The Case for Creating Series

March 5, 2014

By Nick Kellet

You're probably hooked on at least one TV series right now. Perhaps it's "Game of Thrones." Or maybe it's "Breaking Bad" or "House of Cards." The point is, you kept coming back for more and more. What is it about serialization and brevity that attracts us as consumers? Better yet, “What can presenters learn from TV?"

The simple answer is, "Don’t think epic, think bite-sized. Don’t think one-off, think sequels, pre-equals and equals. Think episodic. Think info-snacks." Sure, "Gravity" was an enthralling movie. But were you still talking about it weeks after you saw it? Did you have weekly viewing parties or a marathon weekend of watching?

When you create serial or episodic short-form content you are doing it with one goal in mind: to create an audience who will be craving and coming back for more. You create a product that delivers a clear and repeatable expectation.

So let’s get practical and talk about the value of short-form serial-content, specifically for SlideShares.

7 Reasons Why Serialization & Episodic Content Works

1) An easier way to start. Intimidated by the prospect of creating a big deck? Split the task into manageable chunks and you'll remove roadblocks. You don’t need all the answers to publish Part I -- you just need to start.

2) Let your story evolve. After you publish Part I you can gather feedback and get more motivated. You don’t need to be so rigid. You can evolve the series based on feedback.

3) Allow your idea to expand. You may begin with an idea to write a three-part series, but perhaps it keeps growing. Writing without a fixed boundary can let you discover new ideas and new perspectives. You will find more ideas if you start writing with an open-ended mindset.

4) Learn what your audience likes.  Views, comments, likes and shares tell you what people actually care about, which helps you write better content going forward.

5) Let people discover you. With a series, you can build up supporters -- and people can anticipate your next release. Breaking out content over time gives people more ways to find you. You get found at more moments in time and via more key words. When people discover an episode in a series, they get curious and want to consume the rest of your content.

6) Support brevity. People have short attention spans these days. Keeping things short lets you break a long deck into multiple short ones. It also gives people multiple entry points to your content.

7) Re-purpose Content. Getting your content into a shorter format gets you thinking about translating these short pieces into shareable graphics, audio files, videos and lists.

Few have the attention, time or patience to consume long-form content in a linear fashion. We all skim. We all seek out "mind snacks." If your content is long, you risk people skimming and missing the best bits.

Opening a new post or SlideShare resets our attention span. It also lets our content live longer, and provides multiple entry points to our stories. For the reader, it makes it easier to find what they need. And it makes it easier for you to cater to what they want.

In the next part of this series, I’ll drill into how to create standout episodic content.

About the Author

Nick’s ventures range from a segmentation tool sold to SAP, to an award winning board game. Today, Nick is co-founder of Listly, raising the profile of lists to be on par with SlideShare & YouTube. Find Nick on G+.

Creative Commons License
House Of Cards Emmy Nomination Good For Online Bad For TV by Zennie Abraham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at