, 2, 3, etc… but I never thought about writing content like this – very creative! Thanks Darren!

  25. This makes perfect sense. It’s not suitable for this blog, but when put into practice, will work with my other blog. Thanx!

  26. Mary (MPJ) says:

    I love doing this, but find it helps to be flexible. Comments will often pull me off in a direction I didn’t expect to go.

  27. Picking up comments and responding to them or at least getting an idea has been one of my biggest sources of new posts.

  28. ekpeach says:

    Darren, My son has been getting me to link my posts to older ones for clarification. He also sent me to this site. Thanks for the diagram. It explains what he has tried to tell me. I believe that I will be a better blogger because you took the time to draw a picture. Thanks again.

  29. vineet says:

    Hi Darren,
    nice post.
    It definitely takes pressure off you to think of new topics on a regular basis. That way I can think in terms of a series of posts rather than a single post. Feels good. I like the idea of counter arguments you put forward. Why and then why not..
    definitely helps

    Vineet nair
    http://vineetnair.com

  30. I really enjoyed your post on “why you should use AdSense” and “why you shouldn’t use AdSense”. Very interesting strategy to immediately follow with a devils advocate type approach.

    I have seen similar bloggers utilize a similar strategy but not 2 opposing blog post within 2 day period. That definitely made me look twice.

  31. Hey Darren,

    Great post!

    That’s pretty much what we did for December. We introduce one category (such as foundations) and then highlighted all the interesting ones we found on the market.

    To Sheila’s (Sheila@GoVisitHawaii) comment, most of our month of January is a summary of our best post, podcasts and favourites products.

    This also puts into place some of the advice you’ve been given about linking back to old posts.

    As usual, this is great content that can only make those reading better bloggers.

    Thanks Darren!

    Gisele
    http://www.mybeautymatch.com

  32. I keep written logs of ideas I come up with for my blog posts. Later, as I go through these ideas and evaluate them further and develop them into articles, I design some of them so that they lead into future posts that I will write.

    Thank you for writing this article, Darren, it has given me some new ideas not only for future posts on my blog, but it has also inspired me with some new strategies.

    Thanks again and keep on with your first-rate blog posts!

    Happy holidays to everyone!! :)

    -Mark

  33. Mike Smith says:

    I just did a followup to an article on my blog that totals 50 guerrilla marketing tactics (24 in the first post and 26 in the second). I’m working on a third and final installment which will give 50 more (100 total). It definitely helps readers to enjoy your site more instead of getting articles from 10 different directions, they can follow along really easy.

    Also, the interlinking is great for SEO :)

  34. coolthought says:

    Just curious. With such amount of interlinking, you can almost write a book?

  35. Ed Roach says:

    Great tip. I agonize some weeks searching for a topic to write on. Developing a flow is a great suggestion -thanks.

    Ed

  36. Kennedy says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for sharing this great idea. I have been trying to do more and more linking to previous posts. I feel I’m adding additional value for the reader, giving them more reasons to stick around and more reasons to come back. Have a great day. Happy blogging!

  37. Darren, Thanks for this post. It reminds me of how I like to end sales calls. When I am talking with a new prospect, I like to “promise” them something. That leaves me open to make another contact in the future with the opening “as I promised, here is the information….blah, blah, blah”.

    Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to definitely incorporate this into my blogging.

  38. Great idea, Darren, especially for a new blogger like me. Often it is a temptation to be lazy and just put out a series of unconnected posts resulting in a blog that is only loosely held together by the main blog niche. Doing what you suggest will lead to a more coherent blog with greater reader interest.

    And the idea of teasing the reader with a preview of a coming article is appealing. It would encourage return visitors.

  39. Tanny says:

    This is a great post, your diagram really make it simple, I know I will try it.
    Thanks

  40. LC says:

    Really good suggestion and mapping, Darren, thank you.

    My blog is only 6 weeks old, and I am keeping an online journal of “getting to alpha.” I update it every few days and freshen the date. That seems to get some good views from regular viewers.

    I’m starting a “how-to” series, only one part so far but I will incorporate your mapping suggestions.

    John

  41. Seth Sluggo says:

    Great advice. I’m going to try it.

  42. Hethir says:

    This is a great idea. It gives me more to write about when I look at an article as part of a series, or a group. It also reminded me of planning more around my posts.

  43. Linette says:

    I love the idea of picking up on a comment someone made and making a post out of it. If a reader has a question or opinion addressing it can be a great post subject.

  44. Two days ago I started a series titled “Pass The Torch” and I labelled the first article “Part One.” Today, I was distracted by the blizzard and went off on another tangent altogether.

    I wish I had seen your article first so that I would’ve had a mind map of what I planned to do with the series. Perhaps I’ll use it now to get back on track.

    Thank you!

  45. “Treat every post you write as an introduction to the next one”
    Thats a relaly good point. It can give your content sticky and more visitors and bookmarks feeders daily.

  46. tracy Ho says:

    Your post is great, inspired me to be creative,

    Thank for sharing,

    All the best to you,

    Tracy Ho
    wisdomgettingloaded

  47. Ransom Place says:

    I got a lot out of this post, starting to apply advice given right after reading it. After reading the post for a seond time, I got even more out of it in terms of how to make connections to previous and future posts. Thanks a lot.