Should You Choose A Series or Stand-alone Article?

Articles are a great way to show your expertise. Giving back is a great way to build trust with your audience. However, there is a problem. Sometimes a topic is just too big for one article. Online, people prefer shorter pieces, so a 2000-word article might not go down well. This is why an article series works.

Here are 5 questions to determine whether an article series is right for you.

Is the rest of the series ready?
This is a very important question. Do not start a series without at least two follow-ups planned. An incomplete series is unprofessional. You might forget what you promised, but readers will remember. Good content builds trust, so don’t let them down.

Image courtesy of  Anoop Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Anoop Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is your budget?
Quality doesn’t come cheap. Can you afford three or more articles? Consider shorter pieces to lower the cost, but never sacrifice quality. One high quality article is a million times better than five low quality pieces. If the first article is substandard, don’t expect anyone to read the follow-ups.

What is your audience’s attention span?
Young people might prefer short articles while older readers accept longer ones. Online, people prefer shorter lengths while print articles can span page after page. A standalone article suits audiences who have an ‘I want it all now!!!’ mentality. Several brief articles might work for these people.

Are you focused on a niche or broad topic?
Ranking for a niche keyword will help people find you online. Instead of cramming one article with the same keyword – risky when Google penalises keyword stuffing – you could spread the keyword over several articles. This is a great way to build a specialist website.
On the other hand, if your website covers a broad topic like ‘weight loss’, targeting a keyword through a series is unnecessary. It might be best to cover as many topics as possible through standalone articles.

Do you want more variety?
Several standalone articles on various topics might hold people’s interest longer. Specialising in one topic through a series is risky. What if readers don’t like your topic? There’s nothing else for them to read. Standalone articles covering different topics means there’s enough to interest a larger audience.

Think over your answers to choose between a series or standalone. Keep in mind that different topics have different needs. Also remember that you can always turn a standalone article into a series later. You never know how your chosen topic will develop in the future. If in doubt, ask a copywriter what they suggest.