As a mature web writer, it’s easy to think you’ve outgrown your beginner-level habits. Well I’m here to tell you that your high school English teacher is still right about outlining, and here’s why.
Jumping into the writing process without an outline is like cooking without a recipe or driving without directions. And before you say it—experience level doesn’t exclude you from the benefits of outlining!
Preparing yourself with a thoughtful blog post outline can make your writing clearer, more concise, easier to read, and easier to comprehend. On top of that, your outline can become an important tool in mapping out your SEO strategy for the blog, achieving more effective results.
Rather than telling you more, why don’t I show you?
Check out the blog post outline I created for a blog about creating a blog post outline #meta
Keyphrase: blog post outline (149 / month, low competition)
Creating A Blog Post Outline | It’s For Your Own Good!
- Explain why outlines are important in blog writing specifically
- Differentiate between benefits to the writer & benefits to the reader
- Say something quippy about an outline for a blog about s
Subtopic 1: Why do you need a blog post outline?
- Whimsical, long-winded play on being a ~real~ writer
- Outlines aren’t anti-writer/organic writing process, even if you’re really close to your work
- Lots of benefits to using a blog post outline ⬇️
Keep your thoughts organized
- Ensures that your thoughts are in the right place
- Keeps you from forgetting ideas
- Helps you rank/prioritize topics
- Improves readability for people skimming—baking recipe example (blondies) it takes you years to get to the relevant content
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Maintain a cohesive story
- Make sure your thoughts flow from one to the next
- Workshop how the user would best understand your ideas to write a more engaging post
- Helps you add appropriate background knowledge/context if necessary
Structure your SEO strategy
- A blog post outline can help you better implement your SEO keyphrases for blogs
- Factor user intent into the flow of your ideas
- Determine the appropriate length of content based on your keyphrase search volume
Demonstrate your knowledge
- Approach the topic from every angle
- Segmenting out your knowledge/solution shows thought leadership
- Step-by-step approach to educating a user
Combat writer’s block
- Having a clear blog post outline makes it easier to jump from section to section when writing; you can flesh out ideas you already have instead of thinking up new ones
- Spend less time brainstorming during the writing phase & focus more on voice and tone
- More tips for overcoming writer’s block
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Subtopic 2: How to build a solid blog post outline
Customize the order of these steps / build your own unique process as a writer while still putting these steps into practice
Step 1: Research
- Even if you feel like you know enough, learn more
- How does your content compare to other resources in this space? What can you offer a user that makes you stand out?
Step 2: Start with the main questions you need to answer
- Why did the user click on this blog?
- Balance what the user wants to know with what they need to know to better understand the topic
Step 3: Incorporate relevant talking points
- Find a place & make a note for each of the biggest points you need to hit
- Indicate places in your blog post outline for creative ideas as well Ex. [joke here]
Building a blog post outline as an agency
- Getting talking points from the client for facts & processes
- Using client’s insight to anticipate readers’ questions and concerns
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Step 4: Place appropriate internal / external links
- Including them in the outline means you don’t have to dig for them later
- Can help you provide context and save yourself from needing to write your own
- Keeps you from losing out on/overlooking opportunities to build your web of links and improve your domain authority
Step 5: Properly tag your headlines and subheadlines
- Easy ways to indicate your H1, H2s, H3s, etc. for later in programs like Google Docs
- Make it easier for posting SEO blogs in WordPress
- Make sure your content gets properly & quickly indexed for Google SERP ranking
Subtopic 3: Other tips for successful blog writing
As you move into the writing process, here are some more tips for effective blog writing:
- Anything than can be said in fewer words should be
- Long paragraphs will bore readers—use your enter key!
- If you need a higher word count, use that space for more ideas, not more fluff
Use strategic formatting
- Readers will skim your blog
- Bolding important points can help readers easily identify the biggest takeaways
- Italics, (parentheses), and emojis 🧜♀️ can be useful tools in conveying voice and tone
Break up your text with visuals
- Visuals can be an aid to your story Ex. infographics & videos
- Images break up the text for a more engaging experience
- Leave placeholders for visuals in your outline to space them strategically
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Call to Action: Sign up for our newsletter for more copywriting tips & tricks straight to your inbox
- Keep your CTA short and sweet, give the user a clear next step
- Make sure the action item you propose feels related to the content
- Don’t introduce any new information, the CTA should feel like a natural conclusion
Ex. Sign up for Lifted Logic’s newsletter for more copywriting insights and tools for effective web writing.